The day before the official opening of AirVenture, Rockwell Collins in a press event at its impressive new AirVenture pavillion launched a touchscreen component to its Pro Line Fusion integrated flight deck. The touchscreens are scalable, meaning they can be incorporated into a number of installations going forward. The Fusion platform is already planned to go into a number of new and upgraded models, including the Bombardier Global 5000 and 6000, the Lear 85, and Embraer Legacy 500 and 450, along with a number of small airliners.
The system makes use of innovative touchscreens that bear no specific name but add a great deal of what Collins calls “eyes-forward” capability. Instead of pilots being heads-down entering data in the pedestal mounted FMS or tuning units, they can make all of that input with heads on the PFD or MFD. All data can continue to be inputted with knobs or buttons or via a cursor control device, as before.
Flying tried out the touchscreens at Collins’ pavilion at the show; we were impressed by the product’s flexiblity, intuitive nature and ease of use. Users can easily modify the layout of the PFD or MFD with a range of screens represented, along with multiple displays of safety information. On the PFD, for example, two screen touches will bring up an enhanced vision inset display in the center of the screen.
Certification is expected next year. Rockwell Collins has not named the launch customer or airplane; we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that announcement at NBAA in October.