Technology to lower risk of midair collisions
Here is a new technology that has successfully lowered the risk of midair collisions in small aircraft.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have made certain modifications to "cockpit displays of traffic information" (CDTIs).
CDTIs are GPS displays used by private pilots to track other aircraft in their vicinity.
Researchers modified the CDTI so that the plane that would cross a pilot's path first either began blinking or was coloured yellow.
"Our goal was to modify a CDTI to help pilots recognise which other planes pose the greatest risk. And it worked," said lead author Carl Pankok, a PhD student at NC State.
The modified tools significantly improved pilot response time in making decisions to avert crashes.
Pilots often focus on the closest aircraft on the display - a habit that can pose a significant hazard.
If the pilot of Plane A sees two planes on the CDTI, he is more likely to focus on the closest aircraft (Plane B).
But if the more distant plane (Plane C) is moving at high speed, it could cross his path before Plane B does.
Not paying enough attention to Plane C increases risk of a midair collision.
The researchers tested the modified CDTI in a flight simulator with a panel of licensed recreational pilots.
The research team compared the pilots' response times and decision-making accuracy when using the modified and unmodified displays.
Their percentage of 'correct' decisions jumped from 88 percent to 96 percent.
The study was published in the journal Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine.
(Posted on 20-05-2014)