Universal Avionics Systems has received first certification for a synthetic vision system, giving a three-dimensional display of aircraft flightpath related to surrounding terrain.

The technology, although approved only for situation awareness and not navigation, is a step towards Universal's goal of a synthetic-vision primary flight display.

The Tucson, Arizona-based company has received US Federal Aviation Administration approval for the Vision-1 synthetic vision system and is awaiting supplemental type certification on its Raytheon King Air 350 testbed. Universal is targeting the business aircraft retrofit market.

The Vision-1 uses a terrain database stored in the remote-mounted computer, interfacing with Universal's UNS-1 flight management system (FMS). The video output is presented on the company's MFD-640 multifunction display (MFD). The flight plan from the FMS is overlaid on a perspective view of the terrain, with deviation indicators, trend vectors and a compass symbol to improve situation awareness.

Terrain imagery uses the colour coding found on aviation sectional charts, with shading and a grid overlay to provide a sense of movement, particularly close to the ground. Universal first used the technique in its terrain awareness warning system, which provides a perspective image as well as a standard plan view and vertical profile when displayed on the company's MFD or FMS.

Universal says it is first to certificate an electronic flight-bag to Level C software standard. The Universal Cockpit Display (UCD) includes a remote-mounted computer, driving up to two touchscreen displays. The UCD shows checklists, charts and video from cabin and external cameras. Airport diagrams and charts are overlaid by aircraft position to aid taxiing and approach.

The Vision-1 and UDC are among a range of new retrofit products, but with hopes of breaking into the original equipment manufacturer market.

The company is also working on the UH-5000 head-up display with Flight Visions and is to offer an enhanced vision system by collaborating with a sensor supplier.

Source: Flight International