More on Honeywell’s EGPWS Front

 - June 30, 2009, 10:41 AM

Honeywell is offering a new product called “long landing”–an EGPWS software solution, in addition to its new SmartLanding. “Long landings” can result from both stable and unstabilized approaches, according to Michael Grove, Honeywell marketing director for safety and information management surveillance systems. The system calls out a “long landing” if the aircraft hasn’t touched down within the first 2,000 feet of runway or in the first 25 percent of available landing distance.  

Honeywell senior test pilot Mike Dubbury demonstrated each of SmartLanding’s attributes to AIN during a recent flight in a company King Air from Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo. Dubbury first left the flaps up during approach, generating a “flaps, flaps” warning. Then he set the altimeter too high by half an inch of mercury, which meant we were 500 feet low during the approach. SmartLanding was set to deliver the “altimeter setting” warning at either 5,000 feet above field elevation or 20 nm from the airport. The King Air also has the SmartRunway system installed and it made the standard call noting that we were “approaching 35R” (the planned landing runway at Centennial).

We came in too fast for SmartLanding during the second approach and got the “unstable, unstable” warning, then SmartRunway told us that we should go around because (deliberately, for the demonstration) we were about to land on the taxiway instead of the runway. This is a new SmartRunway feature.

On the third approach, even with flaps set correctly we were too fast and too high, which spurred SmartLanding to warn “too high, too high” and “too fast, too fast,” then “unstable, unstable” as we proceeded below 500 feet. Finally, we got the “long-landing” warning as Dubbury flew past 7,500 feet remaining on the 10,000-foot runway. We touched down beyond 4,000 feet. SmartRunway continued to call out the runway remaining as we taxied toward the end of the runway until we heard the system say “100 feet remaining.”

Dubbury next showed how SmartRunway thought we were taking off on the taxiway as he sped up to more than 40 knots, simulating a rushed pilot mistakenly trying to take off in, say, foggy or dark conditions and not noticing that the airplane wasn’t on the runway. The SmartRunway callout was “caution, on taxiway.”

Another new EGPWS feature under development at Honeywell is called assisted recovery, which links the EGPWS to flight controls to “momentarily take control and perform an evasive maneuver if pilots do not respond promptly to safety-system alerts,” according to the company. The idea is to help keep pilots out of trouble if they don’t respond correctly to an EGPWS warning and before it’s too late. This could prevent accidents where pilots spend valuable time discussing an alert instead of making sure the aircraft is not about to fly into a mountain.

As Honeywell adds safety products to the EGPWS platform, customers are able to select which features fit their operation best. “You can pick these à la carte,” Grove said, either combining SmartRunway, SmartLanding, altimeter monitoring and long-landing features or selecting one feature and adding others later.