PFD and ND

Some very important parts of an airliner cockpit are the avionics displays. In a B738, they are the Primary Flight Display (PFD), the Navigation Display (ND), which are duplicated for both pilots, and in the center, common to the pilots, the upper and lower Display Units, where information about the engines, the fuel, and other data is displayed.

To render these wthout using a PC, I have chosen to use RaspBerry Pi 3 cards, displayed below :

This card costs more or less 40 Euros and offers a 64 bits processor @ 1.4GHz, 1 Go RAM and ethernet and wifi connection. It has a very good graphic processor which allows to display in HD with a HDMI connector.

Basically, it is a small linux machine, and I started programming the cockpit displays using OpenGL. I had to reconsider all my previous developments, since only a limited set of OpenGL is supported, which is called OpenGL ES.

At the time being, I have been able to implement a very nice PFD, as well as the ND. Not all the ND modes are currently supported, only map and not centered modes, because the development of the instruments is in progress. If using dedicated 8″ displays, you can have 1 raspberry driving the PFD and it screen, and 1 raspberry driving the ND and its screen. I have chosen to use a classic 19″ PC screen to display both PFD and ND, and in this case only one RaspBerry will draw both. Here is a picture of this setup :

The PFD and ND, displayed on a 19″ inches screen, drive by a RaspBerry Pi 3 unit, using my NetAvionics Software, currently under development.
Another view of the displays inserted in the panel. I apologize for the poor qality of the image. The panel is currently under construction, as you may note.

For the ND, a navigation database is needed. I have chosen to use the simulator database, to ensure easy updates and proper synchronization of the simulator and avionics displays. The database is analyzed at each simulator boot, and if changed (upon simulator updates or user modifications), it is automatically transmitted to the ND.