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Aircraft Virtual Flight Viewer (AVFV)

for improved Pilot Situational Awareness (God's Eye View)-
© 1999  -  2016  Questions or Comments about  this site  webmaster
Weasel Words: This proposed approach is strictly theory on my part, with no assurance of its utility, if any. Also, there very well may be systems already in use; however I have not seen or heard of same.
    Summary:
1)_ This is a proposed scheme for helping pilots to "see" their surroundings; to view their aircraft from the outside, not unlike PC flight simulators.

2)_ This improved visibility is referred to as "Situational Awareness," sometimes called a "God's Eye View."

3)_ The technology is not limited to piloted aircraft, but can be used with remotely piloted aircraft, UAVs, model airplanes, etc.

4)_ The added components needed are an Inertial Navigation System (INS), video cameras, etc. (Most manned aircraft, benefiting from this technology, already have an INS).
 

    Introduction:
The AVFV is a system to improve a pilots' Situational Awareness; to give him a "God's Eye View" of his environment; similar to some PC flight simulators.

This is accomplished by the use of video cameras mounted on both wing tips giving wide-angle views of  local terrain and airspace.   example

When the pilot selects an 'outside-the-cockpit' view, the image from one of the wing-tip cameras is displayed along with a virtual image overlay of the particular aircraft being flown.  see directly below

The image is positioned and zoomed to properly represent the real aircraft's attitude relative to its local environment. 

All of this is controlled by attitude data furnished by the--on board--Inertial Navigation System.

This technology can also be used for remote flying of model airplanes, UAVs, as well as, remotely piloted aircraft.

Also, this system can be used for improved landings by displaying the landing gear relative to the runway, as well as, the aircraft's attitude during landing.   example
 

Helicopters could also benefit from this technology. At low altitude helicopters are very vulnerable to main and tail rotor damage.  example
Notes:
1)_ The system's displayed virtual aircraft image would be the product of dynamic and realtime modeling, very much like flight simulators--in fact, similar code to that used in a simulator might be used in this application. 

2)_ For bad weather and night flying, terrain generation might utilizes a satellite generated earth survey data set, similar to that of a product of the US Army's Topographic Engineering Center or the Virtual Terrain Project.

Q & As



Local Terrain image from wing-tip camera

Virtual aircraft image Overlay

Pilot's Display

Example of wing-tip camera sighting in Elevation, as controlled by Gyro Reference
Regardless what attitude the aircraft is in, the cameras must have their vertical axes in alignment with a line drawn from the aircraft to the center of the Earth.
 

Note the wing-tip cameras sighting is always parallel with the horizon
..
One Wing-tip camera's wide-angle viewing area in Azimuth

Wing-tip Camera
High Resolution Camera
Wing-tip Camera in Housing
High Resolution Video Camera with Fast Zoom Lens

Camera Detail

 Basic System Elements

System can also be used as a Landing Aid
..

Virtual image in cockpit situational display

Rear View 

Rear View
UAV remote pilot station
 Remote Pilot Console
..
System should ease Helicopter transiting in confined areas, while helping to reduce the likelihood of main and tail rotor damage.
..
      Q & As--
Q. How accurate is this system?

A. Theoretically there is an error equal to approximately half the wingspan (camera position to fuselage center line); this error manifests itself as the virtual image being offset (farther away) by this distance. 
In normal usage, this error is of little or no consequence. 
However, in close-in usage, taxiing, landing, etc., this error may be of significance.

Difference between Apparent Aircraft Location and Actual Aircraft Location--

Aircraft on the left is real. 
Q. Is there any way to lessen the effects of this error?

A. Yes, by mounting additional cameras on the fuselage, in an unobstructed position, would reduce the error to roughly half the fuselage diameter.

Q. Does the camera capture the entire viewing area.

A. No, the camera is made to pan, tilt, and zoom within the bounded viewing area, determined by the pilot, and under the control of the system's computer.

Q. What is the Inertial Navigation System; and what is its purpose?

A. The Inertial Navigation System (INS) is hardware that gives the pilot accurate aircraft heading and attitude (pitch, roll, and yaw) information. Some aircraft INS also include GPS for improved performance. 

This data is shared with the AVFV system, and used to maintain the correct attitude of the camera platforms relative to the horizon, regardless of the aircraft's attitude. That is, for this system to work, the cameras must always have their vertical axes in alignment with a line drawn from the aircraft to the center of the Earth. 

Q. How does the pilot select the various Virtual View Points (VVP) ?

A. In all likelihood pilots will have only a few favorite VVPs which could be selected by toggling through them using a switch on the control column. 

See "HOTAS," Hands On Throttle-And-Stick (Link).

Notes:
1)_ The system's displayed virtual aircraft image would be the product of dynamic and realtime modeling, very much like flight simulators--in fact, similar code to that used in a simulator might be used in this application. 

2)_ For bad weather and night flying, terrain generation might utilizes a satellite generated earth survey data set, similar to that of a product of the US Army's Topographic Engineering Center, Terrain Visualization division.

Other Notes



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