Fusion is the latest incarnation of the Pro Line integrated cockpit and already an assured winner less than 12 months after its launch at last year’s National Business Aviation Association show in Atlanta.
On that occasion Collins announced that the system had been chosen for Bombardier’s Global Express XRS and Global 5000 business jets. Since then there has been a rapid succession of selections – for Cessna Citation Columbus, Embraer Legacy 450 and 500, Bombardier Learjet 85 and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.
Over the years the earlier Pro Lines – and competing products from Honeywell and new entrants such as Garmin – have swept away hard-to-interpret clockwork and replaced it with a human interface that gives the pilot an ever clearer view of his situation and a more natural way of managing the aircraft. The result, everyone agrees, is reduced workload and improved safety.
Collins believes Fusion can do these things better than ever before, thanks to a combination of big, brilliant displays, powerful and tightly integrated sensors, and broadband information flow both around the aircraft and on and off it.
The first pilots to sit down in front of Fusion will have no doubt they’ve got their hands on something new when they see the four 15in high-definition, landscape-format screens, one in front of each pilot, the other two stacked in the centre. They form a human interface that’s graphically oriented, says Collins, in terms both of how the crew interact with the system and how information is displayed, and offer highly intuitive control.
Serving up some of the most important information will be one of the most complete arrays of sensors and displays ever offered to civil aviation – a head-up guidance system (HGS), along with infra-red-based enhanced vision (EVS) and computer-generated synthetic vision (SVS). Pilots will be able to see EVS and SVS imagery both head-up and head-down, and the views will be very similar in the two modes.
Collins is in the middle of integrating the system into the Bombardier Globals, aiming for first flights next year, certification in 2010 and entry into service a year after that.
The immediate future for Fusion includes integration with the company’s powerful long-range MultiScan weather radar. Proven in the air transport market and due to be available to existing Pro Line 21 users by the end of the year, MultiScan RTA-4100 is going through the FAA’s TSO process as a prelude to eventual certification with Fusion.