AgustaWestland is considering use of three 330 x 200mm (13 x 8in) multifunction displays (MFD) for the EH101 cockpit as part of its forward planning for the three-engined helicopter.

Peter Hulett, AgustaWestland product marketing manager, says the company is "running studies that run forward up to 15 years". The latest EH101shave six 160 x 160mm MFDs, while 150 x 200mm equivalents are a consideration as "that's the current standard, it uses what's available from the glass manufacturers", he says. "Where does it end up? Four screens, or three or almost the whole cockpit as one screen," he adds.

AgustaWestland revealed a three-screen concept at a search and rescue symposium earlier this year, and Hulett says this "is an example of what might happen, rather than a definite proposal".

New cockpit configurations will be driven by the screen size available for laptop computers and civil airliners, says Hulett. Already computers are available with 330 x 200mm flat-panel displays, but "the rate of change in laptops is dramatic", says Hulett, warning that helicopter displays would need support for 20 years and more. Computer systems are often in production for only a short period.

A large screen would have split images, providing information displayed on two or more MFDs today. Westland has already developed such display formats for use in UK future Lynx development work.

Future EH101 configurations will depend on customer requirements, says Hulett. Time required to develop a new cockpit configuration will depend on the how big the change is from existing configurations, he adds.

Source: Flight International