Chelton's Synthetic Vision Covers Part 23
Your next commuter flight might be helped to its destination by synthetic vision. Chelton Flight Systems Systems has received FAA certification of a new Approved Model List STC that covers all large Part 23 aircraft, including commuter aircraft, for its synthetic vision system. Among the planes that can now be equipped with the "highway-in-the-sky" system are Beech 1900s, King Air 350s, Twin Otters and a host of other jet and turboprop passenger aircraft. The system combines a terrain database with satellite navigation and electronic instrumentation into an Electronic Flight Information System that gives the pilot a virtual view of the world outside. And now NASA is studying the use of similar technology on big airliners. NASA installed the system in a Boeing 757 and will have pilots from airlines, the FAA and aircraft manufacturers evaluate it as they fly into the NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA has added a few extras to its system, including an enhanced vision system based on millimeter wave radar images fused with forward-looking infrared. The combination should give the pilots a real-time view of what's going on outside, in addition to the computer-generated image. "Traffic or obstacles may be on the runway, unbeknownst to the test pilot," said a NASA statement. "If the displays work, the pilot will be able to see the traffic and avoid it." If he can't, the safety pilot on board can take over.