Altitude Patents (Class 340/970)
  • Patent number: 6324448
    Abstract: A method, an apparatus and a computer program product are provided for accurately determining the vertical speed of an aircraft in a manner independent of signals provided by an air data computer, an inertial reference system and an inertial navigation system. Initially, a first vertical velocity of the aircraft is determined based upon a pressure altitude value associated with the aircraft. A second vertical velocity of the aircraft is also obtained from a GPS receiver carried by the aircraft. The first and second vertical velocities are then combined to determine the vertical speed of the aircraft. In this regard, the first and second vertical velocities are combined by complimentarily filtering the first and second vertical velocities. More particularly, the first vertical velocity is typically low pass filtered to remove high frequency noise that is attributable to the relatively low resolution of the first vertical velocity value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2001
    Assignee: Honeywell International, Inc
    Inventor: Steven C. Johnson
  • Publication number: 20010035831
    Abstract: A display system for an airplane or other vehicle is disclosed. A rear projection LCD is used to allow for a maximum amount of screen area to be used in displaying operator pertinent data.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 22, 2001
    Publication date: November 1, 2001
    Applicant: Sandel Avionics
    Inventor: Gerald J. Block
  • Patent number: 6292721
    Abstract: In order to provide the pilots with a display or a map of the terrain below the aircraft, a display is generated on a cockpit display, such as a weather radar, of the contours of the terrain below the aircraft. The terrain contour display is generated from aircraft position information, a terrain data base, and a terrain awareness envelope defined by awareness boundaries. Terrain contours are depicted with the highest terrain within the envelope colored red, high intermediate terrain contours in yellow with varying dot densities, low intermediate terrain contours in green with varying dot densities, and the lowest terrain in black. The green contours can be overwritten with a low density yellow based on a pre-caution envelope which extends certain of the awareness boundaries to provide notice to a pilot of upcoming cautions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2001
    Assignee: Allied Signal Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin J Conner, Hans Rudolf Muller
  • Patent number: 6266583
    Abstract: A system and method for improving the accuracy of altitude determinations in an inertial navigation system. Pressure measurements available to the inertial navigation system are used to initially calculate an estimated pressure altitude using the standard day model for the atmosphere. Temperature measurements are further utilized in the physical relationship between temperature, pressure, and altitude to compute a second computed altitude. A change between subsequent second computed altitudes is calculated and compared with a respective change in the computed pressure altitude in order to generate a correction value. The correction value is then used to modify the computed pressure altitude to generate a more accurate determination of the absolute altitude of the inertial navigation system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2001
    Assignee: Litton Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel A. Tazartes, Brian T. Lottman, Dean E. Lottman, John G. Mark
  • Patent number: 6259379
    Abstract: The present invention provides ground proximity warning system and method for aircraft, particularly rotary wing aircraft such as helicopters. The warning system generally includes an air ground detection device disposed on the aircraft to confirm whether the aircraft is on the ground or in the air. A controller is coupled to the air ground detection device and configured to move between a ground state when the aircraft is on the ground and an airborne state when the aircraft is in the air. The controller may be used for a variety of applications within the aircraft, such as disabling a ground proximity warning device when the aircraft is on the ground and enabling the warning device when the aircraft is in the air. In addition, the air ground controller may be used to signal the beginning and the end of a flight for the aircraft's flight history fault memory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2001
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, Gary A. Ostrom, Alden L. Loos
  • Patent number: 6259380
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for automatically and independently determining aircraft altitude and alerting the pilot to deviations from a target altitude exceeding a specified tolerance. The alerter comprises an altitude sensing means for sensing the present altitude of the aircraft. The invention discloses three sources for altitude information namely, a self-contined sensor such as a pressure transducer, a Global Positioning System receive, or an altitude encoder. A target entry means is used for entering the target altitude. An indicating means signals an altitude alerting condition upon the detection of a condition wherein the absolute difference is larger than the tolerance value. The altitude alerting apparatus may also comprise a display means for display of the present aircraft altitude information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2001
    Inventor: David D. Jensen
  • Patent number: 6232890
    Abstract: A combined altitude and height-above-ground indicator for an aircraft enables the altitude and the height of an aircraft to be displayed simultaneously. The combined indicator includes a first sensor and a second sensor which respectively sense altitude and height above ground, means for processing the information supplied by the first and second sensors, and means for displaying the sensed altitude and height-above-ground information by superimposing the altitude and height-above-ground information on the same scale against a pointer. The scale includes a transparent first part which represents a pressure-altitude display, and a second part which is a mask positioned under the first part so that it masks the background of the indicator for altitude levels which are below the measured height above ground.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2001
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Raymond Jacques Gérard Berlioz, Vincent Frédéric Saintagne, Joël Christian Roger Astruc
  • Patent number: 6222464
    Abstract: A method of automated scan compensation in a target acquisition system for reducing areas of potential threat surrounding an aircraft. The target acquisition system is located on an aircraft and adapted to receive data from a plurality of sensors. The target acquisition system includes a scanning device with adjustable scan limits for scanning a desired area in the vicinity of the aircraft. The method involves determining the aircraft's current position, altitude, and heading. The terrain in the vicinity of the aircraft is then scanned and a line of sight between the aircraft and the scanned terrain is determined. Changes in the terrain which prevent other areas of the terrain in the vicinity of the aircraft from being scanned are also determined. The method then involves determining adjustments to the scan limits on the target acquisition system to reduce the size of the unscanned areas, and adjusting the scan limits as the aircraft flies over the terrain.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 2, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 24, 2001
    Assignee: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
    Inventors: Jack Byron Tinkel, Jeffrey Paul Rios, Stephen H. Silder
  • Patent number: 6219592
    Abstract: A terrain awareness system (TAS) provides LOOK-AHEAD/LOOK-DOWN as well as LOOK-UP terrain advisory and warning indications to the pilot of an aircraft of a hazardous flight condition. The TAS includes an airport data base as well as a terrain data base that is structured to provide various resolutions depending on the topography of the particular geographic area of interest. Navigational data from a satellite-based navigational system, such as a global positioning system (GPS), is used to provide a LOOK-AHEAD/LOOK-DOWN and LOOK-UP terrain advisory and terrain warning indications based upon the current position and projected flight path of the aircraft. Since the terrain advisory and the warning signals are a function of the flight path of the aircraft, nuisance warnings are minimized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2001
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Hans R. Muller, Kevin J. Conner, Steven C. Johnson
  • Patent number: 6204779
    Abstract: A combined altitude and height-above-ground indicator for an aircraft includes a first sensor and a second sensor which respectively sense altitude and height-above-ground, a processor for processing the information supplied by the first and second sensors, and a display for displaying the altitude and height-above-ground information, showing the two items of information against each other, on the same scale against at least one pointer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2001
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Raymond Jacques Gerard Berlioz, Vincent Frederic Saintagne, Joel Christian Roger Astruc
  • Patent number: 6169496
    Abstract: A flight warning system comprises an outside temperature probe for sensing outside temperature, a gyroscope for sensing aircraft bank angle, a static transducer for sensing static pressure, and a dynamic pressure sensor for receiving total pressure from a pitot tube. A computer is responsive to the gyroscope, static transducer, outside temperature probe and dynamic pressure sensor calculates whether the aircraft is entering a stall condition by comparing the aircraft's bank angle with the stall bank angle. The computer can also calculate whether sufficient altitude exists for the aircraft to safely return to a field after a power failure. An output device can also be provided for indicating the existence of said sufficient altitude, and a stall indicator can be provided for indicating whether the aircraft is entering a stall condition. A method for determining the existence of a stall condition with the aircraft is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 1998
    Date of Patent: January 2, 2001
    Assignee: Exigent International, Inc.
    Inventors: Mack L. Martin, Mark G. Baciak, Louis W. Seiler
  • Patent number: 6154151
    Abstract: An integrated vertical situation display (IVSD) for an aircraft, and method of displaying vertical situation information, are disclosed herein. The IVSD includes an electronic display for displaying the vertical situation of the aircraft, input interfaces for receiving vertical profile information signals, and a processing circuit for reading the information signals and generating display signals applied to the display therefrom. The display has a vertical profile view area to display the vertical situation in front of, above, and below the aircraft. The information sources may include a flight management system, traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) and a ground proximity warning system. Vertical situations are displayed by visual indicia representing, for example, aircraft position, path angle, flight path, waypoints, TCAS targets, altitude preselect, decision height, runway, ground contour, and vertical speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 16, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2000
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth W. McElreath, Scott A. Pingsterhaus
  • Patent number: 6138060
    Abstract: A terrain awareness system and method which provides increased warning times to the pilot of an aircraft of a hazardous flight condition while minimizing nuisance warnings. An important aspect of the invention is that the terrain background information as well as the terrain advisory and warning indications may be displayed on a navigational or weather display, normally existing within an aircraft, which reduces the cost of the system and obviates the need for extensive modifications to existing displays, such as a navigational and weather radar type display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 24, 2000
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin J. Conner, Hans Rudolph Muller, deceased, Beat Muller, legal representative
  • Patent number: 6127944
    Abstract: A hazard alert device for aircraft prioritizes various alerts according to predefined criteria. The device enables more optional alerting of hazardous conditions than a system of separate independent and discrete devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2000
    Assignee: Allied Signal Inc.
    Inventors: Francis W. Daly, Daryal Kuntman, Frank Doerenberg, James J. McElroy
  • Patent number: 6122570
    Abstract: A terrain awareness system (TAS) provides LOOK-AHEAD/LOOK-DOWN as well as LOOK-UP terrain advisory and warning indications to the pilot of an aircraft of a hazardous flight condition. The TAS includes an airport data base as well as a terrain data base that is structured to provide various resolutions depending on the topography of the particular geographic area of interest. Navigational data from a satellite-based navigational system, such as a global positioning system (GPS), is used to provide a LOOK-AHEAD/LOOK-DOWN and LOOK-UP terrain advisory and terrain warning indications based upon the current position and projected flight path of the aircraft. Since the terrain advisory and the warning signals are a function of the flight path of the aircraft, nuisance warnings are minimized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Hans R. Muller, Kevin J. Conner, Steven C. Johnson
  • Patent number: 6121899
    Abstract: Aircraft tail strike protection is provided by displaying to a pilot tail strike warning symbols during takeoff and approach to landing. In a takeoff scenario, a pitch margin indicator symbol referenced to a boresight symbol provides a pilot with anticipatory information and an awareness of the pitch attitude margin before a tail strike incident. In an approach to landing scenario, a TAILSTRIKE warning annunciation is referenced to a flight path symbol and alerts the pilot of an impending tail strike incident. The symbols displayed during either scenario center on the pilot area of focus for each task. They give the pilot an awareness of an impending tail strike incident and necessary reaction time to avoid it.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Ricky J. Theriault
  • Patent number: 6092009
    Abstract: In order to provide the pilots with a display or a map of the terrain below the aircraft, a display is generated on a cockpit display, such as a weather radar, of the contours of the terrain below the aircraft. The terrain contour display is generated from aircraft position information and a terrain data base. Terrain contours are depicted with the highest terrain colored red, intermediate terrain contours in green with varying dot densities and the lowest terrain in black.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2000
    Assignee: AlliedSignal
    Inventor: J. Howard Glover
  • Patent number: 6088632
    Abstract: An engine control system for a first aircraft belonging to a family of aircraft which includes at least a second aircraft, the first aircraft having a maximum mass which is greater, within a predetermined limit, than that of the second aircraft. For an engine of the first aircraft, a first thrust command law controls a thrust of an engine of the first aircraft during take-off phase (T), and a second thrust command law, controls a thrust of the engine to correspond with a part of the thrust command laws applicable to the second aircraft during all other flight phases (R) of the first aircraft. The transition from one flight phase to another is detected to supply the engine with a control signal corresponding to one or the other of the first thrust command law or the second thrust command law.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2000
    Assignee: Societe Nationale Industrielle et Aerospatiale
    Inventors: Patrick Zaccaria, Patrice Ostermann
  • Patent number: 6088634
    Abstract: A terrain-awareness system (TAS) provides LOOK-AHEAD/LOOK-DOWN as well as LOOK-UP terrain advisory and warning indications to the pilot of an aircraft of a hazardous flight condition. The TAS includes an airport data base as well as a terrain data base that is structured to provide various resolutions depending on the topography of the particular geographic area of interest. Navigational data from a satellite-based navigational system, such as a global positioning system (GPS), is used to provide a LOOK-AHEAD/LOOK-DOWN and LOOK-UP terrain advisory and terrain warning indications based upon the current position and projected flight path of the aircraft. Since the terrain advisory and the warning signals are a function of the flight path of the aircraft, nuisance warnings are minimized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2000
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Hans R. Muller, Kevin J. Conner, Steven C. Johnson
  • Patent number: 6043758
    Abstract: An integrated flight safety device for general aviation aircraft includes a radio altimeter and flight data recorder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2000
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: John D. Snyder, Jr., Rory L. Kestner, John J. Poe, Stephen Paul Williams, Barry A. McAnulty, Bryan G. Friedrich
  • Patent number: 6043759
    Abstract: The present invention provides ground proximity warning system and method for aircraft, particularly rotary wing aircraft such as helicopters. The warning system generally includes an air ground detection device disposed on the aircraft to confirm whether the aircraft is on the ground or in the air. A controller is coupled to the air ground detection device and configured to move between a ground state when the aircraft is on the ground and an airborne state when the aircraft is in the air. The controller may be used for a variety of applications within the aircraft, such as disabling a ground proximity warning device when the aircraft is on the ground and enabling the warning device when the aircraft is in the air. In addition, the air ground controller may be used to signal the beginning and the end of a flight for the aircraft's flight history fault memory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2000
    Assignee: AlliedSignal
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, Gary A. Ostrom, Alden L. Loos
  • Patent number: 6020832
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for automatically and independently determining aircraft altitude and alerting the pilot to deviations from a target altitude exceeding a specified tolerance. The alerter comprises an altitude sensing means for sensing the present altitude of the aircraft. The invention discloses three sources for altitude information namely, a self-contined sensor such as a pressure transducer, a Global Positioning System receive, or an altitude encoder. A target entry means is used for entering the target altitude. An indicating means signals an altitude alerting condition upon the detection of a condition wherein the absolute difference is larger than the tolerance value. The altitude alerting apparatus may also comprise a display means for display of the present aircraft altitude information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 5, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2000
    Inventor: David D. Jensen
  • Patent number: 6008742
    Abstract: The Aircraft Landing Gear Warning System is an electronic device designed for general aviation aircraft having retractable landing gear. The unit attaches to the aircraft. The system incorporates means of determining the aircraft's proximity to the ground and the status of the landing gear. If the device determines that the aircraft has descended to approximately 100 ft. above the ground and the wheels are retracted, the device provides a visual and audible warning to the pilot.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 28, 1999
    Inventor: Duane Groves
  • Patent number: 6002347
    Abstract: A hazard alert device for aircraft prioritizes various alerts according to predefined criteria. The device enables more optional alerting of hazardous conditions than a system of separate independent and discrete devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 23, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 14, 1999
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Francis W. Daly, Daryal Kuntman, Frank Doerenberg, James J. McElroy
  • Patent number: 5986582
    Abstract: A two-stage alarm for a rotary wing aircraft, such as a helicopter which operates on a collective control arm. A moveable mass or weight is operatively connected to the collective control arm. The moveable weight may be of a reciprocating type or a rotor driven mass which is mounted eccentrically for rotation about an axs which is spaced from the center of gravity of the weight. In the latter case, a D.C. motor spins the weight rapidly about the axis at a first speed to produce a shaking action to the collective control arm as a warning of an approaching danger. The weight is moved more rapidly to produce a much more noticeable action at a second frequency, or at an increased amplitude as a warning of a more imminent or serious condition which requires immediate action.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 16, 1999
    Assignee: Safe Flight Instrument Corporation
    Inventors: Leonard M. Greene, Randall A. Greene
  • Patent number: 5945926
    Abstract: A radar based terrain and obstacle detection device for aircraft detects obstacles and terrain ahead of the aircraft. An alert is sounded if the obstacle or terrain is above a clearance plane positioned ahead of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 31, 1999
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Danny F. Ammar, Randall C. Spires, Steven R. Sweet
  • Patent number: 5936552
    Abstract: A visual display format for a terrain situational awareness system comprising a horizontal terrain elevation view and a profile terrain elevation view of potential terrain hazards integrated onto a single display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1999
    Assignee: Rockwell Science Center, Inc.
    Inventors: Joel M. Wichgers, Jeffrey L. Spicer
  • Patent number: 5922031
    Abstract: In a method for the piloting of an aircraft, enabling low-altitude flight by setting up a tangent with the relief to be overflown, the aircraft pilot determines the goals to be attained on a cartographic screen. This is done in enabling a computer, using altimetrical data, to define a ground profile and then a set of straight lines at a tangent to said ground profile. A method of this kind has the advantage of enabling an optimized flight plan to be reconfigured directly, when the pilot comes up against a threat that makes it necessary to change the pre-set flight plan. Application to military transport aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 13, 1999
    Assignee: Sextant Avionique
    Inventor: Bertrand Larrieu
  • Patent number: 5892462
    Abstract: A ground collision avoidance system that exhibits improved accuracy and performance by integrating with all other aircraft systems including guidance systems, navigation systems, digital terrain elevation databases, mission computers, and radar altimeters. The ground collision avoidance system fully utilizes active onboard sensors in combination with the knowledge of terrain and obstacle data contained in databases. Furthermore, the ground collision avoidance system provides a multiple processing path to determine numerous predicted flight paths based on a number of reasonable assumptions regarding the aircraft flight during a predetermined amount of time. By using predictive flight path schemes a realistic estimate of the predicted flight path envelope can be determined and then this information can be used in conjunction with accurate terrain elevation databases to determine whether a ground collision condition exists.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 6, 1999
    Assignee: Honeywell Inc.
    Inventor: My Tran
  • Patent number: 5884222
    Abstract: A collision avoidance device for an aircraft of the type comprises means for the geographical localization of the aircraft, means for the computation, for each geographical place, of a safety floor above which the aircraft must be positioned, means to predict the position in the air of the aircraft between a first given instant and a second given instant and means to compare the predicted position in the air of the aircraft with respect to the specified security floor. The safety floor, which is used for the comparison, is consolidated beforehand by means of a sensor that detects the obstacles in a forward sector of the aircraft and provides means with measurements enabling the computation of the altitude of these obstacles with respect to a reference level. The disclosed device has the advantage of enabling a reduction in the risk of delayed alarms and harmful alarms.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 16, 1999
    Assignee: Sextant Avionique
    Inventors: Xavier Denoize, Fran.cedilla.ois Faivre
  • Patent number: 5839080
    Abstract: A terrain awareness system (TAS) provides LOOK-AHEAD/LOOK-DOWN as well as LOOK-UP terrain advisory and warning indications to the pilot of an aircraft of a hazardous flight condition. The TAS includes an airport data base as well as a terrain data base that is structured to provide various resolutions depending on the topography of the particular geographic area of interest. Navigational data from a satellite-based navigational system, such as a global positioning system (GPS), is used to provide a LOOK-AHEAD/LOOK-DOWN and LOOK-UP terrain advisory and terrain warning indications based upon the current position and projected flight path of the aircraft. Since the terrain advisory and the warning signals are a function of the flight path of the aircraft, nuisance warnings are minimized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 1995
    Date of Patent: November 17, 1998
    Assignee: AlliedSignal, Inc.
    Inventors: Hans R. Muller, Kevin J. Conner, Steven C. Johnson
  • Patent number: 5798712
    Abstract: Information, an alert or an alarm is supplied to an aircraft in proximity to the ground. A grid of geographic coordinates is established, each mesh of which exhibits a defined relief. The trajectory of the aircraft is predicted over a predetermined time interval. An intersection, if any, between the predicted trajectory and the relief of at least one of the meshes is determined. An alert or alarm is activated in the case of such an intersection. The alert or alarm is inhibited when the aircraft is in landing configuration or when the runway is detected and a series of conditions relating to landing are fulfilled.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1998
    Assignee: Aerospatiale Societe Nationale Industrielle
    Inventor: Laurent Coquin
  • Patent number: 5781126
    Abstract: The present invention provides ground proximity warning system and method for aircraft, particularly rotary wing aircraft such as helicopters. The warning system generally includes a barometric altitude rate detector, such an altimeter and a rate circuit, disposed to detect the rate of change of the barometric altitude of the aircraft. A controller is coupled to the detector for receiving the barometric altitude rate signals and adjusting the signals based on the ground effect from the main rotors when the aircraft is near the ground. Typically, the controller decreases the barometric altitude rate signals to compensate for the apparent increase in barometric altitude rate caused by ground effects. This reduces the number of nuisance warnings that may otherwise occur during takeoffs, landings or other low altitude flight conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 14, 1998
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, Gary A. Ostrom, Alden L. Loos
  • Patent number: 5745053
    Abstract: A landing gear warning system for an aircraft with at least one retractable landing gear member comprising: (a) a landing gear indicator adapted for generating a signal representative of the position of the landing gear member; (b) an aircraft positioning system adapted for generating a signal representative of the aircraft's latitude, longitude, and elevation; (c) a pilot warning device; and (d) a computer system operatively coupled to the landing gear indicator, the aircraft positioning system, and the pilot warning device, wherein the computer system includes a database that contains the longitude and latitude, and elevation of a plurality of runways, and wherein the computer system is adapted for receiving the signal representative of the aircraft's latitude, longitude, and elevation, adapted for receiving the signal representative of the position of the landing gear member, and adapted for generating a pilot warning signal that activates the pilot warning device if the aircraft's elevation is less than a
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 28, 1998
    Inventor: Hoyt A. Fleming, III
  • Patent number: 5677842
    Abstract: Disclosed is a collision avoidance device with reduced energy balance for aircraft, in particular for avoiding collision with the ground. This device comprises means for the geographical localization of the aircraft, a database containing a description of safety altitudes, means for the construction of an air floor about the vertical passing through the aircraft, the altitude of the floor being greater than or equal to the safety altitudes about this vertical, means for predicting the air position of the aircraft, means to compare this position with the air floor, means for the computation of avoidance paths and means to determine the energy balance of each of the computed paths. Application to equipment for aircraft, notably for civilian airliners.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 14, 1997
    Assignee: Sextant Avionique
    Inventors: Xavier Denoize, Francois Faivre, Thierry Servat
  • Patent number: 5666110
    Abstract: A ground proximity warning system (GPWS) for a rotary-wing aircraft provides a warning of excessive barometric altitude loss as a function of the product of time and the terrain clearance. The warning system is only enabled during a take-off mode of flight and is disabled during other modes of flight. The mode warning logic monitors the speed of the aircraft, the terrain clearance of the aircraft as well as the position of the landing gear to enable the altitude loss warning logic. When the barometric altitude loss as a function of the time product of the terrain clearance exceeds a predetermined value, the mode switching logic switches to an approach mode of flight to disable the excessive altitude loss warning system to minimize nuisance warnings during various maneuvers including ship-to-ship and oil platform-to-oil platform flight maneuvers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 9, 1997
    Inventor: Noel S. Paterson
  • Patent number: 5638282
    Abstract: A mass memory stores a data base representing at least a substantial part of the terrestrial globe, in accordance with a grid configuration on several levels, said grid configuration being in particular more precise in the vicinity of an airport. Status indications are received representing the position of the aircraft with two horizontal components, and the altitude, and the velocity and acceleration vectors of the aircraft, as well as control indications coming from the flight deck. In accordance with the horizontal components of the position of the aircraft, a temporary local map is transferred into a fast access memory, on the basis of which map, an altitude envelope of the terrain is established in the zone where the aircraft is travelling. Anticollision processing make it possible to establish an alarm if the relation between a protection field and the altitude envelope meets a first condition which is defined at least partly by the control indications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 10, 1997
    Assignee: Dassault Electronique
    Inventors: Xavier Chazelle, Anne-Marie Hunot, Gerard Lepere
  • Patent number: 5638059
    Abstract: The invention relates to an audible altimeter for use by parachutists. The altimeter comprises a sensor means 6 for sensing ambient air pressure, an electronic processor 5, a sounder device 4 and control buttons 2,3. The electronic processor 5 is programmed to determine the height of the altimeter above ground level and send said signals to said sounder device 4 during the parachutist's descent causing said sounder device 4 to emit a first audible signal at a first predetermined height above ground level and a second audible signal at a second predetermined height.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 29, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 10, 1997
    Inventor: George Pilkington
  • Patent number: 5629848
    Abstract: A spatial disorientation detector system capable of warning a pilot of potentially disorienting flight conditions in response to Kalman filter modeling of human response characteristics. The Kalman filter models are representative of human semicircular canal and otolith responses and are capable of more accurate prediction of actual pilot disorientation conditions than are systems which respond with simple magnitude measurement of disorientation stress. Examples of disorienting environments are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 1992
    Date of Patent: May 13, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Air Force
    Inventors: D. W. Repperger, W. B. Albery
  • Patent number: 5585791
    Abstract: A warning system for aircraft equipped with an autopilot system having a radio altitude hold (R/A HOLD) function and/or a barometric altitude hold (ALTITUDE HOLD) function monitors the R/A HOLD and ALTITUDE HOLD function control switches, as well as the touch-controlled steering (TCS) control to determine when the functions have been engaged. When either of the R/A HOLD or ALTITUDE HOLD function control switches are selected while the autopilot system is engaged, the system samples the radio altitude or barometric altitude at the moment that the R/A HOLD or ALTITUDE HOLD functions are selected and stores the sample as a reference or datum. The system then compares the current radio altitude or barometric altitude with the datum. Should the actual radio altitude or barometric altitude exceed the datum by a predetermined amount, a warning is generated. In order to prevent spurious warnings, the system is disabled when the touch-control steering is active.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 17, 1996
    Assignee: AlliedSignal, Inc.
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, Scott R. Gremmert, Gary A. Ostrom
  • Patent number: 5519391
    Abstract: A warning system provides a warning to the pilot of an aircraft during a take-off mode of flight of a relatively dangerous flight condition, such as improper configuration of the flaps during a take-off mode of flight prior to the aircraft becoming airborne. In order to avoid nuisance warnings, the warning system is disabled once the aircraft becomes airborne. The warning system monitors the flap position of the aircraft as well as the airspeed and provides a warning when the flaps are improperly configured during a take-off mode of flight. Different aural warnings are provided as a function of the airspeed of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 7, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 21, 1996
    Assignee: AlliedSignal Inc.
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, Gary A. Ostrom
  • Patent number: 5488563
    Abstract: A mass memory stores a data base representing at least a substantial part of the terrestrial globe, in accordance with a grid configuration on several levels, said grid configuration being in particular more precise in the vicinity of an airport. Status indications are received representing the position of the aircraft with two horizontal components, and the altitude, and the velocity and acceleration vectors of the aircraft, as well as control indications coming from the flight deck. In accordance with the horizontal components of the position of the aircraft, a temporary local map is transferred into a fast access memory, on the basis of which map, an altitude envelope of the terrain is established in the zone where the aircraft is travelling. Anticollision processing make it possible to establish an alarm if the relation between a protection field and the altitude envelope meets a first condition which is defined at least partly by the control indications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 1993
    Date of Patent: January 30, 1996
    Assignee: Dassault Electronique
    Inventors: Xavier Chazelle, Anne-Marie Hunot, Gerard Lepere
  • Patent number: 5486821
    Abstract: An artificial horizon altitude warning system is provided for helping to prevent a controlled flight of an aircraft into the ground. The artificial horizon altitude warning system comprises an altimeter for gathering altitude information about the aircraft and generating an altitude signal; a laser assembly for producing a light in a cockpit of the aircraft; and a controller for receiving the altitude signal and for positioning the light in the cockpit to form an artificial line based on the altitude signal, the artificial line being positioned so as to be disposed along tin arcuate length corresponding to the location of an actual horizon as viewed by a pilot of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 26, 1994
    Date of Patent: January 23, 1996
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: David E. Stevens, Leonard A. Temme
  • Patent number: 5367460
    Abstract: Method for signalling insufficient maneuverability of an aircraft according to which:in a preparatory phase: with the aid of a plurality of N flight configurations, the weighting coefficients between three quantities G1, G2, G3 are determined, representative respectively of the acceleration, the slope angle of the trajectory and the risk of stalling, coefficients such that the weighted sum of said quantities is less than a threshold when maneuverability is insufficient;in an in-flight utilization phase: said weighted sum is calculated and a signal signifying insufficient maneuverability is generated if said sum is less than said threshold.Application to controlling aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 1992
    Date of Patent: November 22, 1994
    Assignee: Societe Nationale Industrielle et Aerospatiale
    Inventor: Pierre Fabre
  • Patent number: 5283574
    Abstract: Warning systems for aircraft that provide a warning to the pilot of an excessive altitude loss or an excessive descent rate after take-off as long as he is flying below a predetermined altitude have the problem that they require a valid radio altitude signal for proper operation, and tend to generate nuisance warnings when used in low flying aircraft. This problem is solved by comparing the accumulated altitude loss after take-off (12, 14, 62, 34) with the product of a barometrically derived altitude and the length of time the aircraft has been flying (12, 14, 30, 32, 34). A warning is generated if the altitude loss is excessive for the accumulated time-altitude product after take-off (38, 40). Thus, the system is more sensitive immediately after take-off and becomes less sensitive as flight time is accumulated to permit low level maneuvering without generating false or nuisance warnings, and does not require a valid radio altitude signal to generate a warning.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 1987
    Date of Patent: February 1, 1994
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael M. Grove
  • Patent number: 5260702
    Abstract: An aircraft landing information system is disclosed which provides to the aircraft pilot information regarding the actual and preferred sink rate of the aircraft, the distance between the landing gear wheels and the runway, and deviation of the actual sink rate from the preferred sink rate. An altitude determining sensor is provided on the aircraft and the information transmitted therefrom is fed into a microprocessor or like system which then presents the relevant data to the pilot in an audio and/or visual format to allow the pilot to touch down at the preferred sink rate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 1991
    Date of Patent: November 9, 1993
    Inventor: Keith P. Thompson
  • Patent number: 5225829
    Abstract: A low airspeed alerting system for alerting the pilot of an aircraft of insufficient airspeed during a landing monitors various readily available signals representative of flight parameters of an aircraft such as pitch angle, vertical speed and true airspeed and advises the pilot when the airspeed of the aircraft is approaching an airspeed (kinetic energy) that is too low with respect to the ground to maintain the aircraft flying along the desired flight path without stalling, or without action by the pilot in time to recover.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 9, 1991
    Date of Patent: July 6, 1993
    Assignee: Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventor: Charles D. Bateman
  • Patent number: 5220322
    Abstract: Performance of an aircraft ground proximity warning system can be improved, especially where the performance of the aircraft itself has been degraded by a factor such as wind shear, by extending Mode 1 and Mode 3 warning envelopes down to within five feet of the ground. Additional improvements in warnings can be made by monitoring flight path angle, stall margin, angle of attack and deceleration profile, when the aircraft is close to the ground.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 1985
    Date of Patent: June 15, 1993
    Assignee: Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventors: Charles D. Bateman, J. H. Glover, Hans R. Muller
  • Patent number: 5206644
    Abstract: A system and method for extending the useful life of anti-collision lights comprising inert gas flash tubes and which are included on commercial, military, and business jet aircraft. When the aircraft is cruising in high altitude tightly controlled airspace (where instrument flight rules are controlling, i.e., at altitudes above 18,000 feet), and when the aircraft is not undergoing a substantial change in altitude, the power input to the anti-collision lights is reduced. The reduction in the power provides a significant increase in the useful life of the flash tube while causing only slight reduction in the intensity of the light output of the flash tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 1991
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1993
    Inventor: Robert M. Dempsey
  • Patent number: 5196847
    Abstract: A ground proximity warning system monitors the flight path angle or barometric or inertially derived descent rate of the aircraft and modulates the glide slope alerting function in accordance with flight path angle or descent rate when the aircraft is not descending rapidly even though it is below the glide slope in order to reduce nuisance warnings without compromising system sensitivity. Alternatively, the repetition rate of the alert may be varied as a function of the flight path angle or descent rate to provide less frequent alerts when the aircraft is not descending rapidly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 1991
    Date of Patent: March 23, 1993
    Assignee: Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventor: Charles D. Bateman