With an increasing number of aircraft taking to the skies every year, the aviation industry is constantly looking at ways to make flying safer. Taking-off and landing are statistically the most risky part of air travel, so new technology aimed at making landing in bad weather safer is good news for both the aviation industry and for passengers. According to data from the United States Department of Transportation, inclement weather is the cause for more than 40 percent of delays in flights in the United States. In a recent FAA study it was revealed that the cost of delays and cancellation of flights could be as high as $6.7 billion a year.
By means of an infrared camera mounted on the nose of an airplane, the new technology will enable the pilot to see potential obstacles, such as air-traffic control towers and mountains, which would usually be obscured by bad weather conditions. Using Global Positioning System data, the camera and cockpit screen will provide real-time infrared camera images to aid pilots in making a safe landing.
Larisa Parks of Honeywell International, the developers and manufacturers of the new technology, noted that pilots would be able to see the runway upon approach, regardless of what visibility conditions may be like. The improved visibility would allow pilots to reduce the landing minimum from its current limit of an altitude of 200 feet to 100 feet. Chief pilot of corporate aviation for Honeywell, Ronald Weight, noted that pilots make the decision on whether to attempt landing in bad weather, or divert to another airport, based on whether they can see the runway clearly enough with the naked eye. The new technology of the enhanced vision system will make the runway clearly visible to pilots giving them the advantage of being able to land safely in conditions which may have previously led them to divert.
In addition to the enhanced vision system of the infrared camera, Honeywell has a comprehensive database of runways, along with 90,000 images and positions of man-made and natural obstacles. The goal is to use the two technologies – enhanced vision system and synthetic vision system – to make landing in bad weather a safer experience. This will also cut costs of diverting to alternative airports, or delays and cancellations of flights due to bad weather.
There are numerous anxious student pilots out there that cannot wait to get into a cockpit and begin their studies to become a qualified pilot. With so many prospects and a demand for pilots across the world, it is a popular career move. Piloting is not only restricted to commercial airlines but also companies that recruit their own personal pilots, small aircraft piloting, cargo, military pilots and even law enforcement makes use of pilots. Deciding what to do once qualified is a daunting task, but even more serious is finding the right flight school that will suit a student’s needs and that is reliable.
Many smaller flight schools close down without warning for numerous reasons and would-be students are therefore advised to do research on their prospective flight school before signing up. First decide what your long term goal is in regard to taking flight training, and then begin to look for a flight school that can accommodate those goals. If a flight school has been in business for a number of years, for example ten or twenty years, it shows that the business is stable enough to continue running through good and hard economic times.
After deciding which flight schools to look at, there are a few important questions to ask and features to look out for. Flight schools that have achieved high ratings will have certificates to display for their competence, and finding out their safety rate in regard to accidents is also recommended. Visiting the flight school and talking to management, trainers and current students will also assist in accessing the flight school. Pilot Examiners and looking into the qualifications of the trainers could be informative. Prospective students can also make use of the internet to search for any additional information or comments in regard to the specific flight school.
Then there is the cost involved. Flight school is not an inexpensive route, and it is therefore vital that prospective students remember that finding the lowest price is not the most important part of finding a flight school. The quality of the program, the amount of flight hours that are included in the package and the type of flight training available is vital. Once a student has found a school they are completely comfortable with, all they need to do is look forward to working towards making their dreams come true.