Honeywell Aerospace has a beautiful property – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
After experiencing what it was like to fly on the Gulfstream G650, it was time to explore the engineering advancements Honeywell was developing at their Deer Valley lab.
What I was shown would put aviators that finished their careers even fifteen years ago in absolute awe.
Honeywell has a four-step approach to designing cockpit avionics:
- Give the pilot what they need
- Give the pilot only what they need
- Give the pilot the information only when they need it
- Give them the information in a way that is intuitive, unambiguous, and easy to understand
Primus Epic, called PlaneView on Gulfstreams is the current state-of-the-art-flight-deck – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
The Primus Epic system on the G650 was designed with those four principles in mind. The positive response from flight crews has been overwhelming. Clearly the real-world use is matching up with the testing. This positive response has allowed Honeywell to go even further in their exploration of pilot-aircraft interface.
Honeywell’s mint-condition Gulfstream G650 departing KPAE – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Last year, I wrote about visiting Honeywell’s facility in Redmond, after which I got to spend an afternoon flying with their crash test dummies. That, however, only covers the activities of Honeywell Aerospace in Washington State.
Honeywell has a large presence in Phoenix, specifically at Deer Valley Airport. At one point this was the legacy of Sperry Electronics, which got its start making gyroscopes for Curtiss biplanes. They even had a rudimentary autopilot demonstration in June, 1914.
So, what does this have to do with Honeywell? Well, prior to their purchase by Honeywell Aerospace, Sperry developed the first Flight Management Computers (FMC). The best way to describe an FMC is that it’s a layer above the autopilot and allows for a degree of pre-planning and programming for the aircraft’s mission. Flight Management Computers have evolved to a level most of the old Sperry guard could never have imagined, though the form factor has remained relatively the same.
Honeywell Aerospace is not known for sitting still. Much of their avionics technology hangs out on the bleeding edge. The thing is, airlines and their associated airframers tend to demand low cost AND reliability. Flight deck and avionics design usually evolves within corporate aviation. It is no wonder, then, that Honeywell and Gulfstream work so closely to develop an integrated flight deck and avionics suite. The internal name of the Honeywell avionics and flight management package is Primus Epic.
While it is also at home on a Falcon 7X, Dassault puts their own special finishing touches on it so that it better matches their ecosystem. We’re not talking about Dassault today- we’re discussing Gulfstream- so the Honeywell system is marketed as PlaneView.
How does one get a good understanding of the practical elements of PlaneView/Primus Epic you ask?
The best way. By seeing it in person by flying on a Gulfstream G650 and who am I to say no?