Gulfstream certifies synthetic vision, second-generation enhanced vision

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Gulfstream Aerospace has received US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for its synthetic vision-primary flight display (SV-PFD) and second-generation enhanced vision system (EVS II) for the cockpits of G350, G450, G500 and G550 business jets.

The approval makes Gulfstream the first original equipment manufacturer to offer a synthetic vision system for a Part 25 aircraft as well as the first to offer SVS and EVS together.

SV-PFD, which is hosted in the aircraft's PlaneView avionics suite, draws a three-dimensional colour image of the terrain ahead (44° in the horizontal plane by 33° in the vertical plane) using data from Honeywell's enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), including obstacles and runways.

The nose-mounted second-generation EVS sensor, built by Kollsman, provides a forward-looking infrared image that is projected onto a head-up display for the pilot and can also be shown on the co-pilot's 35.8cm (14.1in) diagonal multifunction display. Gulfstream says EVS II is 22lb (10kg) lighter and has four times the computing power compared to Kollsman's EVS I system, certified by Gulfstream in 2001.

Gulfstream says the synthetic and enhanced images are not combined in any way.

Tom Horne, senior experimental test pilot for Gulfstream, said the synthetic vision effort spanned two years, partly because no Part 25 certification standards existed when Gulfstream and the FAA started the process.

To gain operational experience, Horne and others flew a G450 test aircraft for 18.5h over three days last year in mountainous terrain and challenging weather, including approaches to Telluride, Colorado. Horne says the SV-PFD provides "awareness" and a "comfort factor" regarding the terrain while giving pilots information on descent angle.

Gulfstream expects to begin offering SV-PFD to customers for forward-fit or retrofit installations in the second quarter, and EVS II by the summer for forward-fit only.