The HUD, or "Heads Up Display" is now a common feature in military and commercial aircraft, projecting critical data such as airspeed, altitude and navigation information onto a transparent screen in front of the pilot while allowing him/her to maintain an outside vigil. Very handy when landing or maneuvering close to the ground. Not surprisingly, this technology has now filtered down to the recreational flying arena with Italian outfit PAT Avionics showing its G-HULP system at the Experimental Aviation Association’s annual gathering at Oshkosh in the USA.

Like the military versions, the G-HULP HUD uses laser projection technology, superimposing information on a transparent 7 x 3.5-inch (178 x 89 mm) display attached to the top of the instrument panel in front of the pilot.

The system is made up of a pair of modules called Bricks. The ATRBrick is an inertial platform that acquires the necessary flight data, either on its own, or via proprietary equipment such as Dynon’s popular Skyview or other digital gyro-based Air Data Attitude Heading Reference Systems (ADAHRS). The manufacturer says that it is not limited to a data acquisition from the various sensors, but can elaborate the initial data to verify and validate sensor functionalities.

The second module, called HUPBrick, interprets data acquired from its own ATRBrick, or other avionic systems installed, to graphically visualize data through a miniature laser projector on the dedicated glass screen. It comprises a remotely located CPU (within 10 feet/3 m), a projector, which is mounted on the windshield and a glass panel on which the information will be shown. The system is controlled via seven large buttons and multi-function joystick that can be either mounted in the instrument panel or anywhere within easy reach of the pilot.

An alternative data source is your existing ADAHRS, such as the popular Dynon Skyview.

So what does this mean to pilots? The addition of an HUD means you can keep focused on the outside of the cockpit for other traffic or terrain, whilst still receiving critical information on airspeed, attitude and engine functions, even flight planning and navigation details.

When announced at the EAA Convention this week, the complete, stand-alone version of the G-HULP was quoted at US$6000, and if you already have a Dynon Skyview or other third party avionic system, the price is reduced by $1000. That’s a lot of "wow" factor in a little ultralight, and makes me wonder whether we might see it in cars some time soon.

Digital gyro-based system provides all the necessary flight information for projection onto the small glass screen atop the dashboard

G-HULP HUD functions:

  • Airspeed represented through a rolling scale
  • Personalization of common aircraft speeds: VNE,VFE,VLE,VNO,VX,VY,VS,VSO
  • Altimeter height represented through a rolling scale
  • Ability to set the altimeter based on the QFE, QNH or standard regulation
  • Personalization of a reference flag “bug” on the Altimeter
  • Artificial Horizon: pitch and roll axes and reference lines or points
  • Turning rate
  • Yaw rate
  • Compass
  • Outside Air Temperature (OAT)
  • True Air Speed (TAS)
  • G-meter
  • Unit measures (meters, feet, etc.) selectable by the pilot in real time
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