Written on Friday, October 13, 2006 by Gemini
Colliding into terrain and loss of control are the leading causes of aeroplane fatalities worldwide since 1987, making up nearly two-thirds of all deaths*
* Includes passengers, crew and fatalities on the ground; Does not include deaths from the Sep. 11 attacks
CREATING A COMPLETE SYSTEM
Because of concerns about potential inaccuracies in the topographic database, the FAA has called for a system that incorporates synthetic vision and enhanced vision, a technology already in use.
How Enhanced Vision Works:
The system uses infrared sensors to create images on a display that the human eye cannot see
A technology called synthetic vision will assist pilots by offering a crisp, video-game-like view of the terrain below in low-visibility conditions.
How Synthetic Vision Works:
1. Onboard instruments use GPS satellites to determine the airplane's geographic position
2. The coordinates are fed into a computer with a massive database of topographic information and other features such as tall TV antennae
3. Based on the airplane's coordinates, map data is generated
4. The data are converted into three-dimensional graphics and positioned to give the pilot a view of the terrain; graphics are constantly updated as the plane's coordinates change