Seaplane Pilots May Soon See The Light

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Because of the lack of visual references on the water, nighttime seaplane operations can be downright dangerous. Now, a company hopes to change all of that with the introduction of a laser-guided approach tool and surface marking technique. The Anchorage-based Greatland Laser is testing a laser-guidance system to be used on water landing areas used by seaplane operators. This system would provide a visual laser beam that would provide glideslope information, much like an ILS, and enhanced situational awareness over the otherwise relatively featureless water. Markings on the water surface would provide the pilots with depth perception and lateral reference during approach and departure. The company has already been awarded an FAA contract to the tune of $250,000 to validate the effectiveness of a high-visibility laser lighting system designed to enhance the visual recognition of important markings on the airport movement area. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport has been selected as the test site for the project.