The UK Civil Aviation Authority is planning its first ever commercial head-up display (HUD) certification following the decision by local low-cost carrier easyJet to order Flight Dynamics head-up guidance (HGS) systems for its fleet of Boeing 737s.

SAS is also equipping its 737-600 fleet with the Flight Dynamics HGS, and the easyJet move is expected to further boost the introduction of HUDs into European airliner operations.

The Luton-based carrier has just received the first of 12 new build 737-300s from Boeing already provisioned for the HGS 2350 version. The HGS has yet to be certificated in the UK, however, and the CAA is expected to begin the process by reviewing and approving the US Federal Aviation Administration's supplemental type certificate for the system on the 737. The CAA is familiar with the HGS, having been part of the European Joint Aviation Authorities team to oversee recent certification of the system on several smaller aircraft types such as the Saab 2000, Dassault Falcon and Bombardier Canadair RJ.

If the review goes to plan, industry insiders believe the CAA certification could be achieved as early as the third quarter of 1999. The airline also plans to retrofit six 737-300s now in service, although it is believed it is still considering whether to adopt the HGS for up to 30 Next Generation -700s on order and option.

Meanwhile, the first flights of an HGS on a Southwest 737-700 began around 22 August, marking the start of a certification effort that is expected to be completed in November. Certification of the HGS 4000 system on Delta's -800 aircraft is anticipated in the second quarter of 1999 with FAA/JAA certification on the -600 due in the first quarter of 2000. Certification timescales for the HGS on -900s ordered by Alaska Airlines and for the Boeing Business Jets (BBJ), on which the HGS is baseline, have yet to be determined. Manufacturing sources say the BBJ certification timetable is further affected by Boeing's forthcoming choice of whether or not to fit winglets. This has aerodynamic implications which affects the operation of the HGS.

Taking into account the 100 737-800s ordered by American Airlines which have HUDs from GEC-Marconi, the easyJet order means that about 50% of all Next Generation aircraft on order will have the flightdeck system.

Source: Flight International