OZ PFD shows a completely different view of the flight
When you look at the
instruments used to fly in instrument conditions, they have not
changed significantly in the last 80 years or so. We still use an
artificial horizon to keep the aircraft level, a directional gyro
(DG) or horizontal situation indicator (HSI) to determine which
direction we are heading, and the usual airspeed, altitude,
and vertical speed indications to help the pilot figure out whether
they are going up or down in the sky.
modern glass panels largely replicate this equipment. While some
round gauges are replaced with tape indications on the side of the
display, the artificial horizon is still depicted using the blue sky
over the brown or black "ground," and the HSI or DG still
largely use a compass rose, or a compass arc in some cases, to help
the pilot guide the aircraft.
is what caused us to stop when we passed by the eSky booth in the D
Hangar, Booth 4112, since what we saw there looked more like
something out of Star Trek than
an aircraft cockpit. Oddly enough, that is exactly what Steven Fritz
of eSky was trying to achieve.
instruments in your cockpit today are for the most part, the same
ones that were originally developed for ‘blind flight,’ which
was what flight in instrument conditions was considered," Fritz
explained. "The OZ PFD replaces those images with a graphical
display of key performance parameters."
idea behind the OZ PFD is simple: to cut down on pilot workload by
giving them a better display. "The current systems, whether
discrete instruments or the new PFDs, require that the pilot scan
several instruments, and construct a mental image of where they are
in the sky," said Fritz. "The OZ PFD synthetic vision
allows the pilot to obtain all that information and fly the plane
without having to assemble that mental picture, since it is all laid
out in front of them."
tried a test instrument landing system (ILS) approach on the OZ
graphical PFD. The display was different from anything I had ever
seen before. It included several levels of colored squares on the
horizon; a line to note course deviation similar to that seen on an
HIS; indications of altitude, airspeed, and vertical speed; and four
"wings" on the edge of the horizon, which give pilots an
idea of how fast they are going, all in one display. Basically, the
direction for using the system is to put the circle on the indicator
where you want to go.
it took us a few minutes to get the hang of the display, once I
figured out how it worked and to fly to the line of bold squares
while maintaining my heading, it was really quite easy to fly with.
At the end of the approach, I could see where I ended up in the
runway environment, since the OZ PFD was running in parallel with a
Microsoft Flight Simulator. The results were positive – in spite
of having sat down and worked basically cold with this new
indicator, with a little coaching, I flew an approach down to
minimums and was almost on top of the runway centerline.
OZ PFD received a 2007 NASA Small Business Innovation Research Award
to study OZ in comparison to integrated avionics PFDs. In a
Microsoft Flight Simulator X environment, certified flight
instructor instrument (CFII) test subjects flew an instrument
landing system (ILS) approach with high and shifting winds using the
simulator’s Garmin G1000 panel, and then again with the OZ PFD.
The results were impressive–the CFIIs flew with twice the
precision with the OZ PFD as they did using the G1000 display.
is demonstrating this system at AirVenture to search for a company
to pair up with, in order to bring this technology into the market,
as well as for a company that may be able to provide the startup
venture capital. If you are interested in seeing this innovative new
product and even trying to fly your own ILS approach, visit eSky
Booth 4112 in Hangar D, or visit the company website at www.fly-esky.com,
where you can also download a version of OZ compatible with the
Microsoft Flight Simulator X.