Small to medium-sized aircraft are not usually equipped with the latest expensive aviation technology. In parallel, small to medium-sized airports are also not always equipped with the latest airport landing-guidance technology, such as ILS. The small to medium-sized aircraft business is expanding rapidly, so there is an emerging need to develop low-cost and effective technologies that are inexpensive whist providing additional added assistance to pilots, such as landing during difficult weather. Such a pilot product will be produced by LANDING.
LANDING intended to deliver a low-cost software product (SW) assisting pilots of small-medium aircrafts to safely land on a small and poorly equipped fields, under bad-weather and low-visibility conditions. Thus, LANDING sought to offer an integral SW at a pre-industrial level as an 'add-on' for safety, which is loaded on 'portable' aircraft h/w navigation technologies.
LANDING should enable a pilot to use additional guidance during the three phases of the landing process:
- the 'approaching' phase in the far field or wide area of the landing field;
- the 'tunnelling' phase
- the 'runway' phase.
LANDING integrates seven s/w and data components:
- the geo-referenced position of the aircraft with the use of satellite and other data;
- the Stage-1 SW, based on input of digital information of the ambient space, available through commercial of-the-shelf (COTS) 3D digital maps, satellite data and elevation data;
- the Stage-2 SW, based on medium resolution input of the larger field vicinity;
- the Stage-3 SW, based on high resolution 3-D GIS data including all obstacles as input of the closer field vicinity;
- SW for the integration of the above components, providing the aircraft position within the digitally represented space;
- 3D-visualisation SW of the integrated flight guidance information on the hardware (HW); and
- the necessary approach 3D - databases and a high resolution digital airport database.
LANDING components run on COTS HW on-board:
- portable (this project) or panel mounted (possibility) computing equipment (e.g., pen-PC) with a fast rendering, and
- display for 3D visualisation. The SW is platform-independent.
The 3D terrain and other airport-, or field-, or terrain-data, are pre-installed on the HW. LANDING is cost affordable since it is addressed to small or business aircrafts, hydroplanes and helicopters, and delivers s/w development, applications, dissemination, and material for possible future certification.
LANDING delivered an industrial prototype (hardware, operating system, navigation software and 3D-airports database), that has been tested and validated, ready for additional improvements, so to become an industrial product to be manufactured and sold to the Industry.
After project closure, the EUREKA/Eurostars programme provided funding, to develop a pre-manufactured prototype. Information is available at the following websites www.3d-aerodromes.eu, www.3d-pilot.eu and www.aviontek.com.
LANDING is the first product that delivers 3D-pilot guidance via 'predictor' and 3D almost real vision technology for the general aviation aircraft industry.
LANDING set the grounds for add-on devices to be used by in the general aviation for safety, thus introducing policy issues on the need to supporting such emerging technologies that are not FFA approved.