Pilots know that the primary job of EGPWS is to keep them from running into the ground, but they might not be aware that it can also warn them if they are about to land on the wrong runway, take off from a taxiway or cross an active runway, among a host of other incursion-preventing functions.
The Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS), a $17,389 software upgrade to EGPWS, was recently awarded FAA certification, according to manufacturer Honeywell, clearing the way for STC approvals in a number of airplanes. The enhancement, said Honeywell, provides 10 specific aural alerts to pilots, each designed to prevent runway and taxiway incursions.
By comparing aircraft position with an internal EGPWS airport database, RAAS warns pilots when: the airplane is approaching a runway, either in the air or on the ground; it has lined up on a runway for takeoff or taxi; the available runway is too short for a safe takeoff or landing; the pilot is inadvertently beginning a takeoff from a taxiway; or the airplane has been sitting on a runway for an extended time. RAAS also calls out runway distance remaining during rejected takeoffs or when landing long.
Interest in the upgrade among business jet operators is running high, according to avionics shop managers. Cessna announced RAAS will be an option on most EGPWS-equipped Citations. Although the upgrade involves only a modification of the EGPWS software, it still requires an STC, Honeywell said.
The initial RAAS certification was performed by Duncan Aviation in Battle Creek, Mich., in a Gulfstream IV. Honeywell announced AT&T Wireless will be the first corporate operator to upgrade its entire fleet with RAAS.
“Honeywell asked us to participate in the research on RAAS, and after we did so, we couldn’t wait to get the systems into our company aircraft,” said Jeff Frank, AT&T Wireless chief pilot. “This is definitely a system that will improve safety of operations on the ground.”