Two high profile events of late - A Delta 767 landing on a taxiway in Atlanta and a near-miss between a Boeing 757 and Embraer E190 at LAX - highlight the need for new in-cockpit runway safety systems for aviation, a call that avionics manufacturers are heeding.
Rockwell Collins continues to perfect its first-generation surface management system in its labs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Honeywell meanwhile has its first generation aural alerting system already on the market and is working on its second gen. More on that at a later date.
Phase one of Rockwell Collins system, an airport awareness and alerting function, is set to go live in 2011 in Bombardier's Global Vision update for the Global Express line and on Gulfstream's new mid-cabin G250 business jet.
Kirschen Seah, principle systems engineer for advanced concepts, commercial systems for Rockwell Collins described various aspects of the system to journalists at the company's advanced development labs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on 25 September 2009.
Along with five aural alerts -- three for departure (wrong runway, not a runway, runway too short) and two for landing (not a runway, runway too short), the software highlights in cyan the runway selected by pilots in the FMS and displays intuitive runway numbers and arrows that indicate take-off direction on the airport map on the multifunction display.
The aim of the package is simple - to increase situational awareness to the point where a pilot will not taxi where he or she should be and that the selected runway for takeoff or landing is the correct one.
Phase two of the package, slated for entry into service at a later time, will include the ability to highlight a taxi route on the display and phase three will include other airport traffic through ADS-B surveillance.