The Role of a Combiner in Aviation

The heads-up display, or HUD, of an aircraft is an extremely useful display, allowing for pilots to view important data without having to stray their eyes from their typical viewpoints. These displays are transparent in design, ensuring that a pilot can look at data and maintain eyesight out of the cockpit windshield at the same time for safety. A combiner is a standard element of any aircraft heads-up display, working alongside projector units and video generation computers to provide information on the display. In this blog, we will discuss combiner aircraft parts and assemblies, allowing you to better understand how they promote the functionality of a HUD.

For the projection unit of a HUD, such systems regularly come in the form of an optical collimator setup which consists of a convex lens or concave mirror and a focus that may be an LCD, LED, or CRT display. With such components, data can be projected for the HUD. The combiner assembly, meanwhile, is a flat piece of glass that is angled in front of the viewer, allowing for a projected image to be situated in front of the pilot while maintaining their field of view. Generally, combiner HUD elements are designed with special coatings to ensure that monochromatic light is displayed from the projector while all other light wavelengths pass through. If a refocused image is necessary, the combiner assembly is designed with a curved surface. Lastly, the video generation computer assists in the functionality of the HUD by producing the various imagery and symbols that the projector will display.

HUDs have been in use for a long time, their technology evolving from reflector sights that predated World War II. Over the years, multiple HUD generations have come about, each building off of their predecessors in terms of capabilities and design. For third generation heads-up displays, as an example, optical waveguides are often relied on for producing the images displayed on the combiner aircraft element, rather than relying on a projection screen. With fourth generation HUDs, on the other hand, a scanner laser is utilized for the means of displaying images and video onto a clear and transparent medium.

When procuring a HUD and combiner assembly for a particular aircraft, there are a few factors that one should consider. Field of View, or FOV, is important as it constitutes the vertical and horizontal angles at which the combiner is able to display information and data. With a low FOV, the combiner assembly will display information in a compact fashion, presenting most information in the perimeter of the runway environment. With a wide FOV, meanwhile, information will be presented on a larger area in front of the pilot. A wide FOV can often be beneficial for operations such as approaching a runway during crosswind conditions, though may require the pilot to move their eyes across the HUD at times to digest all information.

Another important factor is collimation, that of which assists in maintaining parallel light rays. The combiner HUD element will allow for collimated images to be perceived near optical infinity, meaning that the pilot should not have to refocus their eyes to monitor information on the HUD while maintaining focus on their visuals outside of the windshield. If you find yourself in need of top-quality combiner aircraft parts and HUD components, let the experts at ASAP 3Sixty assist you with competitive prices and rapid lead-times on everything that we offer.

ASAP 3Sixty is a premier purchasing platform for aviation components, and we can help you secure competitive pricing on combiner switch parts, combiner arms, combiner simulator components, and other combiner assembly products. To guarantee the quality of our items, we choose to only source parts from leading manufacturers such as The Boeing Company, Sierra Networks Inc, Aeroflex Control Components Inc, Rockwell Collins Inc, Ge Aviation Systems LLC, and others. Take the time to explore our offerings as you see fit, and our team is always on standby 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process however we can. Get started today and see how ASAP 3Sixty can operate as your strategic sourcing partner for all your needs.


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