Monday, October 06, 2008

Honeywell Technology Helps Pilots Maintain Stable Approach

airport approachHoneywell has announced a software upgrade to its Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS) that will alert pilots if their approach to an airport is not within a safe tolerance envelope of speed and glide path. Approaches outside this tolerance, usually too high or too fast, can result in hard landings, runway overruns, or other anomalies that damage the aircraft, cause passenger injury or even loss of life.

According to Honeywell, the system, designed to enhance flight crew situational awareness, is a software function that uses an aircraft's Global Positioning System (GPS) position, landing gear position, landing flaps position, aircraft speed, vertical speed, approach profile and Honeywell's runway database information to provide verbal announcements to the flight crew if the stable approach criteria are not met. Under normal landing conditions, no advisories would be heard.

"Runway excursions represent 96 percent of the total runway related accidents and have cost the industry millions of dollars over the last 10 years," said Bob Smith, Honeywell's Vice President of Advanced Technology. "This stabilized approach technology upgrade will be a quick and easy installation that will significantly lower the probability of runway excursions and is a cost-effective and near-term solution to a problem many in the industry see as one of the biggest remaining safety concerns: runway overruns and hard landings."

According to information provided by the company, Honeywell's stabilized approach technology capitalizes on the Honeywell worldwide terrain and runway database, which has proven itself for over 800 million flight hours, and will be available as a software upgrade in mid-2009. The system has been in simulator and flight testing and is expected to be certified by the FAA and EASA by the end of 2008.

Honeywell's RAAS was developed in 2004 as a software upgrade to the Honeywell worldwide terrain database. RAAS provides improved situational awareness to help break the chain of events that can lead to a runway incursion, by providing timely aural advisories to the flight crew during taxi, takeoff, final approach, landing and rollout on runways and taxiways. RAAS is installed on more than 1,600 business aviation and commercial transport aircraft.

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