Flight Testing ClearVision™ in Guernsey
20 June saw the ATR prototype aircraft fly to Guernsey to perform final tests on the ClearVision™ Enhanced Vision System, in low-visibility conditions.
The ClearVision™ system is an innovative, optional solution which can be part of the ATR -600’s new Standard 3 avionics suite. It is a huge support to pilots, offering them unprecedented situational awareness and is comprised of four options. The first is simply Skylens, a Head Mounted Display visor, worn by the pilot, which provides flight guidance symbology and runway highlighting information. Skylens can then be combined with a Synthetic Vision System (SVS) which generates images of terrain and obstacles from a database, or an Enhanced Vision System (EVS) which displays an augmented outside view to the visor in real-time, thanks to cameras and sensors fitted on the nose of the aircraft. The final option is the Combined Vision System which provides the pilot with both the EVS and the SVS via the Skylens headset.
Guernsey was chosen as the location for these tests as it is particularly plagued by fog due to its geographic location in the English Channel, between France and Great Britain. Pilots from the local Guernsey airline, Aurigny, also participated in the tests as the company is interested in how the system could benefit their operations. A study showed that in the space of a year, ClearVision™ could have saved 24 of the 48 forbidden landings that Aurigny faced. This would naturally have a significant impact on the costs the airline faces resulting from the disruption of their operations, from delays diversions or cancellations. Last year the airline paid as much as £1 million as a consequence of fog-related forbidden landings; primarily on hotels to accommodate re-routed passengers.