Honeywell, Sensis Develop Runway Alerts for Pilots

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It's fine for air traffic controllers to get conflict alerts when airplanes converge on the airport surface, but wouldn't it be better if that information was directly available to pilots? The cockpit technology to make that work is now available, Honeywell International and Sensis Corporation said this week. The two companies have created a cockpit advisory system that sends potential ground, arrival or departure conflicts directly to pilots as an audible alert. The system uses a Mode-S data link and an existing TCAS unit in the aircraft, and requires only software modifications to start working, the companies said. The audible alert is transmitted simultaneously to the cockpits in the affected aircraft and to air traffic controllers. Currently, surveillance equipment notifies air traffic controllers of potential incursions and then controllers must relay the information to pilots, slowing down response time.

"The cockpit advisory will ensure that pilots are aware of possible conflicts with the safe operation of their aircraft in the airport vicinity much quicker than current procedures and technology allows," said Rick Berckefeldt, Honeywell product marketing manager for safety and surveillance systems. "Only the pilots that may be involved in a potential conflict receive the audible cockpit warning, and advisories are only provided if a potential conflict is detected. With the audible alerts, no heads-down time is required for the pilots during critical approach, taxi and departure phases, helping to ensure a safe flight." The system was demonstrated this week at the FAA Interim Contractor Depot Level Support facility at Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York.