Business & GA

Certification of Combined Vision System Expected Soon, Bombardier Says

By Frank Wolfe | February 6, 2020
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The Bombardier/Collins Aerospace Combined Vision System is to merge infrared enhanced vision system (EVS) and synthetic vision system (SVS) imagery into a single conformal view to increase safety and reduce pilot workload (Collins Aerospace Photo)

Bombardier Aviation expects the certification of the Combined Vision System (CVS) for the company's Global 5500 and 6500 business jets soon, the company said on Feb. 6.

The Federal Aviation Administration certified the Global 5500 and 6500, equipped with the Bombardier Vision Flight Deck and the Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion avionics suite, in December. Over the last two years, Bombardier and Collins Aerospace have also been developing CVS for the jets – a system that Bombardier Aviation President David Coleal has heralded as the "first true combined vision system" developed solely for business jets.

CVS is to merge infrared enhanced vision system (EVS) and synthetic vision system (SVS) imagery into a single conformal view to increase safety and reduce pilot workload formerly required by toggling between EVS and SVS.

Mathieu Noel, Bombardier Aviation's director of product strategy and design, revealed to Avionics International last October that CVS will mean that pilots will not have to choose between EVS and SVS, "as the best view is always displayed," and that pilots using CVS will glean "much more information from a single glance."

The avionics suites for the Global 5500 and 6500 also feature advanced weather detection, real-time air traffic information, and airport moving maps.

While Bombardier moves forward on the certification of CVS, the future of the Bombardier business aircraft division is a topic of discussion, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 4 that Textron Inc. has been in talks with Bombardier Inc. to buy the unit and help retire Bombardier Inc.'s $9 billion in debt.

Louise Solomita, a spokeswoman for Bombardier Aviation, wrote in an email that "we have no comment on this speculative report," while David Sylvestre, a spokesman for Textron Inc., wrote in an email that "Textron’s policy is to not comment on market rumors."

A Textron buy of Bombardier's business aircraft division could have implications for the avionics market.

Textron's latest and largest business jets, the Cessna Citation Sovereign, Latitude, and Longitude, come equipped with the Garmin G5000 avionics suite. Bombardier, for its part, has gone with a combination of Garmin and Collins Aerospace systems--the Garmin G5000 for upgraded Learjet 70s and 75s, for example, and Collins Aerospace's Pro Line 21 Advanced avionics suite for the Challenger 350 and the ProLine Fusion for the Challenger 650 and the Global series of business jets.

Brian Foley, an aerospace consultant and the founder of Brian Foley Associates, told Avionics International that Bombardier, Inc. is likely trying to conserve cash because of the company's debt load and thus company-funded avionics upgrades could be in some peril. Yet, the company is likely to make strategic investments.

Bombardier's Global 6500, pictured here, is one of two Global aircraft types that the combined vision system technology will be certified for. Photo: Bombardier

"Despite the heavy debt load that [Bombardier] BBD is carrying, they continue to find ways to invest capital, whether in the expansion of their aftermarket footprint, or in engineering, production and completion facilities, and other areas," Rolland Vincent, an aviation consultant, wrote in an email to Avionics International.

"Given the front-and-center positioning of the Global 7500, my sense is that this would be among the last places they would be looking to cut," Vincent wrote of Bombardier. "Of course, with the 'rumors' of consolidation (I think that these are not rumors), everything is presumably on the table for discussion if in fact Bombardier is shopping their business aircraft unit.  If Textron is the buyer, for instance, they may see R&D [research and development] priorities somewhat differently, and will be looking for synergies/ 'economies' as much as anything to make the businesses work more efficiently and allay fears that investors may have."

If Textron buys Bombardier's business aircraft division, Textron would likely shed the Learjet business, according to Vincent. Foley also said that the Challenger 350 and 650 lines could also stop, if Textron buys the Bombardier business aircraft unit.

"I think that new Learjet production will be a victim to a sale/merger," Vincent wrote in his email. "The Lear 75 is already at a low-rate (about one per month), and the Lear 70 is no longer being built from what we hear. This will make some room for incremental [Cessna Citation] CJ4/XLS sales, but probably not enough to get too excited about. The questions will be surrounding the Longitude, given that this is such a recent (and overlapping) investment.  What will likely be said is that the company will let the market decide, with both the CL 350 and Longitude offered for the time being.  I don’t think of the Longitude as a high-volume production aircraft, especially with such a limited base of Latitude customers at this time."

Regarding avionics, Vincent wrote that "switching costs are pretty high, and I don't think that Textron will have much appetite to change avionics on, for example, Challengers, especially given how they have signaled their intention to lower their R&D budgets going forward."


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