Elbit Systems recently completed a series of successful helicopter flight tests in Zurich, using the SkyVis head-mounted display (HMD) onboard an AW-109SP helicopter of the Swiss air rescue company Rega. SkyVis combines the HMD with line-of-sight technology and head-up display capabilities.
SkyVis enables flight in limited visibility conditions by providing helicopter pilots with a conformal “head out” view, displaying flight, vehicle, and navigation symbology for day and night operation, in limited weather conditions. An add-on to the pilot’s own helmet, SkyVis is easily integrated with minimal footprint in the cockpit. The increase in situational awareness is expected to increasing the total number of rescue missions that can be safely executed and potentially saving more lives.
Among some of the capabilities tested during the flights were landing on helipads such as those found on hospital rooftops. During some of the landing tests the pilots used only the guidance of the system while the cockpit window was covered (a safety pilot served as the captain of the aircraft for safety purposes).
Elbit says the pilot is able to fly “head out” due to the wide field of regard display, relying on the data displayed in front of his/her eyes. The system assists during maneuvers close to the ground and in limited visibility conditions such as transition from Instrument Flight Rules Visual Flight Rules without the need to look inside the cockpit.
Increased navigation capabilities are achieved by displaying obstacles, traffic, waypoint, and any navigation and aeronautical data as well as flight path markers, in correlation with real-world terrain, assisting to a reduced workload for the pilot. In addition, the system reduces the pilot’s head and eye motion during cockpit scanning, thereby increasing in-air safety levels.
One of the system’s unique advantages is its head tracking capability that assists in preventing disorientation during low visibility maneuvers. The head tracking system is a dual redundant hybrid technology suitable for the commercial aviation word, says Elbit.
SkyVis has both day and night displays mounted on the TSO-C164 certified night vision goggles, offering a single, seamless solution for round-the-clock operations.
The system is expected to gain airworthiness certification by end of 2016.
To view the SkyVis test flights onboard the Rega AW-109SP helicopter, click here.