Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. recently recognized the 10th anniversary of certifying business aviation’s first Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Gulfstream’s first EFVS, installed on a Gulfstream V, on Sept. 14, 2001.
The certification sparked more than a decade of avionics advancements for the company, including becoming the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to take operational credit for EFVS in April 2004, the first Part 25 OEM to certify a synthetic vision system in 2007, the first OEM to provide its customers with both enhanced and synthetic vision systems in 2008 and the first company to receive an FAA-issued aircraft model type certificate that included an enhanced vision system as standard equipment.
That tradition of developing cutting-edge avionics advancements continues at the company’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Vision Systems in Savannah.
For example, as part of its ongoing research and development efforts in avionics, the company has equipped a test aircraft with two enhanced flight vision systems. The move is a first for a business-aviation OEM, enabling Gulfstream’s engineers to conduct side-by-side evaluations of alternative EFVS configurations as they explore the efficacy of potential enhancements.
“We want to collect data with both alternate configurations exposed to the same low visibility conditions at the exact same time,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “This allows us to do that. It also reinforces our long-standing commitment to ensure Gulfstream operators have the best possible equipment available.”
Gulfstream mounted the two systems on a large-cabin, long-range Gulfstream G450 using a specially designed structure and radome that housed two forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras, one above the aircraft’s nose and one below it.
Video feeds from the two cameras as well as an eye-normalized camera were fed into a recording system to preserve the images for later evaluation and analysis. Feeds from the two cameras were also alternately shown on the pilot’s head-up display (HUD).
The crew flew the aircraft in day and night conditions under both instrument and visual flight rules. They also performed approaches in light to medium fog.
“We’ll continue to evaluate the results and use them in defining requirements for future applications,” Henne said.
Gulfstream EFVS was certified by the FAA on Sept. 14, 2001, following more than seven years of research, development and testing. The system, developed in cooperation with Kollsman Inc., incorporates a specially designed FLIR camera that projects a real-world image on the pilot's HUD. EFVS enables the flight crew to see runway markings, taxiways, adjacent roads and surrounding areas in conditions of limited visibility. The system also helps crews avoid runway incursion and hazards that would otherwise not be easily visible.
Since the initial certification in 2001, Gulfstream has installed more than 600 enhanced flight vision systems on its aircraft. It’s not just customers who have taken notice of the Gulfstream EFVS. The system has been recognized for its significant contributions to enhancing aviation safety by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale and has garnered a Honeywell Bendix Trophy, a Flight International Aerospace Industry Award and Flying magazine’s Flying Editor’s Choice Award.