Landing without natural vision

FAA's new authorization permits touchdowns for aircraft using approved EFVS.

An eye in the land of the blind

The historical announcement by the FAA of landing with EFVS without natural vision offers possibilities not yet imagined. Many new sensor technologies will soon emerge from hidden places. The question for those who make these techonologies is, will they understand that their product is for a private owner, not a formerly wealthy Uncle Sam? This means that the price must come down accordingly.

Another possibility will be the fusion of sensors, where combinations of performance make the preferred system even though it will cost a few more bucks. Other aircraft possibilities will soon be available. Perhaps there will be a change in how a front of the aircraft window is designed, or how UAVs will get a chance to fly and land in IMC rather than only being limited to currently land VFR.

Low visibility and fog have always hindered flight. And if birds could talk they would agree. Kicking and screaming, some will resist the use of vision technology in all of its coming manifestations. And if you are one of them, on your next instrument approach in fog consider the old proverb: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

Glenn Connor is the president of Discover Technology Intl and is a researcher and pilot specializing in the development of enhanced vision systems and advanced avionics.


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