I'm curious about the aircraft manufacturer names who still interested in including the VSD on lower part of Nav Display (I read about Boeing 737 only). Are there any other guys on this filed still? I know this would be useful during the landing and takeoff.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean airlines? The aircraft can be configured to show this or not. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Aug 28, 2015 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ Aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus etc.. Is this technology outdated? $\endgroup$
    – Lucky
    Aug 28, 2015 at 7:36
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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by vertical situation display? I only know vertical speed indicator and horizontal situation display. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Aug 28, 2015 at 9:26

3 Answers 3



Boeing have a patent on a VSD (Vertical Situation Display), which is part of the Honeywell EGPWS (Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System) which first appeared as an option on 737s about twelve years ago I think.

The system will be offered by early 2003 as a customer option on in-production 737s and by retrofit on 737-600/-700/-800/-900 airplanes already in service. Implementation of the system on other Boeing models is under consideration.

- Boeing "Aero" magazine

enter image description here

I don't know if Boeing offer licences at acceptable terms to their competitors, or if Honeywell make available, to other aircraft makers, products that incorporate features licensed from those patents.


It is possible that other manufacturers have equivalent options for alerting pilots of potential CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain).


The FAA, for example, requires aircraft be fitted with systems that comply with TAWS (Terrain Awareness Warning Systems) requirements. EGPWS systems satisfy that requirement.

TAWS requires a terrain awareness display but I dont think it requires something specifically like Boeing's VSD.

Airbus for example, on at least their A350 and A380 models, have a navigation display that incorporates "vertical flightpath data". I guess they don't call it a VSD. They also have what I think is a fairly common type of terrain display showing "peaks" ahead of the aircraft.

enter image description here enter image description here

- Sources: FlightGlobal and Airbus


It may be that some of the issues addressed by the VSD are, for many airports in mountainous terrain, taken care of by RNP (Required Navigation Performance) which prescribes the required navigational accuracy of the aircraft's navigation systems. Generally the aircraft is required to be able to follow an approach path that consists of a sequence of curved three-dimensional paths to the runway that avoids terrain. I imagine this path is pre-programmed into the navigation systems along with the go-around paths.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ So VSD would be only on Boeing aircraft, other manufacturers like Airbus do have equivalent Technology, but it is not called as VSD, instead it is CFIT. is that right? $\endgroup$
    – Lucky
    Aug 28, 2015 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ CFIT is "Controlled Flight Into Terrain" (or "Unintentional Landing") and is to be avoided at all times, as it usually costs lives. VSD is Boeing's term for their EGPWS that meets the FAAs TAWS requirements. Airbus have a similar system, but with a different name than VSD, who's job is to help the pilots avoid CFIT. (For definitions of the TLAs, see RedGrittyBrick's excellent answer.) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Aug 28, 2015 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan Also known as "cumulo granitus". $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Aug 28, 2015 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ The VSD can SHOW the terrain data from EGPWS, but it is not PART OF the EGPWS. It's common to have EGPWS without the VSD. In fact, the more common use of a VSD is to show the vertical path of the aircraft in relation to the flightplan in the FMC and crossing restrictions that are programmed into this plan. It's an enhancement to the "moving map" display, but it's a mistake to equate it to EGPWS. They're not the same, and EGPWS has been around much longer. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 30, 2015 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ The Boeing 747-8 and 787 have the same system installed. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Apr 12, 2019 at 7:13

There are similar vertical profile displays available on Boeing 787, Airbus A380 and Airbus A350 aircraft.

Here is an image of the 787's flight deck showing the VSD on the copilot's side:

enter image description here
Source: Airliners.net

  • $\begingroup$ Good info...do you have sources to include here by chance? $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2015 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ Below is a link to a 787 flight deck picture on airliners.net. The VSD is shown at the bottom of the navigation display presented on the right inboard screen. A380 (possibly A350) can be found on that site, too. Another useful resource is smartcockpit.com, but I haven't looked at it in years. Link: airliners.net/photo/Boeing/Boeing-787-8-Dreamliner/2112928/L/… $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2015 at 1:22

For the smaller aircraft market (and the big guys for that matter) many of the common EFB applications will display this information.

enter image description here (source)


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