Makers of cockpit-equipment, such as Rockwell Collins Inc. are creating technology that will combat a major issue that passengers have faced in the past, which are flights that were diverted or cancelled because of poor visibility.
With the use of computer-generated images and infrared-enhanced displays of their surroundings and runways, the manufacturers are attempting to eliminate flight cancellations and a lost in revenue for the carriers. With high-resolution and colorful displays of the runway and other surroundings, they are planning to keep airports open during bad weather. This new technology would allow U.S. airlines to land in mid-size or smaller fields with low-visibility, which is currently prohibited. At the same time, the technology would easily increase the capacity of airports and improve safety. The pilots would be able to obtain more detailed information about the terrain and any other potential obstacles.
The manufacturers said their goal is to completely eliminate dependency of seeing the actual runway. By doing this, an airplane could continue landing the plane with low-visibility and not being able to see the runway. Momentum for the new on-board landing system continues to grow, while the manufacturers are poised to receive regulatory approvals from each side of the Atlantic.
With such a major change in the way that planes will be flown, it will be a long time before Regulators give the green light on this new technology. It is necessary that the vendors display how the virtual image is just as reliable and safe, before any current rules are revised. Ultimately, eliminating flight diversions that are weather-related will save time and fuel. At the moment, most airliners are unable to land, when the visibility is almost completely nil. Currently, the auto-land computer system is able to reduce the engine’s thrust, apply brakes, and taxi down the runway’s center.