Picture a pilot navigating the crowded skies over a major European city with a dark thundercloud looming ahead. Avoiding the storm is a matter of urgency, but how?
Fortunately, the decision to change trajectory has just become easier, thanks to Thales’s new-generation Flight Management System (FMS) for civil and military aircraft, PureFlyt, which provides pilots with more detailed weather information as the flight progresses. It does this with agile functions including flight planning and trajectory computation, fuel management, horizontal and vertical guidance, datalink connections with on-ground counterparts, and location capabilities.
An all-in-one FMS unit that enables flight preparation, delivers flight information to the crew, sets flight optimisation procedures and ensures aircraft guidance as the flight plan progresses,
“PureFlyt is more connected to other equipment and more open to real-world data that is not on the aircraft,” says André Cléroux, Product Line Manager at Thales. “This allows the pilot to find a better way to divert the aircraft, for example by flying at a higher altitude. It also makes for more accurate time-to-land, reducing fuel consumption and hence the plane’s carbon footprint.”
A user-friendly “What You See Is What You Fly” display shows the pilot precisely how the aircraft is forecast to behave throughout the duration of the flight up until wheels touch ground. This increases the pilot’s trust in the computed trajectory and makes flight management simpler and more efficient.
Flight management technology for the next 30 years
PureFlyt is being launched at a time of both more automation and traffic densification.
“The skies are full and congested, so it’s necessary to reduce spacing in order fit in more aircraft. This requires more work from the FMS to guide the aircraft,” Cléroux says.
Thales has top credentials in FMS, with equipment clocking up more than 60 million flight hours on board 6,000 civil and military aircraft.
PureFlyt is packed with built-in cybersecurity, some of which is obtained by “ethical hackers” conducting a deep, thorough analysis of all the ways the FMS could be attacked. Once in service, the FMS continues to use artificial intelligence to identify erratic behaviour that could be a threat to security.
To further enhance security, PureFlyt conducts massive testing of all the variables that can impact the way an aircraft is flown: in just five days it can conduct the equivalent of 10 years of flight information.
As the “brain” of the aircraft and an invaluable aid to the pilot, PureFlyt increases flight safety, enhances flight efficiency and reduces pilot workload, making it, according to Cléroux, “the most advanced FMS integrating all the capabilities required for the next 30 years in aviation, for both improved safety and environmental protection.”
Thales is applying artificial intelligence (AI), big data, intelligent sensors, and cyber-secured connectivity to its leading air traffic management (ATM) solutions, assuring safety and efficiency for all types of aircraft in more crowded skies.