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  #1  
Old 05-16-2018, 07:23 PM
Ed_Wischmeyer's Avatar
Ed_Wischmeyer Ed_Wischmeyer is offline
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Savannah, GA
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Default Is synthetic vision all that useful, or just hype?

In past lives, Iíve worked around synthetic vision displays and considered them more hype than substance. After this last trip in the RV-9A, flying over the mountains with synthetic vision, my opinion is unchanged.

Who has actually used synthetic vision in flight, and to what benefit? Not theoretical benefits, or oh itís nice to look at, or hereís what the marketing hype says are the benefits, but what useful information did it provide to help you make decisions and take actions?

On this last flight, I was flying northbound over the Smokey Mountains, just to the east of Asheville, NC. It was hazy with clouds ahead almost down to the mountains, and as I wrote earlier, this was a good time to go IFR and get some good terrain clearance.

On the synthetic vision display, I could see the ridges ahead, but if there were any distance markers to the ridges, I didnít know how to read them. And if there had been a terrain threat, the same database that fed the synthetic vision would have warned me of a potential terrain encounter. I could see from the synthetic vision that I would clear all the ridges ahead at present altitude (if some monster downdraft didnít suddenly decide to ruin my entire day), but the terrain screen would have told me much the same thing, only with lower resolution.

There may have been times when my synthetic vision system has shown towers and such in a useful format, but I donít recall. Again, the Garmin G3X system gives aural warnings of obstacles.

Showing the destination runway on the SV is reassuring, especially with the flight path marker over the end of the runway, but thatís inadequate guidance IFR and if you have to use it VFR, you may already be in trouble.

One real annoyance of synthetic vision is that the depicted horizon is some amount below the white line level flight depiction.

So does SV provide any advantages in making decisions and in taking actions? Or only in special cases like the hypothetical engine failure over mountains in IMC or at night? Or is it just personal preference?

Iím inclined to leave it turned offÖ
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2018, 08:21 PM
MConner MConner is offline
 
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Location: Snead Island, Florida
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I say hype, not very useful on the 7Ē G3x. Might be better on a bigger display.

Mark
RV 10
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  #3  
Old 05-16-2018, 09:02 PM
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flightlogic flightlogic is offline
 
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Location: Prescott, AZ
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Ed, as you recall from our days talking about manuals for Chelton Flight Systems, it was tested and proven in Alaska.
When you fly for a living, have terrible weather and don't have roads.... it becomes quite useful. (lack of IFR infrastructure being key there)
I also got to train pilots in the mountains of Switzerland, Austria and Italy with Chelton. They were air ambulance helo drivers. It proved its value time and again.
So, in the realm of RV planes that are mostly for fun.... I might agree to limited actual utility. But then I am a dinosaur amongst consumers pilots. I don't like to see iPads in a cockpit. I like stuff tested to DO160 and bolted down. And DO178 software for that matter.
But, the big screen TV's will still sell in aviation. Not much point in debating the issue that I can see. AND, they really really look cool.
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Last edited by flightlogic : 05-16-2018 at 09:03 PM. Reason: spelling obsession
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2018, 09:04 PM
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Veetail88 Veetail88 is offline
 
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On a recent flight from Hagerstown to Milwaukee, I fount it useful. I’m a VFR Pilot and conditions were low ceilings with patchy limited vis, at time maybe down to 5 miles. Flying over the mountains (well big hills anyway) in southern PA, it was kind of nice to see the antennas on the ridges showing up as yellow or red cones on my efis. Certainly not absolutely necessary for the flight, but I found it comforting. Truth of the matter though, I didn’t make it home that day. After making a couple of pokes at it, I figured I was pushing out where I shouldn’t be so I turned around, back to KHGR and got a room for the night.
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Last edited by Veetail88 : 05-16-2018 at 09:08 PM.
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2018, 09:18 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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It depends a lot on where you are and how you fly. FLat country and filing IFR? You won’t even know it is turned on.

If you’re always IFR, even in the mountains? The rules keep you safe (if you follow them), and you don’t need anything but the map.

VFR night in the mountains? Yeah - the extra comfort added by having Syn Vis is well worth it. A valley runwayin the mountains with ridges on each side? Priceless! It’s also very useful in combination with a Velocity Vector to tell if you’re going to clear a ridge up ahead, or if you need to be circling back.

The biggest test of “goodness” is if you miss it when you don’t have it, and since i fly a lot of new-to-me bush planes in the mountains, I can tell you that I really do miss it when it isn;t there.

The truth is, many of the things we have these days aren’t NEEDED....but they can add margin and reduce risk, and that’s a good thing.
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Last edited by Ironflight : 05-16-2018 at 09:39 PM.
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  #6  
Old 05-16-2018, 09:55 PM
woxofswa woxofswa is offline
 
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Probably would have saved AA965
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  #7  
Old 05-16-2018, 11:06 PM
control control is offline
 
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I love it!

Great for precision approaches, placing and keeping that flight path marker on the end of the runway is so much easier than keeping traditional needles centered, you instantly get the right wind correction angle and if you get a little bit high or low it is super easy to compensate without making a to big correction..

Good confidence builder, if you see that big mast on the hill top on the SV, exactly were it should be according to the maps, you stop worrying about being to close and can allow yourself to follow the star exactly instead of thinking about deviating on the safe side.
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  #8  
Old 05-16-2018, 11:12 PM
Martin Sutter Martin Sutter is offline
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We had to bail out of Johnson Creek in September of 2016 due to heavy smoke and falling ash from an nearby fire. Visibility was barely 1 mile, less in places. I have flown in and out of Johnson Creek many times before then and know the terrain in the area well. Having synthetic vision on the GRT HX made getting out of there in the smoke a non event. I agree that most of the time SV is just cool to look at and not necessary but in a case like I described it can make the day.

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Building and flying RVís since 1988
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  #9  
Old 05-17-2018, 03:50 AM
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rmartingt rmartingt is offline
 
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I think I remember Gash posting that he found it very useful when his windshield was covered in oil from a failed seal. And there's an ATC clip of a guy who had an engine failure (night IMC over mountains, IIRC; the wisdom of that is another discussion) and used the synvis to deadstick into a runway.
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  #10  
Old 05-17-2018, 03:56 AM
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rzbill rzbill is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post
It depends a lot on where you are and how you fly. FLat country and filing IFR? You wonít even know it is turned on.

If youíre always IFR, even in the mountains? The rules keep you safe (if you follow them), and you donít need anything but the map.

VFR night in the mountains? Yeah - the extra comfort added by having Syn Vis is well worth it. A valley runwayin the mountains with ridges on each side? Priceless! Itís also very useful in combination with a Velocity Vector to tell if youíre going to clear a ridge up ahead, or if you need to be circling back.

The biggest test of ďgoodnessĒ is if you miss it when you donít have it, and since i fly a lot of new-to-me bush planes in the mountains, I can tell you that I really do miss it when it isn;t there.

The truth is, many of the things we have these days arenít NEEDED....but they can add margin and reduce risk, and thatís a good thing.
Nailed it.
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