Dubai Airshow: Thales has a new FlytX of fancy

Thales’ new FlytX cockpit, as seen on the new VR Technologies’ VRT500 helicopter, represents a step-change for the company.

The new avionic suite was designed to be lightweight but offer better performance than previous products.

The integrated cockpit, developed at Thales’ Toulouse, Bordeaux and Valence sites, achieves a 30 to 40% reduction in size, weight and power consumption compared with legacy avionics.

This is the result of the strong integration of avionics applications such as flight management system (FMS), helicopter terrain awareness and warning system (HTAWS) and radio management system (RMS), which are actually inside the display.

Yannick Assouad, Thales’ executive vice-president avionics, said that the cockpit is the result of 10 years of research conducted in cooperation with pilots, ergonomists, physicians and engineers.

“It was designed to reduce training, optimise pilots’ workloads and increase safety overall,” Assouad said. “While touch-screen control is available, it is also backed-up with a control cursor device and a keyboard if need be.”

Thales says FlytX, which is be available as new or retrofit, introduces a new way of displaying flight information, including a new timeline concept to create the link between flight phases and associated necessary tasks that need to be completed.

“Ultimately, for commercial aviation, we will be looking for more efficiency in flight management systems to go towards operation by a single pilot in the aircraft, if need be,” Assouad said.

Colours and contrast are also used to decrease visual fatigue while presenting clear indications for alerts. Pie charts are also used as a new way of displaying and selecting menus.The Thales new-generation flight deck is also tablet-friendly, with an easy connection system (USB) and compatible with any operating system (Windows, Android and IOS).

Pilots can bring their own devices, display the content on FlytX screens, and interact with any web application as if it were their tablet, completely protected from cyber threats thanks to the FlytX architecture and cyber health monitoring systems.