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rsrandazzo

A little Heads-Up on the NGX...

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Captains-Okay- it is time for a little bit of heads-up action with the NGX!one of the cooler features that we are shipping with the PMDG 737NGX is a fully operable Heads Up Guidance System (HUGS).HUGS consist of a projector mounted over the captain's head and a combiner (sometimes called a Heads Up Display) that is a special arrangement of treated glass lenses that fold down in front of the pilot's field of view.The HUGS dramatically improves a pilot's situational awareness when flying approaches and departures because nearly all of the information needed to fly in VMC, IMC and precision approaches is presented to the pilot right in the field of view looking out the forward window.Beyond just "showing altitude speed, heading and attitude" a HUGS uses a complex array of light projection and refraction so that the information seen by the pilot is conformal to the outside world. "Conformal" means that when the pilot is looking through the collector (HUD) and sees a particular heading on the display, that heading corresponds to it's actual location out the window.Conformal also means that when you are looking through the collector (HUD) and see a marker that denotes the proper glidepath to the runway- that marker is showing you precisely where the glide path is located in your line of site.Conformal information comes in very handy when using your velocity vector to determine where the airplane is currently headed: All you do is arrange your pitch and power so that the velocity vector is sitting on the end of the runway- and that is where the airplane is headed... Presenting conformal information to you within FSX is no small feat. In fact, that we know of, we have accomplished the first truly collimated heads up guidance system that provides conformal information to the pilot no matter what angle they view the collector (HUD).So what does all this fanciness give you?Well... Lets take a nice visual approach into KRNO... (Note: In the images below, ignore all data on the NAV display...and ignore the EGPWS "PULL UP" warning... we are still tweaking...)You can see in the image below that I am quite lazily hand flying the airplane down the approach path on the ILS16R at KRNO. I am fully configured, gear down, and on speed. Without even having to look down, the HUD tells me that I am correctly flying my target approach speed of 145 knots, the airplane has a steady energy state (not accelerating or decelerating) I am on the correct 3 degree glide path and the wings are level.In this image, you can see how the horizon line and heading display is conformal to the view outside the window, and the velocity vector is planted on the approach end of the runway- yet I am pointing just slightly below the desired glidepath...NGX_16L_approach_1.jpgTaking a closer look at the HUD, here are some of the interesting features:NGX_16L_approach_HUD.jpgNOTE: The hud has a contrast control that I didn't bother to monkey with during this approach... You can adjust the coloring contrast to suit your tastes in the airplane. Some of the text in this image is hard to read because of a light colored background, but in the sim it is incredibly clear in large part because of the motion...One of my favorite visual cue's is the 3 degree glide-path marker. It is conformal to the outside view, so if the 3 degree glide path hatched line is laying perfectly across the PAPI's during your approach, then the airplane is right on the glide path- AND if your velocity vector remains right on top of that line, you will ride the proper descent path all the way down.For crosswinds or turbulence: Just keep that velocity vector right on the end of the runway- and that is where the airplane will go!Okay- so now lets dial down the visibility to 1/2 mile and go a bit lower on the approach:NGX_16L_approach_3.jpgAs we descend toward the runway, you can see the approach lights ahead, but the runway itself isn't yet visible. To help us keep our spacial orientation, the HUGS nicely lays an outline of the runway on the collector so that we can see where the runway will be, once it comes into view!You will notice a few things that the HUD is telling me in this view:1) Notice that there are two horizontal lines at the bottom of the runway? Those are the "touchdown markers." That is your aiming point for landing.2) Notice that my 3 degree glide path markers are now slightly above those touchdown markers? and notice that my velocity vector is slightly above moth of those? This is telling me that i am going to land a bit long down the runway- or, in other words- I am starting to drift high on the approach.(It's hard to fly with a camera in one hand!)This image taken a few moments later gives you an idea how helpful those runway outlines and touchdown zone markers can be toward helping you maintain your situational awareness on the final approach:NGX_16L_approach_2.jpgIn this image you can still see the 3 degree glide path marker shows that I am high on the approach, because it should be laid directly over top of the PAPI.You can also see that the touchdown markers are in the correct place, but my velocity vector is pointing well beyond them. Perhaps it is time to set down the camera and rescue this approach, eh?(Ignore the PULL UP displayed...)Okay- so all of that is pretty neat- but what happens if, while you are flying the approach, you move your head around? It stands to reason that moving your viewpoint from the one, perfectly aligned position will cause all of these really neat conformal data points to be out of position, right?No! Not at all! This is where collimation comes in!Collimation allows you to move your head all over the place- and the information on the HUD will continue to be accurate because the special projection/refraction capabilities of the HUD causes the light signal going to your eye to appear as if it is focused at an infinite distance, projected 200' in front of you. The end result is that if you move your head up, the projection appears not to move to your eye.If you slide your head all the way to the right, the projection will appear not to move... So as long as you can see forward through the collector (HUD) you will be able to see some or all of the conformal information displayed on the glass...Hard to track what I'm explaining? Maybe a demonstration is the best way to make the point:

Edit: HD version of this video now available
Pretty cool, eh?Wait until you get a chance to fly with it... The HUGS is a game changer for those miserable, low approaches- but it also makes flying a visual approach intuitive and simple!Just don't fixate on the view of the runway through that velocity vector... Or you'll really pound it on. Big%20Grin.gif
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Wow!! I may need to invest in TrackIR ahead of this release!Can't Wait!!Keep up the great work.Eric Paul

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Well Robert and team all i can say is you guys are the best :( Its going to be good to fly this baby.

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Great feature on the 737. Collimated HUD looks as good as the VRS F/A-18E. Pat

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This is an ironic update for me... there is about 50ft vis outside my house right now (1/4SM out at KDEN). A HUGS system would be great hahahahaTaylor Oldham

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This got to be the most impressive bunch of simulation preview images I have ever seen online.I once picked on Ryan for over-promising release date but with this quality as a target - OK fella, you got till June 2011 to finish it :(

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I can't beleive I will actually be flying something that looks like that, I can't get over it.Mike Davey 777

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I can't beleive I will actually be flying something that looks like that, I can't get over it.Mike Davey 777
Yeah I know the VC alone looks amazing and then all the programming layered underneath it... simply incredible. And now I think I'm probably gonna pull the trigger on a Trackir 5.
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And now I think I'm probably gonna pull the trigger on a Trackir 5.
I am actually thinking of the Nvidia 3D glasses - this should make the HUD arrangement absolutely shine - you should be able to see the HUD imagery projected onto infinity.
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