Universal Avionics Offers New ‘Fly By Sight’ Navigation System for Business Aircraft

By Frank Wolfe | November 6, 2019
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LAS VEGAS — Elbit Systems’ Universal Avionics debuted a new “Fly By Sight” navigation system for business aircraft at the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) annual Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (BACE) here last week.

The system merges the company’s ClearVision™ SkyLens™ Head Wearable Display (HWD) and the Interactive Flight Management System (i-FMS), which Universal Avionics unveiled in June at the Paris Air Show.

The new system is in tune with the thoughts of avionics analysts interviewed here on future industry trends and with Dror Yahav, the CEO of Universal Avionics, who said that the “Fly By Sight” system reflects the company’s vision that the “future of flying should be simplified, automated, and more intuitive.”

Yahav said the “integration between the FMS and a wearable HUD like the SkyLens can greatly improve the way pilots fly – reducing workload while maintaining high efficiency and heightened situational awareness.”

Universal Avionics “Fly By Sight” is to decrease a pilot’s head-down time in high workload environments through allowing the pilot to conduct critical functions like a “direct-to, runway change or vector-to-final via head-up technologies instead of relying on head-down displays,” the company said. “The system is designed specifically to make these operations more intuitive, made feasible by integrating the head-up display with key FMS functionality.”

Universal Avionics said the “Fly By Sight” system is the “next generation” in the company’s “drive to expand Head Up operations, augmenting the real world through Head Up technologies with Line-of-Sight (head-tracking) functionality that pilots can use to accomplish highly demanding tasks during critical phases of flight.”

The company said it is offering “Fly By Sight” as a retrofit and an embedded solution as part of Universal Avionics’  integrated Insight ClearVision cockpit solution.

A flexible, software-based, open architecture system, i-FMS is compatible with a number of hardware platforms and “enables new concepts in Human-Machine Interface (HMI) such as augmenting head- down displays with ClearVision Head-Up Displays (HUD) and Head-Wearable Displays (HWD), allowing pilots to ‘fly-by-sight,'” according to Universal Avionics.

A clean-sheet design, i-FMS “tackles one of the main challenges pilots face today with FMS operations; the need to propose changes to the FMS during critical phases of flight such as takeoff and landing,” the company said. “Typically, during this time pilots are required to shift their attention from outside the cockpit window to the FMS display unit – to reprogram the FMS and validate that changes are correct – requiring last-minute updates and significant head-down operations. The i-FMS allows pilots to project waypoints and information from the FMS onto the real-world, superimposed on UA’s HUD or SkyLens™ HWD.”

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