Head-up displays, forward-looking infrared, synthetic vision. Is it a fighter? Is it a $40 million business jet? No – it’s the top-end general aviation aircraft of the future, according to Randy Moore, general manager of Kollsman Commercial Aviation Systems (booth 1620).

Moore yesterday presented his vision of the cockpit of the future, basing it on some real hardware in the form of the company’s ESViS enhanced synthetic vision system, EFVS enhanced flight-vision system, ultra-compact Micro-ViS head-up display (HUD) and GAViS infrared imager. Together they make up Kollsman’s Vision-Based Cockpit, which can be seen aboard the company’s Cessna 340 in the static park.


The installation is distinguished externally by the neat GAViS, which can be mounted in its aerodynamic fairing in the same way as an antenna. This eliminates the cost and complexity associated with modified radomes or separate fairings.

Very light jets (VLJ) are the key to Kollsman’s ambition to push the most advanced situational awareness technologies to where they have never gone before. “The challenge is to slash prices below the traditional levels for this kind of equipment,” said Moore. “So we’re looking to get the price of our HUD down to half the industry-standard $100,000, and to do the same for the infrared imager.”

At those prices, Moore believes, Vision-Based Cockpit will be economically right for the $1.5-3.5 million VLJs. “They are the sweet spot for this product initially, between high-end GA and mid-size corporate jets,” said Moore. “This technology can go up or down the size range, though it’s currently easier for it to go down to the top end of GA.”

To get there, Kollsman will have cut prices by half again, to a maximum price of $50,000 per ship set. “To do that we will have to build initial volumes in the VLJ market before introducing producibility changes and investing significantly in new production infrastructure.”
EFVS won Federal Aviation Administration certification in 2001, but the other systems are still in development. The GAViS imager is due to be certificated by the middle of next year, with Micro-HUD to follow later in the year. Progress on ESViS, which relies on high-resolution terrain databases being developed by Jeppesen, is being paced by software issues and certification is not expected before early 2008.

Source: Flight Daily News