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By: Global Avionics Direct  09-12-2011
Keywords: Electronics

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  Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) Flight deck instrument display system in which the display technology used is electronic rather than electromechanical. EFIS normally consists of a primary flight display (PFD), multi-function display (MFD) and Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) display.
Primary Flight Display (PFD) The PFD is designed to improve a pilot's situational awareness by integrating this information into a single display instead of six different analog instruments, reducing the amount of time necessary to monitor the instruments. PFDs also increase situational awareness by alerting the aircrew to unusual or potentially hazardous conditions — for example, low airspeed, high rate of descent — by changing the color or shape of the display or by providing audio alerts.
Multi-Function Display (MFD) / Navigation Display (ND) The MFD (Multi-Function Display) displays navigational and weather information from multiple systems. Examples of MFD overlay information include the aircraft's current route plan, weather information from either on-board radar or lightning detection sensors or ground-based sensors, e.g., NEXRAD, restricted airspace and aircraft traffic. The MFD can also be used to view other non-overlay type of data (e.g., current route plan) and calculated overlay-type data, e.g., the glide radius of the aircraft, given current location over terrain, winds, and aircraft speed and altitude. MFDs can also display information about aircraft systems, such as fuel and electrical systems. As with the PFD, the MFD can change the color or shape of the data to alert the aircrew to hazardous situations.
Engine Indications and Crew Alerting Systems (EICAS) / Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitoring (ECAM) EICAS (Engine Indications and Crew Alerting System) displays information about the aircraft's systems, ncluding its fuel, electrical and propulsion systems (engines). EICAS displays are often designed to mimic traditional round gauges while also supplying digital readouts of the parameters.EICAS improves situational awareness by allowing the aircrew to view complex information in a graphical format and also by alerting the crew to unusual or hazardous situations. For example, if an engine begins to lose oil pressure, the EICAS might sound an alert, switch the display to the page with the oil system information and outline the low oil pressure data with a red box. Unlike traditional round gauges, many levels of warnings and alarms can be set. Proper care must be taken when designing EICAS to ensure that the aircrew are always provided with the most important information and not overloaded with warnings or alarms. ECAM is a similar system used by Airbus, which in addition to providing EICAS functions also recommend remedial action.
Control Panels The pilots are provided with controls, with which they select display range and mode (for example, map or compass rose) and enter data (such as selected heading). Where inputs by the pilot are used by other equipment, data buses broadcast the pilot's selections so that the pilot only needs to enter the selection once. For example, the pilot selects the desired level-off altitude on a control unit. The EFIS repeats this selected altitude on the PFD and by comparing it with the actual altitude (from the air data computer) generates an altitude error display. This same altitude selection is used by the automatic flight control system to level off, and by the altitude alerting system to provide appropriate warnings.
Data Processors The EFIS visual display is produced by the symbol generator. This receives data inputs from the pilot, signals from sensors, and EFIS format selections made by the pilot. The symbol generator can go by other names, such as display processing computer, display electronics unit, etc.The symbol generator does more than generate symbols. It has (at the least) monitoring facilities, a graphics generator and a display driver. Inputs from sensors and controls arrive via data buses, and are checked for validity. The required computations are performed, and the graphics generator and display driver produce the inputs to the display units.

Keywords: Electronics

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