Thales (chalet S1) could be set to revolutionise the pilot-aircraft interface with a concept cockpit that integrates Single European Sky ATM Research and NextGen air traffic management functions to give pilots true gate-to-gate control.
The single-panel glass touchscreen can be reconfigured on the move to show whatever information is most appropriate, in a size and position that suits the flight phase.
Thales's ATM systems division has been helping integrated next-generation ATM systems, including 4-D flight planning and management.
And, new concepts being developed include a "spacing and merging" function called airborne separation assistance system - ASAS - which helps pilots manage following distance.
A digital taxiing system gives pilots the equivalent of a motorist's satnav, to ensure they never make a wrong turn on the ground, especially at an unfamiliar airport. The system also indicates other aircraft, and gives a warning when, for example, the aircraft is about to cross a runway or taxiway.
According Richard Perrot, marketing director for commercial avionics, the system can be configured for any aircraft type, civil or military and fixed- or rotary wing. Thales is working with several airframers including Airbus, especially on ATM integration, and the system could be flying in 2015 or 2016, says Perrot.