View Full Version : Details of HUD system use at Pan Am

4th Aug 2012, 15:37
Hello everyone,

browsing the web I came across the panam.org site, which lists
under Pan Am Firsts, that in 1972 Pan Am became the first airline
"to operate FAA-certified visual approach monitor heads up pilot
system" :

Pan Am Firsts (http://panam.org/facts-and-figures/137-pan-am-firsts.html)
(scroll down to 1972)

This surprised me a bit as I thought that Alaska Airlines was
the first airline to use HUDs in their 727s.

Does anyone remember more details about the HUD use at Pan Am?
Which aircraft where fitted with HUDs and what type of HUD was used?

Would be great is someone still knew and could shed some light on this.

Kind regards,


4th Aug 2012, 17:22
As I recall it wasn’t a true HUD by today’s standards. The one which I flew during a demo flight used a gareshield mounted reflector glass to display a visual aiming point (3deg). This was used as a glideslope reference when it was positioned over the intended touchdown point. I don’t remember that it was roll stabilized.

The most memorable aspect was when the demo pilot ‘Flick’ Flicker (apparently a notable character) placed a map in the windscreen to obscure the view and suggested that a landing flare could be made safely. I don’t recall any rad alt display.

It may have been used as a rudimentary windshear detector/guidance system – using the visual references. BA evaluated the system and some of their aircraft may have used it (Trident?)

IMHO it wasn’t very practical, probably oversold.

As for the first HUDs, check Aeropostale Caravelle and the Murcure aircraft.

5th Aug 2012, 21:40
Hello PEI_3721,

thanks a lot for the info!Quite interesting stuff.What type of aircraft did you
fly for the demo flight?
Was the entire Pan Am fleet of that aircraft type subsequently equipped with
with this guidance?

Thanks again,


5th Aug 2012, 22:49
It was some non-descript light twin; haven’t got my log book handy at this time.

Try Googling:-

e.g. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19720020360_1972020360.pdf

6th Aug 2012, 13:24
PEI 3721,

thank you again for the link with further detailed information, I appreciate it.
Wishing you a great time,