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Fedex special toy

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Fedex special toy

Old 7th Aug 2019, 16:01
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Fedex special toy

HI there guys.

Was passing by a FEDEX MD11 the other day and noticed how it has a special feature just above the nose and under the cockpit window. I have seen it on most FEDEX freighters (MD11, B777, B767 and B757). Its a special feature that I have not seen on any other freighter model on other airlines and was just wondering if any of you had any idea what was it for.

I figured it might be somehow related to low vis operation or HUD if retrofitted with them but not quite sure, I would appreciate if anyone could clarify that. Much appreciated.

Happy landings.
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Old 7th Aug 2019, 16:10
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Enhanced flight vision system (EFVS)
https://aviationweek.com/awin/rockwe...d-end-end-efvs


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Old 7th Aug 2019, 17:02
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You see them a lot on high end biz jets.
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Old 7th Aug 2019, 17:49
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Don't forget MD10

Originally Posted by atila_101 View Post
I have seen it on most FEDEX freighters (MD11, B777, B767 and B757).
MD10 was actually the first FedEx freighter to have HUD/EFVS installed. MD10 and MD11 use a Honeywell HUD with a Kollsman infrared camera. All the other FedEx freighters use a Rockwell Collins HUD but the same camera. FedEx had been dreaming of its "Magic Window" for a long time. It was a very interesting development program.
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Old 8th Aug 2019, 15:01
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Interresting

The linked article is 6 years old. What is the state of the art nowadays?

I gather that if FEDEX has it installed fleet wide it does indeed have a clear benefit? Are those restricted minima now a regulatory thing? Any stats about how many landings have been enabled by this technology?
I muss say I completely missed this development...
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Old 8th Aug 2019, 15:45
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Seems to me the question is - how many previous accidents or incidents it might have prevented. Many nighttime (as well as low-RVR) CFITs. And the AC pilots who tried to land on a heavily-occupied taxiway (SFO) might have been a bit more - aware - had they actually been able to see aircraft and not just flashing beacons.
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Old 8th Aug 2019, 18:12
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Beware any assumption that having an enhanced vision system, particularly presented on a HUD, will enable pilots to ‘see’ and comprehend hazards.
NASA research with early HUDs (Dr Bray), demonstrated that most pilots did not ‘see’ a fuel truck crossing the runway. Also subsequent research on ‘HUD’ fixation, where the guidance cues can dominate the mental processes even if pilots think that they are flying visually and will ‘see’ everything.

What are the benefits of this system, improved minima over existing ILS, GPS approaches, better non-precision operations, takeoff minima etc ?

https://archive.org/details/NASA_NTR...025505/page/n1
and
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/c...0040065771.pdf


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Old 8th Aug 2019, 20:06
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Originally Posted by pattern_is_full View Post
Seems to me the question is - how many previous accidents or incidents it might have prevented. Many nighttime (as well as low-RVR) CFITs.
Fair point. Not sure that's how the bean counter are seeing it. Pun intended 😜
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Old 10th Aug 2019, 09:02
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Actually I think it’s the gizmo to remotely open the hangar door..............

Or to automatically pay the airway tolls.......


........I’ll get my coat.
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Old 10th Aug 2019, 17:56
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https://docplayer.net/14691941-Fedex...ing-china.html
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Old 10th Aug 2019, 18:20
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NASA was doing simulator studies with U.S. pilots from the 3 largest U.S. airliners and the 2 large cargo operators. HUD, with or without low level visibility aid, with or without IR, for straight or curving ILS's, without without computer generated presentation of the runway. They'd also add a chevroned 'do not land short' box on some of the approaches*. On curving approaches they'd have the runway either ahead of you, even though you'd turn at low altitude (rolling out as low at 100'???), or have the runway presented where it actually would be in space (off to the side on a curving approach).

I don't recall the expected number of approaches but we did 43 (me - 42, FO - 1) over two days. We stayed late on day 1 and kept grinding away (additional approaches?) on day 2. Ten hours in the sim. Four hrs day 1, six hrs day 2. Day 1 was inbrief, setup, familiarization, and some approaches. Day 2 was only approaches.

We were guinea pigs. There was always one observer in the simulator with us. They switched off ever hour or two. They'd set up their eye scanning system to see which way we were looking. After each approach we'd be interviewed and fill out a report on our impressions, alertness level, fatigue, any observed positives or negatives, etc. One observer had a blanket on her legs....while the FO and I (!) had sweat starting to break out on our backs despite the air-conditioning. Forty two low vis hand flown approaches, as low as 600(1200??) RVR was tiring.

In a conversation during a break the observer said my performance had changed. He wouldn't say how it had changed but they were observing performance changes. I don't know if it was improvement or degrading due to fatigue.

The observer said he'd noticed the difference between professional pilots instrument scan and non professional pilots. The eye tracking technology allowed them, if they had it fine tuned, to tell exactly what you were looking at. In our test it gave general direction we were looking but not the exact instrument. He said the scan pattern (ability? speed? IDK) of professional pilots was immediately observable. He called it 'the super scan.' He didn't mention how it differed. I mentioned that if it was observable maybe it was teachable? Anyone looking to write a PhD thesis and need an area to study???

* - I had one major, negative, reaction to the chevron's. I think it was a low vis curing approach and as you were banking at 100'(?!) in IMC with low vis (less than 2000'? less than 1000'???) the chevron would appear in your left field of view and appeared to be the base of an 'X'. Seeing an 'X', or what you think is an 'X', is very unsettling at 100' in a bank turn, while IMC, trying your darndest to align with the runway.

I have a note that the program was called RAPTOR? NASA's Frankenstein 757 - sidestick, 787 avionics, HUD, with or without LLTV and IR capability on the HUD. FO had the LLTV or IR on his ND display.
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Old 10th Aug 2019, 20:15
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Great story, m-a! How low/close were the curved ones to establish on centerline?
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Old 10th Aug 2019, 22:51
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Thanks for the report and posted presentation.
Again some relatively old stuff. I'd be really curious about the current state of affairs (regulatory & operational).

Last edited by atakacs; 11th Aug 2019 at 10:45.
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Old 11th Aug 2019, 05:56
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Indeed, FEDEX was the original impetus behind such technology in a program named “Magic Window” which was intended to determine if real-time video of the runway, presented on a HUD, generated by a fog-penetrating sensor could be used to guide a pilot to a safe IMC landing. At the time, state of the art technology couldn’t provide a satisfactory picture. Persistent efforts and even an FAA research effort in the early 90’s demonstrated the capability. However, it was a long way from “ready for prime time”, then. The cost of a single night of diversions at Memphis was enough motivation for FEDEX to pursue a solution.

Early implementations of EVS on business jets used FLIR, which, at best, is of marginal benefit in fog. But it was enough for Gulfstream and technical partners to develop it into a certifiable system. In the last decade, there have been media accounts of multispectral EVS sensors that promised improved IMC performance. Meanwhile, rulemaking by EASA and the FAA has enabled operators certain operational benefits for IMC approach operations. The FAA even included EFVS, the operationally approved systems, as part of its NextGen technologies.
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Old 12th Aug 2019, 21:02
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
Great story, m-a! How low/close were the curved ones to establish on centerline?
I don’t recall exactly but they were pretty darn low. 100’?

Low enough that the ‘box’ just short of the runway would be in your lateral field of view while you were in banked turn trying to align with the runway.

The ‘box’ either had computer generated chevrons or was a black hole with nothing in it. Maybe so that the runway threshold was more obvious? I don’t recall, or perhaps never knew, their reasoning. Regardless, my reaction to seeing part of the chevron, out of the corner of my eye, was in turn at low altitude. I thought it was a very bad combination. Not vertigo inducing but a very strong “whoa, is that a ‘break X’ display?!? IE, go-around?!?” reaction. My feed back was that I didn’t think the design should induce that sort of reaction at low altitude (<200’??). Which is why they do the tests.

I’m guessing they put at least 5-10 crews through the same program. Maybe 200 to 400(???) ILS’s establishing line pilots reactions?

Based on the size of the box, normal field of view at 200’ AGL and 100’ AGL, I think the undesired reaction occurred around 100’ or perhaps slightly higher.
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Old 12th Aug 2019, 21:05
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
Great story, m-a! How low/close were the curved ones to establish on centerline?
Do you mean degrees of turn from final approach to the runway? Maybe 30 degrees? The turn was low, and my recollection, perhaps wrong, was that we were rolling out below 200’ and perhaps closer to 100.’

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Old 13th Aug 2019, 21:39
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May I ask whether Fedex has a reputation for this kind of endeavour? Have they done other aircraft mods in the pursuit of worthwhile business improvements? It reminds me of the efforts Easyjet were putting in to developing volcanic ash detectors on their aircraft, so as to make their operations more immune to eruptions in Iceland.

I'm impressed by the level of effort in both companies; nice to see a clear understanding of the business benefits of technological improvements, and also to see the drive to make it happen for themselves (rather than hope the aircraft OEM does it).

Thanks!
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 10:45
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Originally Posted by misd-agin View Post
The turn was low, and my recollection, perhaps wrong, was that we were rolling out below 200’ and perhaps closer to 100.’
Yes, the height of the final turn (end of) got me curious.

To do a synthetic vision trial, combined with a close turn almost in the ground effect sounds like a bridge too far scenario. It must have been the researchers pushing you guys beyond the edge for a purpose.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 14:19
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RAE research in the 80s re noise abatement / MLS, using two segment approaches (GS) and segmented track offset (AZ) concluded that the final stabilised straight-in criteria using conventional instruments were 300ft/1nm VFR, and 1000ft/3nm IFR. These were the amalgamated results from airline operational assessment, generally in simulation, and RAE research flying at several locations and a range weather conditions.
The largest track angle was 90deg provided the final turn was completed before the straight in point; Max GS 6 deg becoming 3 deg.
One aspect affecting the outcome was the ability to identify the runway at decision height and correct if necessary. The ‘Calvert’ C/L plus 5 cross bar approach lighting pattern provided better cues than a C/L and single crossbar, both for awareness and judgement of lateral / vertical deviation, and aircraft attitude / manoeuvre margin relative to the runway.

Simulation of enhanced visual devices for a head down display and landing indicated that the sensor resolution at that time (1990s technology IR, radar) was insufficient to judge a visual-like flight path, thus FD guidance was required.
There was little difference between an EFIS head down landing using a FD and a HUD FD without visual enhancement; pilots just flew the FD.
A head down display of an enhanced or synthetic ‘real world’ was very sensitive to EFIS pitch / roll scaling which required a change in depiction / ratio of the conventional pitch attitude scale; thus HUD has the advantage, providing the electronic overlay is sufficiently accurate with the real world (value not identified).

Modern technology probably offers ‘Simulator’ type quality, but would simulators have the appropriate level of integrity for flight use, and would each pilot have an independent (dual) display.
Then in training would the pilots be flying a ‘simulation’ of the real world in a simulator, and when using HUD which simulation would overlay the other simulation - a mental conundrum.
The cryptic point above is that when using ‘synthetic’ computer-generated scenes to visualise inside an object people have attempted to place their hand through the structure to reach what they perceive as ‘real’ opposed to the real world.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 22:58
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Actually I think it’s the gizmo to remotely open the hangar door..............

Or to automatically pay the airway tolls.......

hahahaha....actually, it automatically debits the landing fee...

well okay, and perhaps updates the navdatabase automatically...but that is a boring reason.
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