Avionics News December 2014 - 21
Rockwell Collins' HGS-3500
is an all-in-one head-up
solution that conforms to
the outside world on the
Embraer Legacy 450/500
reproductions computer generated from ever-moreaccurate scans of Earth.
The real-time images projected for pilots flying these
systems originate with infrared-sensitive sensors -
cameras, if you will. The systems process the image data
to show up in significant detail - but without blocking
the view of flight instrument information.
Working in combination with other aircraft-generated
data, these systems provide the pilot with accurate
guidance on the combiner - the device that combines
the various images into something that appears as a
projection in space ... at the infinity of our focal range so
pilots see both the world outside and the panel data by
looking out the window.
Projected flight data, synthetic imagery and reality all play
an uncommon role in a common reality - what a concept.
The earliest head-up systems:
Envisioned to help pilots shoot each other
Out the window. That's where 110 years of pilots
have been taught to focus their attention; instrument
scans should be brief and multiple, undertaken to keep
"eyes outside" the majority of the time. In aviation's
first decade, loss of control posed the main risk from
neglecting the horizon. Then came World War I.
One of the driving qualifiers for the first generation
of military pilots was excellent vision - the better to see
and report the details of reconnaissance flight. But the
possession of excellent vision did not necessarily translate
to being a good shooter, and machine guns were installed
on aircraft inaugurating the era of air combat - dog fighting.
The pilots' need for an aiming aid helped drive
development of what is arguably aviation's first headup cockpit system: the reflex or reflector gun sight.
This technology found limited use in fighter aircraft of
World War I, first by Germany in 1918. By World War
II, however, engineers integrated a gyroscope with optics
into a device that automatically compensated to show the
pilot how far ahead of the target to aim - and how high
to aim to compensate for the bullets' drop.
Today's military gets even more out of head-up
technologies, to the point of showing threats beyond
our ability to see. Not surprisingly, civilian applications
began evolving out of military head-up display systems
years ago - with the same initial goal to put in the
pilot's field of view all the critical flight information
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