Avionics News May 2019 - 23

E

yes out the windows.
It's mantra preached by flight instructors since the
advent of the enclosed-cabin airplane almost a century
ago. But eyes-out flying risks missing critical flight information
from the panel instruments.
Still, eyes-down ignores the risk of meeting other traffic. The
solution developed through years of flying experience is the
head-up display, or HUD.
According to a 2009 study by the Flight Safety Foundation,
more than one-third of all accidents of glass-cockpit-equipped
turbine aircraft might have been avoided if the flight crew had
access to a HUD system. The same benefits accrue to smaller,
slower aircraft using HUD systems.
Resolving the inherent conflict between the need to have
eyes out for traffic and head-down for instruments spurred years
of inventions, research, system evolution and market penetration leading to today's solution for aircraft ranging from lightsport to airliners and business-turbine aircraft.
Today, HUDs exist in a variety of sizes and applications usable in everything from light-experimental to piston singles to
light business-turbine aircraft.
The evolution of HUDs
You could reasonably argue that today's head-up displays
had their genesis more than a century ago, at the very dawn of
the age of aviation. That first incarnation sought to help combat
pilots shoot down enemy aircraft: the reflector sight.
After all, eyes outside is all well and good except when the
pilot needs to evade enemy aircraft - or, in civilian aircraft,
monitor instruments for takeoff, for landing and maneuvering.
Resolving this conflict occupied the minds of some very sharp
engineers, for years, many of them informed by their experiences flying combat aircraft during World War II and later.
That World War I reflector sight, a development of Germany, provided a parallax-free optical sight to help pilots aim.
Pilots of Mustangs and Thunderbolts and Corsairs and the rest
enjoyed the advantage of head-up gunsights, called the gyro
gunsight.
This evolution of the reflector sight added gyro correction to
the pilot's optical aiming device to help them point their machine guns where the enemy plane would be when the bullets
got there. That's called leading the target, something any bird
hunter, skeet or trap shooter knows.
Ditto for combat pilots - though when the gun platform and
target both move at high speed and in three dimensions, the
skill isn't the easiest to master. But master you must to survive
air-to-air combat.
Those early air-combat pilots enjoyed the benefits of flying

Collins Aerospace's
HGS-3500

head-up during dogfights and by the mid-1930s the follow-on
gyro gunsight. The gyro gunsight added a reticle that moved in
reaction to the aircraft's speed and turn rate to solve the amount
of lead necessary and show the solution to the pilot.
As aircraft performance advanced and the jet age produced
higher speeds, aircraft makers and avionics engineers recognized the benefits of putting flight information where the pilot
could see instruments with their head up.
Few flying situations beg more for head-up flying than
aircraft carrier ops. The pilot must glance at the gauges between
monitoring the landing signal officer's flag signals and the
approach end of a flight deck moving away from the aircraft at
30-plus knots.
By the mid-1950s, the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval
Research and Development developed a mock-up of a HUD
concept, as well as a sidestick control hoping to ease the
higher workload of pilots flying modern jet aircraft while
simplifying the instrumentation. That research didn't make it
into any cockpits of the day.
But that crude HUD mock-up used all the features of today's
modern HUD units: a projector, combiner and video-generation
computer processor.
With traditional HUD systems, the large projector unit
mounted on the cockpit to shine its light on an optical
combiner, a type of lens mounted ahead of the pilot and on the
Continued on following page

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Avionics News May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News May 2019

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Avionics News May 2019 - Intro
Avionics News May 2019 - No label
Avionics News May 2019 - Cover2
Avionics News May 2019 - 1
Avionics News May 2019 - 2
Avionics News May 2019 - 3
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Avionics News May 2019 - Cover3
Avionics News May 2019 - Cover4
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