Controlling a modern airplane requires the skill and concentration of the pilot. There are few visual cues such as road signs in the air and 3D orientation is seen as a challenge for most people.
“During the drive, we only control it in one plane, left-right and forward-backward. In an airplane, the pilot has to simultaneously follow three coordinates, three angles, and speed when there is no road. Imagine you are driving a car with zero vision in dense fog and you have to connect two sticks on the dashboard to choose the right direction. It is obviously difficult, but the pilots are in exactly these conditions right now,” Tyaglik said.
Modern instruments in the cockpit are of the compensatory type: they indicate the deviation in altitude and lateral coordinate from the desired trajectory. When flying with such instruments, a person’s intuition and innate skill of orientation in space do not help, and therefore the pilot has to make special efforts.
“We propose a different concept: to draw a tunnel in the sky where the pilot will see his position in space, and also to view the trajectory of the plane ahead for a few seconds”,
– declared Tyaglik, candidate of technical sciences.
Based on augmented reality technology, the predictive display shows the pilot both the given trajectory of the aircraft and the prediction of its movement superimposed on the image of the external environment. Studies have shown that this greatly simplifies the piloting task, several times increases the accuracy of tracking a given trajectory, while reducing the pilot’s workload, which greatly improves the safety of piloting in simple and difficult weather conditions, as well as under the influence of weather conditions. intense atmospheric turbulence.
Flight stand with predictive display
The predictive display can be implemented in different ways. On current aircraft, this information can be displayed on a head-up display (HUD). Previously, MAI specialists, together with the RAC MiG, created helmet-mounted imaging systems for the MiG-35 and MiG-29K aircraft, thanks to which the predictive screen was displayed directly in the pilot’s viewfinder. This simplifies many tasks, particularly landing on an aircraft carrier and a conventional airport, as well as low-altitude flight and in-flight refueling. Currently, the helmet-mounted indicator of the predictive display is actively promoted by RAC MiG.
Now MAI experts are faced with the task of adapting the predictive display for a next-generation supersonic airliner. Such a system will be particularly needed because the pilot of this aircraft will not be able to see the situation outside with his own eyes.
“The new supersonic aircraft will have no glass and the entire external environment will be transmitted by other means. First of all, there will be cameras and monitors, thanks to which the pilot can see the situation outside. Also, during landing, if the coordinates of the aircraft and the airspace are known, the computer will plot the location of the airport on the ground, and this image will be displayed. We propose to supplement it with our system, namely to show a “corridor” showing a given trajectory and an estimate of the movement of the aircraft for the next few seconds”,
Installing cameras instead of the canopy will avoid the shortcomings of the previous generation supersonic passenger aircraft Concorde and Tu-144.
“When landing, such aircraft come for landing at very high angles of attack and therefore the pilot cannot see the surface of the earth. Therefore, on Concorde and Tu-144 aircraft, the nose of the aircraft was dropped to ensure visual contact of the pilot with the earth’s surface. Such a design is too complex and too heavy and can be abandoned today in the digital age. Therefore, it is recommended to transmit the image to the pilot using cameras, a synthetic vision technology that allows you to look through the fuselage of the aircraft as it is and always see where the aircraft will land. That is, it will be possible to look not only where the glass is usually allowed, but also vertically down,” said Mikhail Tyaglyk.
It was decided to abandon the glass only because it was useless when landing and was not necessary when flying along the route. Windshields get very hot during supersonic flight, and dealing with related issues further complicates the design. Also, replacing the canopy with screens allows the crew to be deployed anywhere on the plane, not just in the nose. As the nose of the aircraft will lengthen, passengers will experience greater g-forces than those closer to the center of mass, and therefore the ability to move the seats to another position is important for increasing crew comfort.
According to the designer, you don’t have to worry about the reliability of the system. Currently, digital information display systems are well developed, in particular, digital devices are installed in the cockpits of modern aircraft instead of analog ones. Therefore, according to Tyaglik, the reliability of virtual glass is not lower than usual due to the multiple redundancy of all elements of the system.
Research and development work on adapting the predictive display for supersonic aircraft is scheduled to be completed by 2025, and the designers hope their results will be implemented during the design phase.
The idea of a visionary display was commented on socialbites.ca by one of the former pilots of Aeroflot, who has flown many domestic and imported aircraft for decades.
“This system will probably be very useful. “Seeing a weather corridor in front of your eyes is really a much easier and more useful trajectory prediction than using conventional flight instruments or just looking at it with your eyes,” he said.
However, the ex-pilot reacted negatively to the possible consequences of the mass introduction of such systems. In his opinion, well-established automation really allows you not to think, but in practice leads to incompetence of pilots. This, in turn, can play a role in the event of an automation malfunction or other emergencies.