Flying by the seat of your pants through a dense fog while trying to land on a runway that’s (hopefully) where you think it is may sound like the stuff of nightmares, but modern technology can help reduce the risks. Elbit Systems' new Skylens is a wearable head-up display for commercial pilots that is designed to give a better view of proceedings. According to the company, it’s an easy-to-install system capable of giving pilots augmented vision that can help them navigate through fog and darkness.

Possibly second only to having wings on the plane, a pilot’s most important asset is information. Flying during the day in fine weather is one thing, but at night or when clouds close in, a good set of instruments is needed just to learn something as basic as whether or not the craft is flying level or banking into the ground. Over the decades, instruments have evolved into modern Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) that put critical flight data right in front of the pilot’s eyes.

Designed for the commercial aviation market and for the Clearvision EFVS family, Skylens is a lightweight wearable device consisting of a visor large enough to fit easily over the pilot’s glasses that displays high-resolution data, symbols, and video. Elbit says the Skylens can be retrofitted to existing systems in airplanes and helicopters to provide an augmented view of the outside world with data laid over what the pilot sees – or can't see.

Elbit sees Skylens as usable for both day and night operations and in all weather conditions. It’s designed to overcome low visibility during takeoffs and landings as well as supplying information without having to rely on airport instruments. This gives pilots the capability to not only takeoff and land in low visibility conditions, but also at airfields that previously required planes with EFVS systems to use them.

Skylens is currently being evaluated for an airworthiness certificate and is expected to be in service in 2016.

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