The Effect of Synthetic Vision Enhancements on Landing Flare Performance – L. Le Ngoc, C. Borst, M. Mulder, and M. M. van Paassen – Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft, The Netherlands – August 2010
The usage of heads-down, non-conformal synthetic vision displays for landings below
minimums has inherent problems during the flare due to minification effects. Literature
showed that pilots can use four visual cues to perform a manual flare maneuver. Amongst
their strategies, the Jacobson flare method seemed the most suitable to provide flare initi-
ation and flare control cues. Offline, linear simulation results indicated that the Jacobson
method was robust and its performance was comparable to an automatic landing system.
An enhanced synthetic vision display was designed offering support cues to aid pilots with
this landing method. An experiment was conducted in a fixed-based simulator with eight
professional pilots and eight novice pilots. The enhanced display was tested against a basic
version and conventional primary flight display with outside visuals. Each pilot group was
split into two groups with different display orders to check for possible learning effects.
The experiment showed that touchdown position was not affected by display type. The
enhanced display did achieve softer touchdown sink rates compared to the basic version.
The softest landings were done on outside visuals. A strong learning curve was also ob-
served for the group of pilots that first flew with the enhanced display: this translated into
better achieved performances with subsequent displays. Therefore, it could be a valuable
tool for basic flight training and reduce the number of flight hours required in mastering
the landing flare.