Integration is the Future
I was disappointed in your Outlook 2000 (January) issue of Avionics Magazine, which purported to give the reader "a heads up on upcoming trends in the avionics field." Each article then took a look at what is happening one piece at a time, which is consistent with the clock shop approach that I and my colleagues have been fighting for 30 years in hope of producing a cockpit with integrated information capabilities.
Our premier design in this area was the B-2A, which recently allowed a two-man crew to conduct 35-hour missions from Missouri to Bosnia and back. The crewmen got off the aircraft and said they would be ready to go again tomorrow.
The continued separation of TCAS, ADS-B, IFF, GPS, EGPWS, FMS, FCS, etc., is just no longer necessary or desirable. Your Safety in Avionics column entitled "Knowing Where You Are–Vertically" almost cries out for a three-dimensional picture, not two separate graphs and the worry about letting mountains clutter the picture. The column does not even mention RVSM, MSAW, radar altimeter, wind shear, or TDWR; are all sources of altitude vs. terrain information.
I have included a figure from my recent paper at DASC on the subject. It shows a totally integrated display and approach to the problem. I think this is the upcoming trend, reinforced by the merger of Honeywell and AlliedSignal, with Rockwell Collins as Honeywell’s sub for displays.
I hope in the future you can show more on this sort of integration as it occurs.
Erwin Ulbrich, Whittier, Calif.
TCAS: traffic alert collision avoidance system
ADS-B: automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast
IFF: identification friend or foe
GPS: Global Positioning System
EGPWS: enhanced ground proximity warning system
FMS: flight management system
FCS: flight control system
RVSM: reduced vertical separation minimum
MSAW: minimum safe altitude warning
TDWR: terminal Doppler weather radar