Spain's IMAG Flight Safety is to test its WatchEye pilot alertness monitoring and anti-hijack system in a full flight simulator next month in an effort to convince customers of the stability and reliability of its cockpit safety solutions.

WatchEye comprises two individual systems that are separated from the aircraft's systems to simplify the certification process.

The first part, a flightcrew scanning system, checks flightcrew alertness by monitoring eye and head movements of the active flying pilot with a three-dimensional infrared camera, while letting the non-flying pilot rest. If the active pilot starts to show signs of sleep both pilots are immediately alerted. IMAGsays the system could enable long-haul flights to operate with a crew of two instead of three.

The anti-hijacking part of the system uses the same 3D IR camera to identify authorised flightcrew from a central database. If the system finds that a member of the crew has been replaced by an unidentified person during the flight it can prevent the aircraft being commandeered. A system suitable for fly-by-wire aircraft has been developed, and IMAG hopes that systems suitable for older aircraft will follow.

Source: Flight International