Falcon 5X gets advanced avionics

  • 08-Jan-2014 12:55 EST
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During the design of the Falcon 5X cockpit, engineers were able to take advantage of the company’s Virtual Reality Center in Saint-Cloud.

Dassault Aviation has built into its upcoming Falcon 5X flight controls and displays experience not only from the Falcon family of business jets but also from the Rafale multi-role combat fighter. This is particularly important for it incorporates many thousands of hours of operational military flying aboard air combat planes, and this brings direct first-hand technological feedback that is unavailable to most other manufacturers of business aircraft.

The EASy II system—a cooperative between Dassault and Honeywell—provides a very precise flight path control and automatic trim, with adjustments during configuration changes, and the autopilot functions through the side-stick controllers for setting heading and altitude, with full envelope protection through the digital flight control system. This allows pilots to extract the maximum aircraft performance (such as extreme angles of attack) in instances of instinctive reactions, such as wind shear or collision avoidance maneuvers, without over-stressing or stalling the aircraft.

This is an area where at the design and development stage, Dassault’s fighter heritage is much evident. The new digital flight control system will command all the flight control surfaces, including the slats and flaps and each control surface will be multi-functional to give peak performance at all times. An example of this flexibility can be seen on the aileron, which can function as an aileron, but also act as an air brake.

The Falcon 5X is the first aircraft in the business sector to use flaperons—active high-speed deflection control surfaces that can act as flaps or ailerons. The flaperons will always operate in active mode and will enhance roll authority, but the benefit will be seen very effectively on approach, especially in a steep descent where the flaperons will act like a traditional flap because they will increase drag while maintaining a high lift coefficient. This will allow a pilot to be able to fly a steep approach without increasing the approach speed, even on a normal approach. According to Dassault, this will maintain optimal control while giving a good forward visibility, enhanced by cockpit windows that are 32% larger than on average business jets.

The synthetic vision system (SVS) on the 5X allows the pilot to see the exact position of the aircraft even in instrument flying conditions, and is an important bonus when flying into an unfamiliar destination. The SVS creates a highly realistic image of the surrounding terrain in a simulated daylight VFR condition, using the head-up display symbology and advanced 3-D terrain simulations.

Unique to this system is the breakthrough integration of the symbology between the head-up and head-down displays. By harmonizing this display it does not matter if the pilot is looking up through the HUD or down, as the same layout, same icons, and same image will appear in front of the eyes. This can provide a vital additional safety feature in difficult situations.

As well as the SVS, the aircraft also has an enhanced vision system (EVS) with nose-mounted sensors that are fully integrated to give even further SA during takeoff, approach, and landing, and also during ground maneuvering at busy airports. This provides an image on the new-generation wide-angle Elbit-supplied HUD and on flight deck displays and gives an improved image of terrain near the airport and of the airport environment in conditions such as fog, haze, and at night.

The Falcon EVS uses LCD HUD technology features unavailable elsewhere. This gives a brighter video presentation with a unique two-mode setting, optimizing the video for either an approach configuration or a more general purpose configuration. It also takes advantage of special IR video processing developed specifically to minimize distortion.

The 5X is still two-three years from entering service, but its highly sophisticated avionics systems that are at the heart of the aircraft undoubtedly help project flight safety capabilities in the direction many pilots have been calling for in recent times.

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