Project and Objectives
Open Flight Deck is a consortium project led by GE Aviation and includes BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Coventry University and University of Southampton. It launched in March 2017 and is due to finish in November 2021.
Aviation faces numerous challenges to meet projected demand over the coming decades. The anticipated doubling of the single aisle fleet by 2036, for example, creates around 80,000 additional daily flights requiring an additional 400,000 pilots.
And yet there is a growing disconnect between the demands of airlines and flight deck capability, particularly for through-life upgrades with minimised re-certification costs and aircraft development with reduced cost of change.
There are significant financial and human challenges of future aircraft operations in the context of these market demands. This means that the aviation industry is at increasing risk of being unable to benefit from advances in global technology because of the time and cost to equip aircraft with systems that can be proven as safe and certifiable.
The Open Flight Deck project looks to resolve this impasse and open up the cockpit to safe and secure innovation by enabling regular updates of flight deck applications.
The consortium’s Research & Development (R&D) programme is structured to address the following:
- How can an open platform vision be applied to the pilot-aircraft interface?
- What tools and system architectures are needed to unlock rapid development cycles and implement change with the least impact to certification?
- How do we enable life cycle upgrades and the introduction of new technologies at lower cost?
The project aims to answer these questions through two complementary objectives.
To develop an accessible platform for the flight deck which supports:
• New technologies;
• New applications such as crew decision aids harnessing big data; and
• 21st century HMI such as touch, voice and haptics.
To utilise the platform to evaluate novel flight deck solutions which:
• Address aviation challenges;
• Are suitable for commercial exploitation; and
• Meet the needs of aircraft OEM and airlines.