At NBAA BACE, Honeywell Anthem Shows Great Promise

At NBAA BACE, Honeywell Anthem Shows Great Promise

October 18, 2021 Off By Reem

Officially unveiled on October 5th, Honeywell’s new Anthem Flight Deck System was presented to participants at the NBAA-Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition held from October 12th to October 14th in Las Vegas. Already, two companies, Lilium and Vertical Aerospace had selected it as the flight deck platform that will be installed on their e-VTOL taxis on development.

On display at NBAA-BACE, Anthem confirmed to visitors that it held great promises.

The flight deck presents a basic layout comprising four wide touch-enabled 2K resolution displays. Each pilot is faced with one display each, while sharing two displays laid one on top of the other on the center console.

The Mission Manager Main Display

Located on the top screen in the center console, the Mission Manager screen is the heart of the system. As a touch screen presenting sharp high resolution graphics, the Mission Manager at first sight provides the same intuitive 2D moving map display at first look similar to that found on other systems. It shows waypoints aligned in front of the airplane symbols’ indicating its flightpath. However it integrates much more functionality, power and sophistication with a track-based Synthetic Vision System amounting to one of the industry’s best Integrated Navigation Map and Vertical Situation Display.

On the screen’s right hand, a touch-enabled side panel is used to align the waypoints in a time-based sequence. Estimated Time of Arrival for each waypoint are set in sequence. The system offers a menu of tasks that can be executed by the pilots between waypoints : initiate radio contact with the tower, cycling through a checklist, all accessible via touch screen.

The system shows its real power when customized  to execute specific tasks automatically in sequence. And it is quite flexible; a feature such as a reminder can be triggered as the aircraft reach a certain waypoint. Under Anthem, both pilots’ attention is glued to the Mission Manager screen and interact directly with the system. Anthem gathers the airplane operation to one tablet-like experience with a menuof tasks, eliminates the cockpit glare shield where rotating knobs and buttons must be feverishly worked.

Programming a sequence of task in Anthem reminds of the role of IT system administrators who have found that automating tasks by chaining them in a specific order is a time saving practice which also alleviate workload

The web browser on the center console

Below the main Mission Manager display on the center console lays the secure web browser that allows the Anthem System to remain always connected to the Cloud. The primary use of the secure browser is to replace the Electronic Flight Bag. The EFB, even on more modern aircraft had been installed on an external tablet and brought on-board by pilots : ipads have been very popular in this respect. Anthem just eliminates the need to bring an external device on-board. Because it is a Cloud environment, that means the system is always connected to ground based servers with which it can upload (flight status, aircraft based maintenance information ..) or download content from the touch of the screen. The alwas-on built-in Cloud facility facilitates the storage and access of additional maps, flight plans, or even loading a web site directly from the internet. Because Anthem can deploy 3rd party applications on mobile format, an ecosystem of partner application developer can help customize and expand the pilot experience, according to Honeywell, with things like airport webcams, company web pages, even weather data available to pilots in real time. Critical to the provisioning of 3rd party applications is Honeywell Forge, the software platform built into Anthem, to host in-air and « on-ground solutions for flight operations, flight efficiency, and connected maintenance in a single user interface”. Honeywell recognizes that “this integration enables operators to make proactive decisions about in-flight routing that save fuel and help avoid flight interruptions because of maintenance. »

Pilots displays

Pilots maneuvering the aircraft are faced with a display providing an unprecedented level of situational awareness particularly during delicate maneuvers such as landing. The 3D Runway Overrun Alerting and Awareness System (ROASS) and 3D airport moving maps fuses situational awareness graphics with enriched symbology helping the pilot execute these maneuvers safely. These sharp visualizations and graphics provide unique perspective and come fully to life when generating airfield images. For instance braking during landing displays a moving symbol on the screen which helps establishing runway stoping thresholds and limits.

In all, the Anthem flight deck provides a smartphone or tablet-like environment bringing automation, eye candy, very intuitively useful situational awareness maps and symbols on a yet, very customizable dsiplay interface. It offers the choice between a minimalist user environment or that enriched with 3rd party applications. Because the solution can be adapted to virtually every type of aircraft and flying vehicle, including large passenger and cargo planes, business jets, helicopters, general aviation aircraft, and the rapidly emerging class of advanced air-mobility (AAM) vehicles, according to Honeywell, it is highly promising.