SkyDisplay Head-Up Display Nears Certification Finish Line

Lower-cost HUD brings added capability to piston airplanes and turboprop.

Aircraft MyGoFlight Heads up display
Big-iron safety technology for the rest of us.Courtesy MyGoFlight

MyGoFlight, the Denver-based company you might be familiar with for its line of iPad mounts, flight bags and other pilot accessories, says it's closing in on FAA certification for its SkyDisplay head-up display, a lower-priced alternative to large, expensive HUDs designed for transport-category airplanes.

Testing has been ongoing in a Cirrus SR22 for the past few years as the company worked to modify the design of the device to ensure the information it provides to the pilot is just as good as what corporate or airline pilots see when they peer through the combiner glass of a HUD in a Gulfstream or Boeing jet.

One major difference between MyGoFlight's product and more expensive HUDs is that the view through the SkyDisplay's glass is non-conformal, meaning the symbology the pilot sees doesn't match precisely with the terrain outside.

However, because MyGoFlight’s HUD takes raw data from the avionics and presents it in the forward field of view, the information it supplies can be quite useful during instrument approaches by allowing the pilot to keep looking out the windscreen.

Making the HUD non-conformal was how MyGoFlight was able to keep the cost of its HUD at about a tenth of that of certified head-up displays on larger jets. But because the SkyDisplay is permanently mounted in the cockpit, it still requires an STC. Introductory price of the product is $25,000.

MyGoFlight says it will bring the HUD to other general aviation airplanes shortly after FAA certification is granted. The list of aircraft the company is targeting includes the Beechcraft Bonanza and Baron, Mooney M20, Cessna 421, Conquest, Mustang and CJ4, Piper Twin Commanche, and Cheyenne and Cirrus SR22 and Vision Jet.

The Cirrus SR22 that MyGoFlight is using for initial testing is equipped with an Avidyne cockpit that shares information from its solid-state air-data attitude and heading-reference system and navigation source with the HUD.

MyGoFlight said that the result is a safety-enhancing product that improves accuracy on takeoff and when hand flying and eases pilot workload during instrument approaches by presenting a flight-path marker with flight-director cue on the HUD.

MyGoFlight hopes to gain certification before EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this summer. There could be a sizable market for SkyDisplay HUD considering the vast number of airplanes MyGoFlight will target with its STCs and the desire of pilots to add big-iron safety technology to their cockpits. Still, many aircraft owners will balk at the price of the HUD even if it is far less expensive than certified systems produced by Collins, Garmin and others.

A less expensive alternative you might have heard about comes from a company called Epic Optix.

Its $1,799 Epic Eagle HUD for GA aircraft is a non-TSO’d portable unit that connects wirelessly to any tablet app, including Avidyne’s IFD100, ForeFlight, WingXPro, Garmin Pilot, Appareo Horizons for Stratus and others. Textron Aviation began offering the Epic Eagle HUD through its parts department last year and has been showcasing the display in its piston airplanes at airshows.