(19)
(11)EP 3 162 714 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
11.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/50

(21)Application number: 16193251.2

(22)Date of filing:  11.10.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B64D 43/00(2006.01)

(54)

AIRCRAFT ENGINE FAN SPEED DISPLAY IMPROVEMENTS FOR ENHANCED MONITORING AND THRUST SETTING ABILITY

VERBESSERUNGEN DER FAN-GESCHWINDIGKEITSANZEIGE VON FLUGZEUGTRIEBWERKEN FÜR EINE VERSTÄRKTE ÜBERWACHUNG UND SCHUBEINSTELLUNGSFÄHIGKEIT

AFFICHAGE DE RÉGIME DE FAN DE MOTEUR D'AÉRONEF POUR DES CAPACITÉS DE SURVEILLANCE ET DE RÉGLAGE DE POUSSÉE AMÉLIORÉES


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 26.10.2015 US 201514922395

(43)Date of publication of application:
03.05.2017 Bulletin 2017/18

(73)Proprietor: The Boeing Company
Chicago, IL 60606-1596 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • HODGES, Christopher M.
    Chicago, Illinois 60606-2016 (US)
  • BROWN, Kevin S.
    Chicago, Illinois 60606-2016 (US)

(74)Representative: Smith, Jeremy Robert et al
Kilburn & Strode LLP Lacon London 84 Theobalds Road
London WC1X 8NL
London WC1X 8NL (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
GB-A- 1 578 535
US-A1- 2004 113 816
US-B1- 7 053 796
US-A- 5 404 766
US-A1- 2011 001 636
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] The technology disclosed herein relates generally to systems and methods for displaying aircraft engine characteristics, such as the operational states of engines, to the flight crew of an aircraft. In particular, the technology disclosed herein relates to display systems and methods for use in indicating the thrust and fan speed of a turbofan aircraft engine.

    [0002] In controlling the thrust of a turbofan engine, and especially in causing selected changes in the thrust output of such an engine, it is important that a thrust control system provide both accurate and stable indication of thrust. In addition, aircraft are required to provide tachometer indications of engine rotor speeds, including the fan speed (N1). Some commercial transport aircraft with turbofan engines utilize N1 itself as the thrust setting parameter. Providing acceptable accuracy and stability in the display of N1, serving both as a tachometer and as the thrust setting parameter, has been a problem of long standing in the art. This is primarily because the relationship between N1 and thrust is non-linear, resulting in loss of resolution at the upper end (near maximum or takeoff thrust) of the scale. Small changes in N1 at the upper end of the range correspond to large changes in thrust (larger than the same change in N1 at the low end of the fan speed range) This can make pilot determination of a target thrust set difficult due to the low resolution of the display. As a result, a pilot may have difficulty in detecting or setting small thrust increments at high thrust.

    [0003] It would be advantageous to provide a means for increasing resolution at the upper end of the N1 scale as well as other visual cues for indicating to the pilot that the engine is delivering the desired thrust.

    [0004] US 2011/0001636 A1 discloses a method and system for highlighting a parameter image representative of a flight parameter of an aircraft to a user in a multi-parameter aircraft instrument display, such as a flat panel display.

    [0005] US 7053796 B1 discloses a monitoring instrument that represents the state of n parameters, where n is an integer greater than two. The monitoring instrument includes n axes having a common origination point. Each axis is configured to indicate one of the n parameters.

    [0006] GB 1578535 A discloses a display system that comprises means for receiving signals in accordance with measurements of a multiplicity of parameter values and for performing a series of comparison processes to determine whether the signaled parameter values satisfy predetermined criteria.

    SUMMARY



    [0007] The subject matter disclosed in detail below is directed to systems and methods for displaying N1 fan speed in a manner that provides increased resolution at the upper end of the operating range. This is accomplished by a variable scale(s) which improves the functionality of the N1 gauge (as a thrust gauge) in the desired region. Also, there is visual indication to provide pilots the ability to discern if the current thrust is within a specific tolerance to the desired value within the takeoff region. This additional indication is achieved by color changes associated with the N1 display structure.

    [0008] The display disclosed in detail below provides increased performance of the N1 display parameter and can support a reduction in the number of required engine displays on the flight deck (e.g., N1 only instead of N1 and a different dedicated thrust setting parameter such as engine pressure ratio (EPR)). The display disclosed herein can also increase the ability of the pilot to determine what the thrust setting is.

    [0009] One aspect of the subject matter disclosed in detail below, and claimed according to claim 1, is a computer-implemented method for displaying aircraft engine information, comprising: acquiring a value of an engine control parameter during operation of an aircraft engine, wherein the engine control parameter has a nonlinear relationship with thrust; displaying on a display unit symbology representing the engine control parameter at positions relative to the scale using a nonlinear scaling function. In the disclosed embodiments, the engine control parameter is fan speed (N1). The nonlinear scaling function may be an algebraic function (e.g., a polynomial) or a lookup table, providing the desired symbology positions on the scale corresponding to each possible value of fan speed. In the disclosed embodiments, the scale is a circular arc and the symbology is a radial line originating at a center of and intersecting the circular arc at an angular position. The method may further comprise displaying a discrete cue that thrust has been set to a takeoff thrust value that is within a specified tolerance of a desired takeoff thrust value.

    [0010] Another aspect of the subject matter disclosed in detail below, and claimed according to claim 8, is a system for indicating aircraft engine information onboard an aircraft, comprising: a display unit that can be controlled electronically to generate symbology and colors; and a display control processor configured to control the display unit to generate indicators indicating the current fan speed of an operating aircraft engine, wherein the display control processor is configured to perform the following operations: acquiring a value of an engine control parameter during operation of an engine, wherein the engine control parameter has a nonlinear relationship with thrust; controlling the display unit to display a scale; and controlling the display unit to display symbology having a position relative to the scale using a nonlinear scaling function, the symbology representing the acquired value of the engine control parameter. In the disclosed embodiments, the engine control parameter is fan speed. The nonlinear scaling function may be a polynomial function. The system may further comprise computer memory having a look-up table stored therein, wherein the lookup table comprises fan speed values and corresponding symbology positions of the symbology relative to the scale, and the display control processor may be further configured to retrieve the position of the symbology relative to the scale from the lookup table. In the disclosed embodiments, the scale is a circular arc and the symbology is a radial line originating at a center of and intersecting the circular arc at an angular position. The display control processor may be further configured to control the display unit to display a discrete cue that thrust has been set to a takeoff thrust value that is within a specified tolerance of a desired takeoff thrust value.

    [0011] A further aspect of the subject matter disclosed in detail below is an aircraft comprising: an aircraft engine having a fan; a sensor configured to generate fan speed data representing a measurement of a fan speed of the fan; a display unit that can be controlled electronically to generate symbology and colors; and a display control processor configured to perform the following operations: receiving fan speed data generated by the sensor; and controlling the display unit to display a scale and symbology having a position relative to the scale determined using a nonlinear scaling function, the symbology representing the measured fan speed. The display control processor may be further configured to control the display unit to display a discrete cue that thrust has been set to a takeoff thrust value that is within a specified tolerance of a desired takeoff thrust value.

    [0012] Other aspects of N1 display gauges suitable for use as thrust indicators are disclosed below.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0013] Various embodiments will be hereinafter described with reference to drawings for the purpose of illustrating the above-described and other aspects.

    FIG. 1A is a diagram representing one type of primary engine display for a flight deck that includes a dedicated thrust setting parameter (EPR) separate from the N1 tachometer dial.

    FIG. 1B is a diagram representing another type of primary engine display for a flight deck that does not include EPR and uses N1 for both tachometer and for thrust setting.

    FIG. 2 is a block diagram identifying some components of a system for displaying aircraft engine information/indications.

    FIG. 3A is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display for a flight deck in a situation wherein the current fan speed N1 for the left engine indicates a thrust shortfall, while the current fan speed N1 for the right engine indicates no thrust shortfall.

    FIG. 3B is a diagram representing an EPR display for a flight deck in a situation wherein the EPR for the left engine indicates a thrust shortfall, while the EPR for the right engine indicates no thrust shortfall.

    FIG. 4 is a graph of the angular position of a needle relative to a dial on an N1 display versus the current value of the fan speed N1. In this example, the maximum fan speed N1Max is equal to 100%.

    FIG. 4A is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating the current fan speed N1 relative to a dial is determined using the scaling function depicted in FIG. 4.

    FIG. 5 is a graph of the angular position of a needle relative to a dial on an N1 display versus the current value of the fan speed N1 for different maximum fan speeds.

    FIG. 5A is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating the current fan speed N1 relative to a dial is determined using a scaling function (indicated by a solid curve in FIG. 5) corresponding to a maximum fan speed N1Max equal to 100%.

    FIG. 5B is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating the current fan speed N1 relative to a dial is determined using a scaling function (indicated by a dashed curve in FIG. 5) corresponding to a maximum fan speed N1Max equal to 80%.

    FIG. 5C is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating the current fan speed N1 relative to a dial is determined using a scaling function (indicated by a bold curve in FIG. 5) corresponding to a maximum fan speed N1Max equal to 60%.

    FIG. 6 is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating the current fan speed N1 during takeoff relative to a dial is determined using a linear scaling function.

    FIG. 7 is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating the current fan speed N1 during takeoff relative to a dial is determined using a nonlinear scaling function.

    FIG. 8 is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating a current fan speed N1 equal to the idle fan speed N1Idle relative to a dial is determined using a linear scaling function while the aircraft is flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

    FIG. 9 is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating a current fan speed N1 equal to the idle fan speed N1Idle relative to a dial is determined using a nonlinear scaling function while the aircraft is flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

    FIGS. 10A and 10B are diagrams representing an N1 fan speed display in which a symbol changes color when the current fan speed N1 changes from being less than a target fan speed N1Targ by more than a specified percentage to being less than N1Targ by less than the specified percentage.



    [0014] Reference will hereinafter be made to the drawings in which similar elements in different drawings bear the same reference numerals.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0015] Illustrative embodiments of systems and methods for displaying aircraft engine parameters during engine operation are described in some detail below. However, not all features of an actual implementation are described in this specification. A person skilled in the art will appreciate that in the development of any such actual embodiment, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developer's specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which will vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.

    [0016] Modern aircraft engine flight deck displays typically include computer-driven display screens dedicated to presenting engine status information. These display screens typically present to the pilots engine data indicating the values of a variety of engine operating parameters. For example, it is known to provide a primary engine display that presents top-level engine parameter data. FIG. 1A shows a primary engine display comprising an engine pressure ratio (EPR) display 30, an N1 speed display 32, and an exhaust gas temperature (EGT) display 34. In this display, EPR is the thrust setting parameter and N1 is the tachometer for fan speed. The primary engine display can include multiple sets of displays (two are shown in FIG. 1A), one set for each engine of the aircraft. FIG 1B shows a primary engine display comprising an N1 speed display and an exhaust gas temperature (EGT) display. In this display, N1 serves both as the tachometer for fan speed and as the primary thrust setting parameter.

    [0017] FIG. 2 is a block diagram identifying some components of a system for displaying the state of one or more aircraft engines for viewing by a flight crew. The system comprises a computer system 12 having one or more input/output devices 14, a processor 16, a memory 18, and a display unit 20. In other embodiments, the functions carried out by the system can be distributed over a plurality of computers or processing platforms. The input/output devices 14 can receive signals corresponding to engine automation and operating parameter signals 22, and, optionally, crew input signals 24, and environmental and aircraft system sensors and inputs (not shown in FIG. 2). The processor 16 can determine the operational state of each engine, based at least in part on one or more of the engine automation or operating parameter signals 22. The processor 16 can then direct the display of an icon on the display unit 20 that qualitatively or quantitatively indicates the operational state of the engine (enabling crew awareness). The processor 16 can optionally direct the display of an icon on the display unit 20 which explicitly or implicitly indicates to the pilot whether an action is required and if so, what the action should be.

    [0018] In one embodiment, the computer system 12 can be generally similar to existing avionics computers, but can be programmed and/or configured to carry out the foregoing processes. For example, the computer system 12 can include an engine controller computer (EEC or FADEC) and/or an aircraft display computer. In any of these embodiments, one or more of the input/output devices 14 can be configured to receive the engine operating parameter signals 22 directly from the aircraft engines and/or from intermediate computers or processors. One or more of the input/output devices 14 can be configured to receive the crew input signals 24 and can accordingly include a keypad, mouse pad, touch screen, switches, control levers, or other such device. The crew input signals 24 can be used to tailor certain aspects of the manner in which information is presented on the display unit 20, or to obtain additional information, without affecting the content of the information. One or more of the input/output devices 14 can also be configured to access a computer-readable medium (such as a CD, diskette or USB memory device). Directions for carrying out processes in accordance with various embodiments can be transferred from or stored on such media, and/or stored in the memory 18. The display unit 20 on which the information is presented can include a CRT screen, an LCD screen, or any other device that is configured to visually present engine-related information to the flight crew.

    [0019] In a conventional manner, while the aircraft engine is operating, the processor 16 controls the display unit 20 to display a first indicator representing the calculated current fan speed N1. Typically the fan speed N1 is a normalized value (i.e., a percentage of a standard reference value). The engine idle running speed N1Idle is the minimum fan speed for a running engine at any given condition. The value of N1Idle varies as a function of altitude, airspeed, pressure, temperature and other factors such as engine make and model.

    [0020] In some countries, regulations covering turbofan engine-powered aircrafts require both a tachometer (to indicate the speed of the rotors with established limiting speeds) for each engine and an indicator to indicate thrust, or a parameter that is directly related to thrust, to the pilot. The indication must be based on the direct measurement of thrust or parameters that are directly related to thrust. Some engine manufacturers have chosen to indicate thrust by a dedicated parameter such as the engine pressure ratio (EPR), separate from the N1 tachometer for fan speed (as illustrated in FIG. 1A); others have chosen to use the N1 display for both functions (as illustrated in FIG. 1B).

    [0021] FIG. 3A is a diagram representing a portion of a screenshot displayed by a display unit during takeoff (TO), the content of which includes symbology representing an N1 display. The left half of the N1 display includes the following symbology for the left engine: a dial 2 representing a scale in the form of a circular arc; a tic mark 4 indicating the N1 design limit N1Redline; a chevron 6 indicating the target fan speed N1Targ; a tick mark 7 indicating the maximum rated fan speed N1Max; and a needle 8 indicating the current measured fan speed N1. The right half of the N1 display includes similar symbology for the right engine.

    [0022] The needle 8 is a dynamic radial line that will rotate clockwise or counterclockwise about the center of dial 2 with changes in fan speed. It should be understood that the elements displayed in FIG. 3A would be typically displayed in color. For example, dial 2 may be light gray, tic mark 4 may be red, chevron 6 may be green, tick mark 7 may be amber, and needle 8 may be white.

    [0023] Still referring to FIG. 3A, numeric values (for example, 93.2 and 95.2) for the current fan speeds N1 of the left and right engines are displayed in display fields 10a and 10b respectively. These numeric values, which will change as the measured fan speed N1 changes, correspond to the respective angular positions of the needle 8. A numeric value (for example, 95.2) for the target fan speed N1Targ for both engines is also displayed directly above the respective display fields 10a and 10b. The display fields 10a and 10b may be represented by rectangles displayed in selected respective colors or the same selected color.

    [0024] In the N1 display shown in FIG. 3A, the current and target fan speeds for the left engine indicate a thrust shortfall, while the current and target fan speeds for the right engine indicate no thrust shortfall. More specifically, the current fan speed N1 for the left engine is 93.2, whereas the target fan speed N1Targ is 95.2, representing a 2% N1 shortfall which corresponds to a thrust shortfall of 5.15%. This thrust shortfall is barely discernible when an observer views the dial 2 due to the small angle between chevron 6 and needle 8.

    [0025] In contrast, FIG. 3B is a diagram representing a portion of a screenshot for an EPR display in which a thrust shortfall is more readily discernible. The left half of this EPR display includes the following symbology for the left engine: a dial 12 representing a scale in the form of a circular arc; a chevron 16 indicating the target EPR; a tick mark 17 indicating the maximum rated EPR, and a needle 18 indicating the current measured EPR. The right half of the EPR display includes similar symbology for the right engine. The needle 18 is a dynamic radial line that will rotate clockwise or counterclockwise about the center of dial 12 with changes in EPR. Again the elements displayed in FIG. 3B would be typically displayed in color.

    [0026] Still referring to FIG. 3B, numeric values (for example, 1.404 and 1.476) for the current EPR of the left and right engines are displayed in display fields 20a and 20b respectively. These numeric values, which will change as the measured EPR changes, correspond to the respective angular positions of the needle 18. A numeric value (for example, 1.476) for the target EPR for both engines is also displayed directly above the respective display fields 20a and 20b. The display fields 20a and 20b may be represented by rectangles displayed in selected respective colors or the same selected color.

    [0027] In the EPR display shown in FIG. 3B, the current and target EPRs for the left engine indicate a thrust shortfall, while the current and target EPRs for the right engine indicate no thrust shortfall. More specifically, the current EPR for the left engine is 1.404, whereas the target EPR is 1.476, which difference corresponds to a thrust shortfall of 4.75%. This thrust shortfall is readily discernible when an observer views the dial 12 due to the relatively larger angle between chevron 16 and needle 18, as compared to the relatively smaller angle between chevron 6 and needle 8 seen in FIG. 3A.

    [0028] Thus, the sensitivity of the analog N1 display gauge (seen in FIG. 3A) to changes in thrust at high power is poor in comparison with the EPR display gauge (seen in FIG. 3B). This poor sensitivity at high power is attributable to one or more of the following factors: (1) the relationship of N1 versus thrust is nonlinear and shallower at the high end, (2) some gauge travel is allocated to the "unused" span from N1Max to the N1Redline, and (3) some gauge travel is allocated to the span from 0 RPM to N1Idle. As a result, the sensitivity of analog indications of thrust shortfalls for N1 gauges is less than the sensitivity for EPR gauges.

    [0029] To improve the sensitivity (i.e., increase the resolution) of an analog N1 display gauge to changes in thrust at high power, a variable scale can be employed, which improves the functionality of the N1 gauge (as a thrust gauge) in the desired region. The approach adopted herein is to leave the range from N1Max to the N1Redline unchanged, and to warp the scale from 0 RPM to N1Max as shown in FIG. 4. This is one possible scaling embodiment, but others are possible depending on specific behavior desired.

    [0030] FIG. 4 is a graph of the angular position of a needle relative to a dial on an N1 display versus the value of N1 when the maximum rated fan speed N1Max equals 100%. In a typical case, the angular position of the needle has a linear relationship to N1, as indicated by the dotted straight line extending from the origin to the upper right-hand corner of the graph in FIG. 4. In accordance with one embodiment of the variable scaling concept disclosed herein, the angular position of the needle will have a nonlinear relationship to N1, as indicated by the curved solid line extending from the origin to a point of intersection with the dotted straight line in FIG. 4. This nonlinear relationship of needle angular position to N1 can be used to compensate for the nonlinear relationship between N1 and thrust to provide improved functionality of the N1 gauge as a thrust gauge in the region 0 rpm to N1Max. In accordance with the particular scaling function depicted in FIG. 4: (1) the sensitivity of the improved N1 gauge at 0 RPM would be half of the sensitivity of an unimproved N1 gauge at 0 RPM; (2) the sensitivity of the improved N1 gauge at a fan speed of N1Max would be twice the sensitivity of an unimproved N1 gauge at a fan speed of N1Max; (3) the sensitivity of the improved N1 gauge at a fan speed of 0.577N1Max would be equal to the sensitivity of an unimproved N1 gauge at a fan speed of 0.577N1Max; and (4) the sensitivity of the improved N1 gauge at fan speeds above N1Max would be the same as the sensitivity of an unimproved N1 gauge at fan speeds above N1Max.

    [0031] FIG. 4A is a diagram representing an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating the current measured fan speed N1 relative to a dial is determined using the scaling function depicted in FIG. 4. This N1 display also includes a radial line 4a indicating the N1 design limit N1Redline and a tic mark 7 indicating the maximum rated fan speed N1Max. The chevron 6 indicating N1targ is shown aligned with the tic mark 7 indicating N1Max. The symbology shown in FIG. 4A further comprises a numeric value (for example, 94.0) for the current measured fan speed N1 of the engine, displayed in a display field 10; and a numeric value (for example, 95.9) for the target fan speed N1targ for the same engine, displayed directly above the display field 10.

    [0032] In the N1 display shown in FIG. 4A, the angle between the needle 8 (indicating the current fan speed N1) and the chevron 6 (indicating the target fan speed N1targ) indicates a thrust shortfall. This thrust shortfall is readily discernible when an observer views the dial 2 due to the relatively large angle between chevron 6 and needle 8 as compared to the angle between chevron 6 and needle 8 seen in FIG. 3A.

    [0033] It should be appreciated that N1 gauges proposed herein may have scaling functions other than the specific scaling function depicted in FIG. 4. For example, the scaling function can be any one of a multiplicity of different polynomial functions. The display processor may be configured to convert incoming N1 measurements into corresponding angular positions of the needle on an N1 gauge by computing a function or by reading a look-up table storing pre-computed angular positions.

    [0034] The variable display scaling disclosed herein can be configured differently based on the preferences or requests of different customers who may have specific operational needs. Therefore the method for displaying the fan speed N1 for use as a thrust gauge is much more useful to the manufacturer, as it can easily be reconfigured, and is much more useful to the airline, as it can address specific operational needs.

    [0035] The maximum rated fan speed N1Max will vary as a function of the thrust rating for a particular engine. The effect of changing N1Max on the nonlinear scaling function scaling is that the intersection point with a linear function at N1Max will move. In accordance with the particular scaling function shown in FIG. 5, for any N1Max, the sensitivity at 0 RPM is always half the linear slope, and the sensitivity rises to twice the linear slope at N1Max, and then is linear up to N1Redline. This is shown in FIG. 5 for various N1Max values.

    [0036] FIG. 5 is a graph of respective curves correlating the angular position of a needle 8 on the N1 display versus the current value of the fan speed N1 for maximum fan speeds (N1max) equal to 60%, 80% and 100%.

    [0037] FIG. 5A shows an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle 8 indicating the current fan speed N1 relative to a dial 2 is determined using a scaling function (indicated by a solid curve in FIG. 5) corresponding to a maximum fan speed N1Max equal to 100%.

    [0038] FIG. 5B shows an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle 8 indicating the current fan speed N1 relative to a dial 2 is determined using a scaling function (indicated by a dashed curve in FIG. 5) corresponding to a maximum fan speed N1Max equal to 80%.

    [0039] FIG. 5C shows an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle 8 indicating the current fan speed N1 relative to a dial 2 is determined using a scaling function (indicated by a bold curve in FIG. 5) corresponding to a maximum fan speed N1Max equal to 60%.

    [0040] The N1 gauge proposed herein is configurable for multiple N1Max values because N1Max will vary as a function of altitude, temperature, and rating. The goal of increasing resolution of the N1 gauge near N1Max is still retained regardless of the actual value of N1Max.

    [0041] The effect of using a nonlinear scaling function as disclosed above is to increase display resolution in the upper region of the operating range during takeoff (i.e., the range from N1Idle to N1Max). This effect can be visualized by comparing FIG. 7 to FIG. 6.

    [0042] FIG. 6 shows an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle 8 indicating the current fan speed N1 during takeoff relative to a dial 2 is determined using a linear scaling function. In this example, the target fan speed N1Targ is 95.9% while the current fan speed N1 is 93.9%, meaning that the intended thrust (and the intended fan speed that is being used as a surrogate for thrust) has been set too low by pilot command or by a computer. In this example, the fan speed N1 has been set 2% short of the intended value N1Targ. This 2% short set is indicated by the small angle (i.e., a few degrees) between the chevron 6 and needle 8 in FIG. 6. This small angle can be difficult for the pilot to discern.

    [0043] In contrast, FIG. 7 shows an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle 8 indicating the current fan speed N1 during takeoff relative to a dial 2 is determined using a nonlinear scaling function. The target fan speed N1Targ and the current fan speed N1 are the same as in FIG. 6. However, because the scaling function is nonlinear, this 2% short set is indicated by a larger angle between the chevron 6 and needle 8 in FIG. 7. This larger angle is easier for the pilot to discern.

    [0044] In addition, as previously mentioned, some gauge (i.e., needle) travel must be allocated to the span from 0 rpm to the idle fan speed N1Idle. The use of a nonlinear scaling function as disclosed herein has the beneficial effect of reducing the amount of dial space allocated to the region below the idle fan speed N1Idle. This effect can be visualized by comparing FIG. 9 to FIG. 8.

    [0045] FIG. 8 shows an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of the needle 8 indicating a current fan speed N1 equal to the idle fan speed N1Idle relative to the dial 2 is determined using a linear scaling function while the aircraft is flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet. In this example, the target fan speed N1targ (and N1max incidentally) is 96.5 while the idle fan speed N1Idle is 34.0, meaning that about 35% of the portion of the dial 2 from 0 rpm to N1Targ is occupied by the region below N1Idle.

    [0046] In contrast, FIG. 9 shows an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of the needle 8 indicating a current fan speed N1 equal to the idle fan speed N1Idle relative to the dial 2 is determined using a nonlinear scaling function while the aircraft is flying at the same altitude of 25,000 feet. In this case, the portion of the dial 2 from 0 rpm to N1Targ which is occupied by the region below N1Idle is much less than 35%, i.e., the below idle region consumes less dial space.

    [0047] A further feature of the systems and methods for displaying N1 fan speed disclosed herein is a visual indication to provide pilots the ability to discern if the current thrust is within a specified tolerance of the desired value within the takeoff region (for example, during a rolling takeoff). This additional indication is based on color changes associated with the N1 display.

    [0048] On some aircraft, the analog indication of N1 is used by the pilots to make the thrust set call (a.k.a. power check callout) at or before 80 knots to ensure that all engines have reached the rating limit. The takeoff may be aborted if the takeoff thrust setting is lower than the desired takeoff thrust setting by more than a specified tolerance. In cases where the N1 gauge is being used as a thrust gauge, the takeoff will not be aborted if the current fan speed N1 is less than the maximum fan speed N1Max by less than a specified percentage (e.g., 0.5% or 1%). Poor analog dial resolution combined with the environmental conditions (e.g., vibration of the aircraft at 80 knots) can make the power check callout difficult to accomplish.

    [0049] It would be beneficial during takeoff to provide the pilot with a discrete cue that the thrust has been set to a takeoff thrust value that is within a specified tolerance of the desired takeoff thrust value. This should be in addition to the existing analog display and only an additional source of information. It should be consistent with the thrust setting parameter display.

    [0050] FIGS. 10A and 10B are diagrams representing an N1 fan speed display in which a symbol changes color (for example, from white to green) when the current fan speed N1 changes from being less than a target fan speed N1Targ by more than a specified percentage to being less than N1Targ by less than the specified percentage. In the example depicted in FIGS. 10A and 10B, the allowable error is 0.5% N1Targ.

    [0051] More specifically, FIG. 10A shows an N1 fan speed display in which the angular position of a needle indicating the current fan speed N1 relative to a dial is determined using a nonlinear scaling function in a situation wherein the current fan speed N1 is less than a target fan speed N1Targ (indicate by chevron 6) by more than the allowable error 0.5%. This N1 display also includes a radial line 4 indicating the design limit N1Redline. The symbology shown in FIG. 10A further comprises: a numeric value 95.4 for the current fan speed N1 of the engine, displayed in a display field 10 having a first color; and a numeric value (for example, 95.9) for the target fan speed N1targ for the same engine, displayed directly above the display field 10.

    [0052] In contrast, FIG. 10B shows the same N1 fan speed display in a situation wherein the current N1 is less than N1targ within the allowable error 0.5%. In response to a change in fan speed N1 from less than 95.5% N1targ to greater than or equal to 95.5% N1targ, the color of the display field 10 has changed from the first color (e.g., white) to a second color (e.g., green) different than the first color. The different colors are represented by slightly different shading of the display field 10 in FIGS. 10A and 10B. This change in color indicates to the pilot that the actual thrust is within a defined error of the desired takeoff thrust, i.e., that the proper takeoff thrust level has been properly set.

    [0053] While apparatus and methods have been described with reference to various embodiments, it will be understood that the invention has to be limited only by the appended claims.

    [0054] Many embodiments of the system described above may take the form of computer-executable instructions, such as routines executed by a programmable computer. Those skilled in the relevant art will appreciate that the N1 display scheme disclosed herein can be practiced on other computer system configurations as well. The computer system can be embodied in a special-purpose computer or data processor that is specifically programmed, configured or constructed to perform one or more of the computer-executable instructions described herein. Accordingly, the term "computer" as generally used herein includes any processor and can include Internet appliances, hand-held devices (including palm-top computers, wearable computers, cellular or mobile phones, multiprocessor systems, processor-based or programmable consumer electronics, minicomputers and the like).

    [0055] The N1 display scheme disclosed herein can also be practiced in distributed computing environments, where tasks or modules are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network. In a distributed computing environment, program modules or subroutines may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices. Aspects of the system described above may be stored or distributed on computer-readable media, including magnetic or optically readable computer disks (e.g., removable disks), as well as distributed electronically over networks. Data structures and transmissions of data particular to aspects of the disclosed system are also encompassed within the scope of the claims appended hereto. Furthermore, the N1 gauges disclosed herein can be presented on displays or display media, for example, CRT screens, LCD screens or other suitable devices.

    [0056] The process claims set forth hereinafter should not be construed to require that the steps recited therein be performed in alphabetical order (any alphabetical ordering in the claims is used solely for the purpose of referencing previously recited steps) or in the order in which they are recited. Nor should they be construed to exclude any portions of two or more steps being performed concurrently or alternatingly.


    Claims

    1. A computer-implemented method for displaying aircraft engine information, the method comprising:

    acquiring a value of an engine control parameter during operation of an aircraft engine, wherein the engine control parameter has a nonlinear relationship with thrust and wherein the engine control parameter is a fan speed 'N1';

    displaying a scale on a display unit (20);

    displaying first symbology (8) having a position relative to the scale using a nonlinear scaling function in the region from a zero fan speed to a maximum rated fan speed 'N1Max', whereby sensitivity is reduced at the zero fan speed and sensitivity is increased at the maximum rated fan speed, the first symbology representing the acquired value of the fan speed; and

    displaying second symbology (6) representing a target fan speed 'N1Targ'.


     
    2. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the nonlinear scaling function is a polynomial function.
     
    3. The method as recited in any of claims 1-2, comprising retrieving the position of the first symbology (8) relative to the scale from a lookup table that comprises fan speed 'N1' values and corresponding symbology positions of the first symbology relative to the scale.
     
    4. The method as recited in any of claims 1-3, wherein the scale is a circular arc and the first symbology (8) is a radial line originating at a center of and intersecting the circular arc at an angular position.
     
    5. The method as recited in claim 4, comprising retrieving the angular position of the radial line relative to the circular arc from a lookup table that comprises fan speed 'N1' values and corresponding angular positions relative to the circular arc.
     
    6. The method as recited in any of claims 1-5, comprising displaying a discrete cue that thrust has been set to a takeoff thrust value that is within a specified tolerance of a desired takeoff thrust value.
     
    7. The method as recited in claim 6, comprising displaying third symbology (10) on the display unit (20), wherein said displaying a discrete cue comprises changing a color of the third symbology, wherein the third symbology comprises a rectangle, the method comprising displaying a numeric value inside said rectangle, said numeric value being a magnitude of the fan speed 'N1'.
     
    8. A system for indicating aircraft engine information onboard an aircraft, the system comprising: a display unit (20) that can be controlled electronically to generate symbology and colors; and a display control processor configured to control said display unit to generate indicators indicating the current fan speed 'N1' of an operating aircraft engine, wherein said display control processor is configured to perform the following operations:

    acquiring a value of an engine control parameter during operation of an aircraft engine, wherein the engine control parameter has a nonlinear relationship with thrust and wherein the engine control parameter is a fan speed 'N1';

    controlling said display unit to display a scale;

    controlling said display unit to display first symbology (8) having a position relative to the scale using a nonlinear scaling function in the region from a zero fan speed to a maximum rated fan speed 'N1Max', whereby sensitivity is reduced at the zero fan speed and sensitivity is increased at the maximum rated fan speed, the first symbology representing the acquired value of the fan speed; and

    controlling said display unit to display second symbology representing a target fan speed 'N1Targ'.


     
    9. The system as recited in claim 8, wherein the nonlinear scaling function is a polynomial function.
     
    10. The system as recited in any of claims 8-9, comprising computer memory (18) having a look-up table stored therein, wherein said lookup table comprises fan speed 'N1' values and corresponding symbology positions of the first symbology (8) relative to the scale, and said display control processor is configured to retrieve the position of the first symbology relative to the scale from said lookup table.
     
    11. The system as recited in any of claims 8-9, wherein the scale is a circular arc and the first symbology (8) is a radial line originating at a center of and intersecting the circular arc at an angular position.
     
    12. The system as recited in claim 11, comprising computer memory (18) having a look-up table stored therein, wherein said lookup table comprises fan speed 'N1' values and corresponding symbology positions of said radial line relative to the scale, and said display control processor is configured to retrieve the angular position of the radial line relative to the circular arc from a lookup table.
     
    13. The system as recited in any of claims 8-12, wherein said display control processor is configured to control said display unit (20) to display a discrete cue that thrust has been set to a takeoff thrust value that is within a specified tolerance of a desired takeoff thrust value, wherein said display control processor is configured to control said display unit to display third symbology (10), and wherein said displaying a discrete cue comprises changing a color of the third symbology.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Computerimplementiertes Verfahren zum Anzeigen von Flugzeugtriebwerks-Informationen, wobei das Verfahren Folgendes aufweist:

    Erfassen eines Wertes eines Triebwerkssteuerparameters während des Betriebs eines Flugzeugtriebwerks, wobei der Triebwerkssteuerparameter eine nichtlineare Beziehung für den Schub aufweist und wobei der Triebwerkssteuerparameter eine Fandrehzahl "N1" ist;

    Anzeigen einer Skala auf einer Anzeigeeinheit (20);

    Anzeigen einer ersten Symbolik (8) mit einer Position bezüglich der Skala unter Verwendung einer nichtlinearen Skalierungsfunktion in dem Bereich von einer Fandrehzahl von null bis zu einer maximalen Nennfandrehzahl "N1Max", wobei die Empfindlichkeit bei der Fandrehzahl bei null reduziert und die Empfindlichkeit bei der maximalen Nennfandrehzahl erhöht ist, wobei die erste Symbolik den erfassten Wert der Fandrehzahl darstellt; und

    Anzeigen der zweiten Symbolik (6), die eine Soll-Fandrehzahl "N1Soll" darstellt.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die nichtlineare Skalierungsfunktion eine polynominale Funktion ist.
     
    3. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 2, welches das Abrufen der Position der ersten Symbolik (8) bezüglich der Skala aus einer Nachschlagetabelle aufweist, welche die Fandrehzahl-"N1"-Werte und entsprechende Position der Symbolik der ersten Symbolik bezüglich der Skala aufweist.
     
    4. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei die Skala ein Kreisbogen ist und die erste Symbolik (8) eine radiale Linie ist, die von einer Mitte des Kreisbogens ausgeht und diesen in einer Winkelposition schneidet.
     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 4, welches das Abrufen der Winkelposition der radialen Linie bezüglich des Kreisbogens aus einer Nachschlagetabelle aufweist, welche die Fandrehzahl-"N1"-Werte und entsprechende Winkelpositionen bezüglich des Kreisbogens aufweist.
     
    6. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, welches das Anzeigen eines eigenständigen visuellen Hinweises aufweist, dass der Schub auf einen Startschubwert eingestellt wurde, der innerhalb einer vorgegebenen Toleranz eines gewünschten Startschubwertes liegt.
     
    7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, welches das Anzeigen einer dritten Symbolik (10) auf der Anzeigeeinheit (20) aufweist, wobei das Anzeigen eines eigenständigen visuellen Hinweises das Ändern einer Farbe der dritten Symbolik aufweist, wobei die dritte Symbolik ein Rechteck aufweist, wobei das Verfahren das Anzeigen eines numerischen Wertes innerhalb des Rechtecks aufweist, wobei der numerische Wert eine Größe der Fandrehzahl "N1" ist.
     
    8. System zum Anzeigen von Flugzeugtriebwerks-Informationen an Bord eines Flugzeugs, wobei das System Folgendes aufweist: eine Anzeigeeinheit (20), die elektronisch gesteuert werden kann, um Symbolik und Farben zu erzeugen; und einen Anzeigesteuerprozessor, der konfiguriert ist, um die Anzeigeeinheit zu steuern, um Indikatoren zu erzeugen, welche die aktuelle Fandrehzahl "N1" eines laufenden Flugzeugtriebwerks anzeigen, wobei der Anzeigesteuerprozessor zum Durchführen der folgenden Operationen konfiguriert ist:

    Erfassen eines Wertes eines Triebwerkssteuerparameters während des Betriebs eines Flugzeugtriebwerks, wobei der Triebwerkssteuerparameter eine nichtlineare Beziehung für den Schub aufweist und wobei der Triebwerkssteuerparameter eine Fandrehzahl "N1" ist;

    Steuern der Anzeigeeinheit, um eine Skala anzuzeigen;

    Steuern der Anzeigeeinheit zum Anzeigen einer ersten Symbolik (8) mit einer Position bezüglich der Skala unter Verwendung einer nichtlinearen Skalierungsfunktion in dem Bereich von einer Fandrehzahl von null bis zu einer maximalen Nennfandrehzahl "N1Max", wobei die Empfindlichkeit bei der Fandrehzahl bei null reduziert und die Empfindlichkeit bei der maximalen Nennfandrehzahl erhöht ist, wobei die erste Symbolik den erfassten Wert der Fandrehzahl darstellt; und

    Steuern der Anzeigeeinheit zum Anzeigen einer zweiten Symbolik, die eine Soll-Fandrehzahl "N1Ziel" darstellt.


     
    9. System nach Anspruch 8, wobei die nichtlineare Skalierungsfunktion eine polynominale Funktion ist.
     
    10. System nach einem der Ansprüche 8 bis 9, welches einen Computerspeicher (18) mit einer darin gespeicherten Nachschlagetabelle aufweist, wobei die Nachschlagetabelle Fandrehzahl-"N1"-Werte und entsprechende Positionen der Symbolik der ersten Symbolik (8) bezüglich der Skala aufweist und wobei der Anzeigesteuerprozessor zum Abrufen der Position der ersten Symbolik bezüglich der Skala aus der Nachschlagetabelle konfiguriert ist.
     
    11. System nach einem der Ansprüche 8 bis 9, wobei die Skala ein Kreisbogen ist und die erste Symbolik (8) eine radiale Linie ist, die von einer Mitte des Kreisbogens ausgeht und diesen in einer Winkelposition schneidet.
     
    12. System nach Anspruch 11, welches einen Computerspeicher (18) mit einer darin gespeicherten Nachschlagetabelle aufweist, wobei die Nachschlagetabelle Fandrehzahl-"N1"-Werte und entsprechende Positionen der Symbolik der radialen Linie bezüglich der Skala aufweist und wobei der Anzeigesteuerprozessor zum Abrufen der Winkelposition der radialen Linie bezüglich des Kreisbogens aus einer Nachschlagetabelle konfiguriert ist.
     
    13. System nach einem der Ansprüche 8 bis 12, wobei der Anzeigesteuerprozessor zum Steuern der Anzeigeeinheit (20) konfiguriert ist, um einen eigenständigen visuellen Hinweis anzuzeigen, dass der Schub auf einen Startschubwert eingestellt wurde, der innerhalb einer vorgegebenen Toleranz eines gewünschten Startschubwertes liegt, wobei der Anzeigesteuerprozessor zum Steuern der Anzeigeeinheit konfiguriert ist, um eine dritte Symbolik (10) anzuzeigen, und wobei das Anzeigen eines eigenständigen visuellen Hinweises das Ändern einer Farbe der dritten Symbolik aufweist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé implémenté sur ordinateur pour l'affichage d'informations de moteur d'aéronef, le procédé comprenant :

    l'acquisition d'une valeur d'un paramètre de commande de moteur pendant le fonctionnement d'un moteur d'aéronef, dans lequel le paramètre de commande de moteur présente un rapport non linéaire avec une poussée et dans lequel le paramètre de commande de moteur est une vitesse de ventilateur 'N1' ;

    l'affichage d'une échelle sur une unité d'affichage (20) ;

    l'affichage de la première symbologie (8) présentant une position par rapport à l'échelle en utilisant une fonction de graduation non linéaire dans la région d'une vitesse de ventilateur zéro à une vitesse de ventilateur nominale maximum 'N1Max', moyennant quoi la sensibilité est réduite à la vitesse de ventilateur zéro et la sensibilité est augmentée à la vitesse de ventilateur nominale maximum, la première symbologie représentant la valeur acquise de la vitesse de ventilateur ; et

    l'affichage de la deuxième symbologie (6) représentant une vitesse de ventilateur cible 'N1Targ'.


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la fonction de graduation non linéaire est une fonction polynomiale.
     
    3. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 2, comprenant la récupération de la position de la première symbologie (8) par rapport à l'échelle depuis une table de consultation qui comprend des valeurs de vitesse de ventilateur 'N1' et des positions de symbologie correspondantes de la première symbologie par rapport à l'échelle.
     
    4. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel l'échelle est un arc circulaire et la première symbologie (8) est une ligne radiale provenant au niveau d'un centre de et croisant l'arc circulaire dans une position angulaire.
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 4, comprenant la récupération de la position angulaire de la ligne radiale par rapport à l'arc circulaire depuis une table de consultation qui comprend des valeurs de vitesse de ventilateur 'N1' et des positions angulaires correspondantes par rapport à l'arc circulaire.
     
    6. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, comprenant l'affichage d'un signal discret selon lequel la poussée a été réglée à une valeur de poussée de décollage qui se situe dans une tolérance spécifiée d'une valeur de poussée de décollage souhaitée.
     
    7. Procédé selon la revendication 6, comprenant l'affichage d'une troisième symbologie (10) sur l'unité d'affichage (20), dans lequel ledit affichage d'un signal discret comprend le changement d'une couleur de la troisième symbologie, dans lequel la troisième symbologie comprend un rectangle, le procédé comprenant l'affichage d'une valeur numérique à l'intérieur dudit rectangle, ladite valeur numérique étant une magnitude de la vitesse de ventilateur 'N1'.
     
    8. Système pour l'indication des informations de moteur d'aéronef à bord d'un aéronef, le système comprenant : une unité d'affichage (20) qui peut être commandée électroniquement pour générer la symbologie et des couleurs ; et un processeur de commande d'affichage configuré pour commander ladite unité d'affichage pour qu'elle génère des indicateurs indiquant la vitesse de ventilateur actuelle 'N1' d'un moteur d'aéronef opérationnel, dans lequel ledit processeur de commande d'affichage est configuré pour réaliser les opérations suivantes :

    l'acquisition d'une valeur d'un paramètre de commande de moteur pendant le fonctionnement d'un moteur d'aéronef, dans lequel le paramètre de commande de moteur présente un rapport non linéaire avec une poussée et dans lequel le paramètre de commande de moteur est une vitesse de ventilateur 'N1';

    la commande de ladite unité d'affichage pour qu'elle affiche une échelle ;

    la commande de ladite unité d'affichage pour qu'elle affiche la première symbologie (8) présentant une position par rapport à l'échelle en utilisant une fonction de graduation non linéaire dans la région d'une vitesse de ventilateur zéro à une vitesse de ventilateur nominale maximum 'N1Max', moyennant quoi la sensibilité est réduite à la vitesse de ventilateur zéro et la sensibilité est augmentée à la vitesse de ventilateur nominale maximum, la première symbologie représentant la valeur acquise de la vitesse de ventilateur ; et

    la commande de ladite unité d'affichage pour qu'elle affiche la deuxième symbologie représentant une vitesse de ventilateur cible 'N1Targ'.


     
    9. Système selon la revendication 8, dans lequel la fonction de graduation non linéaire est une fonction polynomiale.
     
    10. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 8 à 9, comprenant une mémoire informatique (18) présentant une table de consultation enregistrée dans celle-ci, dans lequel ladite table de consultation comprend des valeurs de vitesse de ventilateur 'N1' et des positions de symbologie correspondantes de la première symbologie (8) par rapport à l'échelle, et ledit processeur de commande d'affichage est configuré pour récupérer la position de la première symbologie par rapport à l'échelle depuis ladite table de consultation.
     
    11. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 8 à 9, dans lequel l'échelle est un arc circulaire et la première symbologie (8) est une ligne radiale provenant au niveau d'un centre de et croisant l'arc circulaire dans une position angulaire.
     
    12. Système selon la revendication 11, comprenant une mémoire informatique (18) présentant une table de consultation enregistrée dans celle-ci, dans lequel ladite table de consultation comprend des valeurs de vitesse de ventilateur 'N1' et des positions de symbologie correspondantes de ladite ligne radiale par rapport à l'échelle, et ledit processeur de commande d'affichage est configuré pour récupérer la position angulaire de la ligne radiale par rapport à l'arc circulaire depuis une table de consultation.
     
    13. Système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 8 à 12, dans lequel ledit processeur de commande d'affichage est configuré pour commander ladite unité d'affichage (20) pour qu'elle affiche un signal discret selon lequel la poussée a été réglée à une valeur de poussée de décollage qui se situe dans une tolérance spécifiée d'une valeur de poussée de décollage souhaitée, dans lequel ledit processeur de commande d'affichage est configuré pour commander ladite unité d'affichage pour qu'elle affiche la troisième symbologie (10), et dans lequel ledit affichage d'un signal discret comprend le changement d'une couleur de la troisième symbologie.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description