Today pilots have to obtain required information from a number of different sources like airport/SID/STAR/approach or
enroute charts (respectively their electronic representations), printouts like the flight plan or a weather briefing, and
updates via voice communications. The flight crew is required to mentally combine all this information. This situation
will become even more difficult to cope with in the SESAR/NextGen world with dynamic changes of the trajectory
(flight plan), and more frequent updates of weather, NOTAMs and other information requiring a higher degree of
automation and better information presentation.
To address these issues, lower the pilot's workload, and increase his situational awareness, a concept is presented where
all required information is provided through one application. Depending on the phase of flight (taxi-in/taxi-out,
departure, enroute, arrival, approach) the application will select the currently required information and provide a
seamless representation for the crew. The challenge is to provide the right information at the right time to the crew (e.g.
significant weather moving into the direction of the flight plan).
The focus of this paper will be on the components of the new application related to ground operations. This includes an
enhanced, AMM-like view with integrated taxi-routing support, graphical and textual display of chart notes (e.g.
wingspan restrictions, taxiway closures etc.), and updates of such information by automatic inclusion of digital
Input, management, and display of taxi routes on airport moving map displays (AMM) have been covered in various
studies in the past. The demonstrated applications are typically based on Aerodrome Mapping Databases (AMDB). Taxi
routing functions require specific enhancements, typically in the form of a graph network with nodes and edges modeling
all connectivities within an airport, which are not supported by the current AMDB standards. Therefore, the data
schemas and data content have been defined specifically for the purpose and test scenarios of these studies.
A standardization of the data format for taxi routing information is a prerequisite for turning taxi routing functions into
production. The joint RTCA/EUROCAE special committee SC-217, responsible for updating and enhancing the AMDB
standards DO-272  and DO-291 , is currently in the process of studying different alternatives and defining
Requirements for taxi routing data are primarily driven by depiction concepts for assigned and cleared taxi routes, but
also by database size and the economic feasibility. Studied concepts are similar to the ones described in the GDF
(geographic data files) specification , which is used in most car navigation systems today. They include
- A highly aggregated graph network of complex features
- A modestly aggregated graph network of simple features
- A non-explicit topology of plain AMDB taxi guidance line elements
This paper introduces the different concepts and their advantages and disadvantages.
Next to flight and system status or sensor data, synthetic vision systems visualize information stored in databases on
board of the aircraft in an intuitive manner on flight deck displays. For example, through the three-dimensional depiction
of terrain or traffic information on the primary flight display, the pilot's overall situational awareness can be optimized.
Today's implementations typically create the image using a perspective projection onto a planar image plane.
Commonly, azimuthal angles of view between 30° and about 90° are used for this projection, which significantly limits
the peripheral viewing area. Using larger angles of view for the perspective projection leads to a steady increase of
compression in the image center and stretches at the image borders.
These problems of the depiction of large angles of view have been resolved through the use of a non-planar projection,
which projects the image onto a non-planar surface. In order to depict this curved surface on the planar display plane,
another projection has to be executed. The non-planar projection allows the depiction of objects on the PFD without
length distortions for large angles of view.
By depicting large angles of view in synthetic vision systems, elements of the peripheral viewing area can be visualized.
Aircraft flying abeam the own aircraft or topographic features like mountain valleys located next to the current aircraft
position can be presented to the pilot on the primary flight display. Test flights in a research simulator revealed a strong
acceptance of the non-planar projection by the study group of professional pilots.
Synthetic vision systems (SVS) are studied for some time to improve pilot's situational awareness and lower their
workload. Early systems just displayed a virtual outside view of terrain, obstacles or airport elements as it could also be
perceived through the cockpit windows in absence of haze, fog or any other factors impairing visibility. Required digital
terrain, obstacle and airport databases have been developed and standardized by Jeppesen as part of the NASA Aviation
Newer SVS displays also introduced different kinds of flight guidance symbology to help pilots to improve the overall
flight precision. The method studied in this paper is to display navigation procedures in the form of guidance channels.
First releases of the described system used static channels, generated once at the startup at the system or even offline.
While this approach is very resource friendly for the avionics hardware, it does not consider the users, which want the
system to respond to the current flight conditions dynamically.
Therefore, a new application has been developed which generates both the general channel trajectory as well as the
channel depiction in a fully dynamic way while the pilot flies a navigation procedure.
Helicopters are widely used for operations close to terrain such as rescue missions; therefore all-weather capabilities are
highly desired. To minimize or even avoid the risk of collision with terrain and obstacles, Synthetic Vision Systems
(SVS) could be used to increase situational awareness. In order to demonstrate this, helicopter flights have been
performed in the area of Zurich, Switzerland
A major component of an SVS is the three-dimensional (3D) depiction of terrain data, usually presented on the primary
flight display (PFD). The degree of usability in low level flight applications is a function of the terrain data quality.
Today's most precise, large scale terrain data are derived from airborne laser scanning technologies such as LIDAR
(light detection and ranging). A LIDAR dataset provided by Swissphoto AG, Zurich with a resolution of 1m was used.
The depiction of high resolution terrain data consisting of 1 million elevation posts per square kilometer on a laptop in
an appropriate area around the helicopter is challenging. To facilitate the depiction of the high resolution terrain data, it
was triangulated applying a 1.5m error margin making it possible to depict an area of 5x5 square kilometer around the
To position the camera correctly in the virtual scene the SVS had to be supplied with accurate navigation data. Highly
flexible and portable measurement equipment which easily could be used in most aircrafts was designed.
Demonstration flights were successfully executed in September, October 2005 in the Swiss Alps departing from Zurich.