July 21, 2015 – NASA researchers chose pilots at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 to evaluate improved ground collision avoidance technology that could soon find its way to a smartphone app or commercial glass cockpit systems.
The technology, recently integrated in the F-16 fighter jets and other military aircraft, is being adapted by engineers at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, for use in general aviation. Currently in a beta test version as a smartphone app, the improved Ground Collision Avoidance System (iGCAS) provides audible and visual warnings and guidance to pilots as they approach ground collision conditions.
Controlled flight into terrain remains a leading cause of fatalities in aviation, resulting in roughly 100 deaths each year in the United States alone. Although warning systems have virtually eliminated this problem for large commercial air carriers, the problem still remains for general aviation.
Pilots taking part in this study are asked to provide some general background information about their flight experience and the type of terrain and flight conditions they typically fly in. They are then provided with instructions on how the smartphone app works and are given an opportunity to become familiar with the flight simulator. Approximately 30 pilots will fly the simulator as part of the study during AirVenture 2015.
“Pilots in the study are presented with up to 14 simulation scenarios, and they must react to the warnings and instructions to avoid ground impact,” said Mark Skoog, NASA project manager for iGCAS.
The primary objective of these tests is to refine the audible and visual cues provided by the smartphone app. “With a few potential refinements based on these field simulation tests, we believe this technology is ready for licensing and adoption by industry,” Skoog added.
For additional background on iGCAS, stop by the NASA Booth 33 in Aviation Gateway Park at EAA AirVenture 2015 or visit www.nasa.gov.