Aspen Synthetic Vision Approved
September 8, 2011 – Aspen has earned FAA approval to display synthetic vision on its line of flat glass primary flight displays (PFD) and multifunction displays (MFD). Synthetic vision technology uses data from a terrain map stored within the system to create a display of the terrain and obstacles ahead of the airplane. The display also changes color to yellow and then red if the airplane is flying too low for safety.
The Aspen flat glass displays already have the necessary hardware capability to show synthetic vision, so installation of new software at your avionics shop is all that is required to install the capability. Aspen has an introductory price of $2,995 that permits you to install synthetic vision in up to three Aspen units in the same aircraft for one fee.
Synthetic vision is typically displayed on the PFD so the pilot can see attitude, course, and other basic flight information relative to the terrain ahead. Fundamental to synthetic vision is a flight path marker that uses acceleration data to determine and display exactly where the airplane is traveling through the air, not merely where it is pointed. If the flight path marker is on the runway ahead, you are on a path to that runway. But if the marker is on terrain or obstacle, you are going to hit that terrain or obstacle unless you change the flight path.
But Aspen, in keeping with its multi-display philosophy, allows pilots to display synthetic vision on the MFD as well as the PFD. You can also show a thumbnail synthetic view, or you can split the screen.
Aspen also offers the option for pilots to toggle between a wide or narrow synthetic field of view. The wide view makes sense for en route flight, while the more narrowly focused look ahead is intended for use on approach. Aspen has built in some “smart” technology to prevent unwarranted terrain threat warnings while you are descending to a runway on a safe approach path.
Initially the Aspen synthetic terrain data covers the contiguous 48 states in the U.S. but will be expanded to the rest of the world later this year. The first FAA approval for synthetic vision covers piston singles and light twins but will be expanded to helicopters and higher performance airplanes later this year, or in early 2012. For more information, visit the Aspen Avionics website.