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A synthetic vision system shows the pilot the position of his plane in a 3D-modelled flight environment.

It's like a 3D TAWS. It also shows the position on the runway:

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As I have seen, this feature works quite good. It's sometimes a bit off the centerline, but on the runway.

It is clearly stated that this is only to be used as feature to enhance the situational awareness. And I am also quite sure that this is not authorized as primary navigation source.


But imagine: You are flying in zero visibility. You have an emergency and must land. There is no ILS. (You have done no flight planning and the bad weather surprised you)

  • Would it theoretically be possible to land a plane only with this synthetic vision?
  • Is it accurate enough?
  • Would the plane at least come down in one part?
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Apparently yes, according to this 2008 review of the system in a Diamond DA40:

With [a safety pilot], I stayed under the hood for the entire flight—takeoff, en route, approach and landing—using the system’s visual cues. I managed to land the airplane without breaking anything, barely. It wasn’t pretty, but it demonstrated what was possible.

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