AMERICAS: Head-up displays could cut accidents

Technology that helps pilots by displaying critical flight information on aircraft windshields would likely have prevented hundreds of commercial aircraft accidents since the mid-1990s, according to a study by the well-respected US-based Flight Safety Foundation, with funding from Rockwell Collins, a leading supplier of such technology. The study found, after analysing nearly 1,000 accidents world-wide […]


Technology that helps pilots by displaying critical flight information on aircraft windshields would likely have prevented hundreds of commercial aircraft accidents since the mid-1990s, according to a study by the well-respected US-based Flight Safety Foundation, with funding from Rockwell Collins, a leading supplier of such technology.

The study found, after analysing nearly 1,000 accidents world-wide between 1995 and 2007, that head-up guidance systems—which can eliminate the need for pilots to scan certain cockpit instruments would have reduced the severity of 38 per cent of the accidents. In some types of accidents, the positive impact would have been significantly greater, the study concluded.

By allowing pilots to maintain their concentration and forward view, rather than repeatedly glancing down to check airspeed, flight path or other essential data inside the cockpit, the study found the greatest benefits occurred during the most dangerous phases of air travel: takeoffs and landings. But, other recent research by American Airlines has indicated a potential link between headup systems and suboptimal touchdowns.