Photos: A 3D system for safer flights

Photos: A 3D system for safer flights

Summary: Honeywell has a new safety system to show a pilot where the plane is in the sky when visibility is low.

TOPICS: Travel Tech

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  • SVS

    The SVS uses a terrain database, high-resolution display and the Global Positioning System (GPS) to create a 3D model of what the pilot would be able to see out of the window in clear conditions. As Sergio Cecutta, Honeywell displays and business product manager, explained: "This system brings back the view so it's intuitive for the pilot to fly."

    The system also provides on screen a host of other information, including the aircraft's speed, height and desired destination so there's little chance of landing on the wrong airfield or runway (a common mistake when even the nose of the plane is not visible). SVS leaves out the finer details so the pilot can focus on the important aspects of the landscape and will not be distracted by, say, a nice sunset.

  • View

    If the plane gets too close to the ground, or an obstacle appears, the landscape turns red, signaling imminent danger. This is akin to RAAS, which uses red and an audio alert sound to signal danger. You can see a color representation of the old system in the lower right-hand corner of the image here. SVS is not designed to replace the existing 2D system but to assist pilots when flying in zero-visibility conditions.

  • SVS on PC

    The runway was clearly visible as the plane touched down--the SVS is shown here running on a PC for our trial flight, though ultimately it will be integrated into the plane's computer systems. After initial skepticism, pilots who have tested the SVS are embracing the new technology and questioning how they ever survived without it, a Honeywell engineer said.

    Gulfstream is the first airline to adopt SVS, and the product will be installed on its newest G450 aircraft in 2007. Upcoming features include the ability to display other nearby aircraft on the screen to prevent midair collisions--but that will have to wait on a mandate from the aviation industry to install GPS on every plane.

Topic: Travel Tech

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