Predictive Landing Guidance in Synthetic Vision Displays

R. R.D. Arents1, J. Groeneweg1, C. Borst2, M. M. van Paassen2, M. Mulder*, 2
1 National Aerospace Laboratory NLR, Cockpit & Flight Operations (ATCF) Department, The Netherlands
2 Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Control and Simulation Section, The Netherlands

© 2011 Arents et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Control and Simulation Section, The Netherlands; Tel: +31 15 278 2094; Fax: +31 15 278 6480; E-mail:


Pilot manual path-following performance with synthetic vision displays can be improved with predictive guidance symbols. Little is known, however, on how these predictive guidance concepts can be applied to the landing flare maneuver. This paper discusses the applicability of 3D predictive guidance in synthetic vision displays during the final phase of the landing. Two types of predictive guidance were examined, the Flight-Path Predictor that indicates the aircraft's future position a certain time ahead, and the Flight Trajectory Predictor that presents the future trajectory by interpolating a number of sequential predicted positions. A theoretical investigation and an offline simulation were used to optimize the two guidance laws for the manual landing task. A pilot-in-the-loop experiment, conducted in a moving-base flight simulator, indicated that both predictive guidance types investigated support pilots in manual control. The pilot's ability to determine the correct flare initiation time is improved, and becomes comparable to timing the flare with a more realistic synthetic vision display with textured surfaces. Even though the flare initiation timing was improved by the addition of predictive guidance, the control of the flare after its initiation was not sufficiently supported. As a result, no noticeable improvement in landing performance was found.

Keywords: perspective flight-path displays, landing guidance, pilot performance, synthetic vision displays.