Bombardier recently announced that Transport Canada (TC), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have granted full operational approval for the Bombardier Enhanced Vision System (BEVS).
BEVS provides pilots with improved situational awareness and the ability to observe runway lights and the runway environment in difficult operating conditions. The system is a standard feature on the new ultra long-range Global Express XRS aircraft, scheduled for entry into customer service in the first quarter of 2006. It is also available as an option on the high-speed Bombardier Global 5000 jet and as a retrofit for Global Express aircraft currently in service.
“This innovative technology is among the first certified to the latest TC and FAA standards for Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS),” said Jeff Petzke, engineering director for the Global product line. “In low visibility conditions, BEVS can also enable pilots to descend below published minimums and use the system as a visual reference to the runway, making airports more accessible more often.”
Both TC and the FAA provided system certification late this summer, while EASA provided its approval this autumn. TC and the FAA completed joint flight-testing on February 3, 2005; EASA finished its flight-testing on March 15, 2005.
The operational acceptance process, which included flight simulator and training evaluations, concluded with successful electro-magnetic interference tests on a production Bombardier Global Express aircraft. The system was evaluated in all phases of flight -- taxi, takeoff, approach and landing, over a wide range of terrain, in varying environmental conditions such as at night time, in snow, in rain and in fog -- for a total of over 175 flight hours.
In accordance with recent FAA rule changes to enhanced vision flight systems, BEVS allows aircraft to fly straight-in approaches down to a decision altitude of 100 feet (30.48 m) Height Above Threshold (HAT). Operators of Canadian registered aircraft are able to apply for an exemption from current rules; effectively granting them the same level of operational benefits afforded FAA registered aircraft. Until EASA introduces new regulations on EFVS, pilots of BEVS equipped aircraft will only be able to use the system for situational awareness when operating in that jurisdiction.
Operators selecting BEVS benefit from several advantages over other systems. The SureSight infrared camera provides superior sensitivity and advanced processing of real-time images in darkness or low-visibility conditions. The camera’s positioning on the upper portion of the aircraft nose places the BEVS directly in line with the pilot's visual reference point and makes cockpit views more natural.
The BEVS HUD display -- 28 per cent larger than any other commercially available heads-up display (HUD) -- provides pilots with the fullest and most comprehensive flight-guidance symbology available, as the same information is displayed in both HUD-only and in EVS modes.
BEVS' imagery is shared with the co-pilot through a head-down display that provides the same level of situational awareness for better communication during critical phases of flight. BEVS was developed in cooperation with Thales Avionics, the overall HUDS and EFVS integrator, and CMC Electronics, which supplies the SureSight InfraRed camera.