Certification flight testing of Marconi's HUD2020 head-up display (HUD) system for the Boeing 737 began on 28 September with a 2h 35min test flight from Mojave, California.

The HUD, mounted by Tracor Flight Systems in the flightdeck of a 737-200 "-worked well during the initial flight", says Marconi, which launched the programme after winning an order from American Airlines. The initial application will be American's 100-strong fleet of Next Generation 737-800s, the first of which is due for delivery in January 1999.

The 737-200 is fitted out with a full avionics suite to represent the more advanced version and is being treated like a "systems integration laboratory". After initial shake-down flights and tests to establish the basic control laws, the "risk mitigation" phase will be completed and the HUD2020 tests transferred to a 737-800 around late October or early November.

The initial supplemental type certificate for the -800, planned for the end of January 1999, will cover HUD2020 operations through its dedicated display guidance computer. Marconi plans later to integrate the HUD with the aircraft's versatile integrated avionics system to exploit the unit's digital interface. This will allow dual HUDs to operate through the Honeywell developed VIA system and enable Marconi to dispense with the extra guidance computer. The modification is expected to be introduced during deliveries to American, which is set to take 24 a year for four years from 1999, with another two in 2003.

Marconi estimates that the use of HUDs will prevent weather-related delays and diversions that cost US airlines more than $1.5 billion a year.

Source: Flight International