The other big improvement to the 900LX is the addition of the EASy II cockpit, which is a development logically enough of the EASy cockpit, which is Dassault’s highly optimized version of Honeywell’s Primus Epic digital flight deck, which after a lot of teething pains — this could be a story in and of itself — seems finally to be a mature and stable technology.
EASy II incorporates a number of changes into the avionics, including adding a number of capabilities, such as electronic charting and satellite weather, which were a must. The EASy interface, designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate, is based on drop-down menus. The pilot makes use of cursor control devices (CCDs), two of which are located on either side of the power levers, in order to locate that cursor in the desired place and execute a command, navigate further or access a menu option. Two alphanumeric FMS keypads, one for the pilot and one for the copilot, are located just above the CCDs within easy reach.
The cockpit is laid out in a remarkably clean way, much of this thanks to the fact that the integrated avionics system handles much of the work previously done by dedicated displays and switches. Even the way the screens are arrayed, with just three displays across the top — a PFD on either side and a shared MFD — is done not because of any real estate limitation but because it fits Dassault’s philosophy of shared cockpit responsibilities. The MFD, in the view of the company’s human factors experts, should be shared between the captain and the copilot.
EASy II is designed, as its predecessor was, to allow the pilots great latitude in how they set up their displays. On either PFD or MFD they can create windows to show whatever utility they want. Different pilots will do it differently. Indeed, on two flights with EASy II, one with Honeywell in its 900EX from Dallas to Las Vegas and the other in Dassault’s 900LX demonstrator, the pilots tutoring me showed me two very different ways to set up the screens.
One of the new selling points of EASy II is synthetic vision, and Honeywell’s syn viz is a tour de force as it captures the outside world with striking realism, working in a variety of features, like superimposed range rings, dynamic pitch ladders that change depending on the phase of flight and enhanced color-coding consistency. The effect is a flight display that, despite featuring more data than ever, is easier to read and interpret.
EASy II also features a host of technological improvements, including an updated flight management system, improved takeoff/go-around capability, WAAS-LPV, XM Weather, ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast) and the advanced navigation package RNP-SAAAR. There’s also Honeywell’s remarkable RAAS runway safety utility, graphical flight planning and automatic descent mode (in case of an emergency depressurization).