Elbit Systems wearable display cuts through snow, rain and fog

Elbit Systems is showcasing a new wearable display that helps pilots navigate in low visibility and may have applications in Canada’s North.

Pilot wearing Skylens system in cockpit
Skylens displays high-resolution information, images and video on a high-transparency visor. Elbit Systems Photo
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The company’s Skylens wearable display was a focal point of a press briefing on Nov. 2, at the National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Orlando, Fla.

“Whenever you have an airport which suffers from low visibility, fog or other–we see a significant benefit for this operation,” said Dror Yahav, the company’s vice-president of commercial aviation.

“So definitely those operating in the North–Alaska, Canada, north airports in the U.S. We see a big benefit for them.”

Skylens displays high-resolution information, images and video on a high-transparency visor that looks like an enlarged version of Google Glass.

The product is part of the ClearVision enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) family and can penetrate fog, rain and snow.

It makes aircraft capable of takeoffs and landing in conditions and locations that non-EVS- equipped aircraft previously could not approach, according to Elbit Systems.

The company announced in October that Skylens had successfully begun flights in final configuration mode onboard the new ATR-72/42 series aircraft.

ATR is the launch customer for Skylens, which replaces the traditional head-up display (HUD). The system can also be offered as a retrofit to ATR-600 aircraft and to other potential business aviation aftermarket customers.

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Skylens offers cutting-edge “head-out” capabilities, reflecting a key philosophy of the product.

“We believe pilots should fly looking out,” said Yahav. “We believe in flying heads up.”

Skylens also contributes to the operational availability of turboprop aircraft and is suitable for day and night operations and in all weather conditions, the company said in a news release.

Despite its resemblance to Google Glass and virtual reality headsets, Skylens is intended for serious aircraft applications.

“This is not a toy,” said Yahav. “This is an instrument.”

As for applications in Canada’s North, the product may be of interest to pilots who deal frequently with blowing snow.

“We see that fog, rain and snow, they are quite good to penetrate,” said Yahav. “We see some very good performance in the actual flight test.”

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