TATV Spotlight: Collins' EVS helping Airbus pilots gain superpower vision

Airbus is developing a new enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) for its A320 family of aircraft, that will eventually be adapted to other models. At the heart of the new system is a next-generation enhanced vision sensor which is being supplied to Airbus by Collins Aerospace.

 

In this TATV Spotlight programme we focus on the role of that new sensor and the impact the development can make to airline operations across the MEASA region, both for safety benefits and financially.

Alan Peaford talks to Jean Pierre Rivet, marketing director Europe, Middle East and Africa for Avionics, based in Toulouse; and Grant Blythe, the expert on EVS, based in Portland in the US.

Blythe has described the EVS system as like giving the pilot the superpower vision that Superman has.

In the interview Rivet explains how EVS contributes on-time and reliable operations. “It gives you that real time imagery of the runway environment rain, obstacles etc. ahead of the aircraft. And, what makes it particularly important for the region is that EVS improves performance during darkness and fog but also during episodes where there's a lot of dust or sand. It allows the pilots to maintain their visual cues and situational awareness during the approach phase and while at the airport”.

Blythe talks about the operational benefit of EVS; “it's not just a single purpose tool. In the avionics business, we've been working on solving these all-weather operations problems for a long time. And, as we're seeing here today in 2021, we're experiencing some more extreme climate events or more frequent climate events. The importance of being able to maintain operations in all weather conditions is only growing more important”.

This translates into savings, he said; “When you start to have a couple of delays, you divert a couple of flights to different airports, all of the sudden, you'll see that you have aeroplanes in the wrong position, crews in the wrong position, the passengers are not in the right place at the right time, the bags are not in the right place at the right time. These costs really ripple through an operation really quickly. So with EFVS, what we found with carriers is that not only are you saving direct operating costs, things like less fuel burned waiting for ground delays on the apron, less fuel burn during air delays, less fuel and operating costs for go rounds, you're also saving these indirect costs of we're getting our passengers on time, so we don't have to rebook them and have customer service accommodation costs”.

The EFVS currently under development consists of the sensor, a multi-special camera system, head-up display (HUD), and cockpit controls, and eventually could be adapted to other Airbus aircraft models in addition to the A320.

Alan Peaford

Alan Peaford MBE

Alan is a former actor, an award-winning foreign correspondent with strong ties to the Middle East through involvement with the launches of Arab Times in Kuwait and Gulf