FedEx Express is installing a technological improvement that enhances visibility during foul weather and darkness and improves situational awareness for pilots during takeoff and landing.
The Federal Aviation Administration authorized a Supplemental Type Certificate for the avionic system, the first such certification given to a major commercial air carrier.
FedEx Express will install the system in its fleet of Boeing MD-10 freighters. Using infrared technology, pilots will be able to see better in darkness, smoke, smog, haze and other weather events while simultaneously seeing critical flight data.
The system combines a "Head Up Display" provided by Honeywell International with an infrared "Enhanced Flight Vision System" by Elbit Systems of America Commercial Aviation-Kollsman Business Unit.
The HUD presents a high resolution liquid crystal display of critical flight guidance information. The EFVS overlays that with real-time infrared video of the outside world. The whole display is overhead in the captain's forward field of view.
"It enables a pilot to see approach and runway lights in difficult environments, which means our aircraft will be better adapted to fly into and out of airports experiencing poor visibility," said FedEx Express crew member Bob Moreau, a 28-year veteran.
FedEx said it will begin the modification program for its entire MD-10 fleet this summer and expects to complete it in 2012. The carrier also expects FAA approval to expand installation of the technology on its entire trunk fleet.