Landing Aid Bounces Signals From Terrain
A Hood River, Ore., company has received $7 million in government funds to study the effectiveness of an innovative system designed to allow for precision approaches to airports where terrain or other constraints prevent the use of conventional navaids. Advanced Navigation and Positioning Corp. (ANPC) says the Transponder Landing System actually uses the rough terrain as part of a system that tracks an aircraft's position in the airport's terminal area and sends course-correction instructions to the cockpit. "By measuring and accounting for the radio signal reflections off of surrounding obstacles and terrain, the system is able to ensure guidance accuracy in areas erstwhile unable to support a precision approach," said Pete Kinkhead, the company's marketing director. There are 21 sites identified for evaluating the system, 12 of them in Alaska. But while Alaska's rural airport challenges are well-known, Kinkhead said the applications in the Lower 48 are equally significant. "Increasing demands on the nation's airspace capacity necessitate the availability of point-to-point service beyond the major hubs and all-weather accessibility to many underutilized airports," he said.