Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Schnell, Thomas

First Committee Member

Kuhl, Jon

Second Committee Member

Robinson, John


Synthetic Vision is an aviation technology that uses databases and position estimation to establish a view of the database which provides an intuitive view that corresponds to the features of the outside world. The Synthetic Flight Bag is a low cost, portable system which implements synthetic vision, moving map, and route planning in a single software and hardware package.

Human factors analysis was performed to identify appropriate functional requirements for the development of the system. Preliminary simulator testing identified requirements on screen size and mounting location with a mind to the cramped general aviation cockpit. Hardware survey identified appropriate computing platform targets.

Hardware selected was a compact motherboard intended for embedded systems applications and graphics support. It was packaged into a custom-built avionics case, along with supporting power and I/O hardware. An LCD display with touch screen was designed and built, and represents the smallest, yet highest resolution display commercially available at this time. Software development led to a complete system with a primary flight display, multi function display, vertical profile display, and a menu and information system allowing for flight plan editing.

A flight test aircraft was instrumented and outfitted with the Synthetic Flight Bag system. A ground simulator was also created for the purpose of training prior to flight test. VFR and IFR pilots participated in the study, and were evaluated on flight technical errors, workload, and eye movement.

A flight test was performed, and results indicated that while the Synthetic Flight Bag system improves terrain awareness, it is not in its tested version a complete solution to the problem. The system was found to significantly improve the accuracy of flight, but was also found to increase workload in pilots not yet familiar with its operation. Several future improvements were identified, but the system as designed meets the project needs.


Synthetic Vision, Portable Synthetic Vision, General Aviation


x, 115 pages


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Copyright © 2007 Jason Christopher Wenger