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Proceedings Paper

Synthetic vision systems: operational considerations simulation experiment
Author(s): Lynda J. Kramer; Steven P. Williams; Randall E. Bailey; Louis J. Glaab
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Paper Abstract

Synthetic vision is a computer-generated image of the external scene topography that is generated from aircraft attitude, high-precision navigation information, and data of the terrain, obstacles, cultural features, and other required flight information. A synthetic vision system (SVS) enhances this basic functionality with real-time integrity to ensure the validity of the databases, perform obstacle detection and independent navigation accuracy verification, and provide traffic surveillance. Over the last five years, NASA and its industry partners have developed and deployed SVS technologies for commercial, business, and general aviation aircraft which have been shown to provide significant improvements in terrain awareness and reductions in the potential for Controlled-Flight-Into-Terrain incidents / accidents compared to current generation cockpit technologies. It has been hypothesized that SVS displays can greatly improve the safety and operational flexibility of flight in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) to a level comparable to clear-day Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), regardless of actual weather conditions or time of day. An experiment was conducted to evaluate SVS and SVS-related technologies as well as the influence of where the information is provided to the pilot (e.g., on a Head-Up or Head-Down Display) for consideration in defining landing minima based upon aircraft and airport equipage. The "operational considerations" evaluated under this effort included reduced visibility, decision altitudes, and airport equipage requirements, such as approach lighting systems, for SVS-equipped aircraft. Subjective results from the present study suggest that synthetic vision imagery on both head-up and head-down displays may offer benefits in situation awareness; workload; and approach and landing performance in the visibility levels, approach lighting systems, and decision altitudes tested.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 2007
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 6559, Enhanced and Synthetic Vision 2007, 655903 (27 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.717684
Show Author Affiliations
Lynda J. Kramer, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Steven P. Williams, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Randall E. Bailey, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Louis J. Glaab, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6559:
Enhanced and Synthetic Vision 2007
Jacques G. Verly; Jeff J. Guell, Editor(s)

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