Altitude Patents (Class 340/970)
  • 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
  • Patent number: 5191792
    Abstract: A hand-held instrument adapted selectively to provide a sportsman, such as a mountain climber, with readily-readable indications of the existing altitude or direction. The instrument includes a magnetometer which yields an analog signal as a function of direction and a pressure sensor which yields an analog signal as a function of atmospheric pressure. These analog signals are converted into corresponding digital signals and applied to a microprocessor which acts to control an LCD display having two display modes--one providing a numerical readout of altitude, the other a 360 degree readout of direction. When the microprocessor is switched to the altitude mode, it then processes the signal derived from the pressure sensor to yield a digital output for operating the display to indicate the existing altitude. When the microprocessor is switched to the direction mode, it then processes the signal derived from the magnetometer to yield a digital output for operating the display to indicate the existing direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 1991
    Date of Patent: March 9, 1993
    Assignee: Recta AG
    Inventor: Hans Gloor
  • Patent number: 5187478
    Abstract: Warning systems that monitor the altitude above ground and descent rate of an aircraft and generates a warning if the descent rate of the aircraft is excessive for the altitude in which the aircraft is flying are well suited to aircraft whose flight and operational characteristics are readily predictable but not as suitable for aircraft, such as tactical aircraft whose operating conditions are not so predictable. To overcome this problem, the criteria for providing the warnings are altered (30, 32) as a function of flight configuration (16, 18) to optimize the warnings for different flight conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 1991
    Date of Patent: February 16, 1993
    Assignee: Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventor: Michael M. Grove
  • Patent number: 5166682
    Abstract: A ground proximity warning system monitors the descent rate of an aircraft and generates a warning if the descent rate is excessive for the current altitude above ground of the aircraft according to a predetermined relationship. The predetermined relationship is altered as a function of the deviation of the aircraft from the glidescope to generate the warning earlier if the aircraft is below the glidescope and later if the aircraft is above the glidescope. The warning is given as a specific aural message indicating the specific flight parameters of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 1991
    Date of Patent: November 24, 1992
    Assignee: Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventor: Charles D. Bateman
  • Patent number: 5153588
    Abstract: A ground proximity warning system for aircraft having flight path angle based warning criteria generates a warning in the event of an excessively steep flight path angle during an approach to a landing. The warning criteria are altered to provide an earlier warning upon the occurrence of a low intensity wind shear or a below glideslope condition. A below glideslope warning system that is biased as a function of decreasing performance shear is also provided. A descent rate based warning system usable above a predetermined altitude may also be provided to supplement the flight path angle warning system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1990
    Date of Patent: October 6, 1992
    Assignee: Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventor: Hans R. Muller
  • Patent number: 5136512
    Abstract: A method and system for avoiding ground collision through pilot warning messages which is implemented in aircraft having a plurality of sensors, onboard inertial navigation units, and altimeters for measuring aircraft performance or flight characteristics. Data is collected through a digital interface unit from data buses connected to these sources, transferred to one or more storage locations and a data validation unit for determining the validity of current altitude data. A series of data processing elements use the aircraft data to extrapolate an aircraft altitude path forward during a predetermined period of time as a function of the aircraft flight data. The extrapolated altitutde allows extrapolation of an aircraft flight path as a function of predicted terrain variations and changes in altitude in response to recovery from various aircraft maneuvers such as rolling, banking, diving, climbing, or accelerating.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 1991
    Date of Patent: August 4, 1992
    Assignee: Cubic Defense Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Richard C. Le Borne
  • Patent number: 5075685
    Abstract: A system for warning the pilot of a tactical aircraft in a tactical maneuver such as a dive of the point at which recovery must be immediately initiated to prevent the aircraft from descending below a minimum desired altitude monitors and the altitude, descent rate and pitch angle of the aircraft, and issues a voice warning when recovery must be initiated. The system also provides warnings of dangerous flight conditions during non-tactical or common route segments of a flight such as the take-off, landing and cruise segments of a flight. Circuitry responsive to the arming of the weapons of the aircraft enables the tactical warning portion of the system and disables certain functions of the non-tactical portion of the sysem that may cause false warnings to be genrated during tactical manuevers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 1990
    Date of Patent: December 24, 1991
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Everette E. Vermilion, Noel S. Paterson
  • Patent number: 5046010
    Abstract: A low altitude radio altimeter of the FM/CW type which transmits a sawtooth frequency wave and has a transmitting and a receiving aerial. A beat frequency signal Fb.sub.t between the transmitted and received waves is produced at the output of a mixer. The altimeter includes means for digitizing Fb.sub.t at the rate of n samples per sawtooth, a first memory (M1) to store n.times.k samples S.sub.j.sup.i (where i varies from 1 to k and j varies from 1 to n), a second memory (M2) to store n sums ##EQU1## first computing means (PR) for determining ##EQU2## representative of Fb.sub.4, for storage in a third memory (M3), and additional computing and storage means (PR, M4) producing difference signals Fb.sub.t -Fb.sub.f.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 1989
    Date of Patent: September 3, 1991
    Assignee: U.S. Philips Corporation
    Inventor: Jean-Pierre Tomasi
  • Patent number: 5038141
    Abstract: Warning systems that monitor the altitude above ground and descent rate of an aircraft and generate a warning if the descent rate of the aircraft is excessive for the altitude in which the aircraft is flying are well suited to aircraft whose flight and operational characteristics are readily predictable but not as suitable for aircraft, such as tactical aircraft whose operating conditions are not so predictable. To overcome this problem, the criteria for providing the warnings are altered (30, 32) as a function of flight configuration (16, 18) to optimize the warnings for different flight conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 1987
    Date of Patent: August 6, 1991
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael M. Grove
  • Patent number: 5001476
    Abstract: A system for warning the pilot of a tactical aircraft in a tactical maneuver such as a dive of the point at which recovery must be immediately initiated to prevent the aircraft from descending below a minimum desired altitude monitors the altitude, descent rate and pitch angle of the aircraft, and issues a voice warning when recovery must be initiated. The system also provides warnings of dangerous flight conditions during non-tactical or common route segments of a flight such as the take-off, landing and cruise segments of a flight. Circuitry responsive to the arming of the weapons of the aircraft enables the tactical warning portion of the system and disables certain functions of the non-tactical portion of the system that may cause false warnings to be generated during tactical maneuvers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 24, 1986
    Date of Patent: March 19, 1991
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Everette E. Vermilion, Noel S. Paterson
  • Patent number: 4987413
    Abstract: A proximity to terrain warning system for aircraft utilizes a first set of warning criteria to generate a warning in the event of insufficient terrain clearance after take off. A different set of criteria are employed to generate warnings when the aircraft in in a cruise or approach phase of flight or on a tactical mission. Mode switching is provided to select the appropriate criteria and to select an excessive descent after take-off set of warning criteria in addition to the first set of criteria when appropriate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 1987
    Date of Patent: January 22, 1991
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael M. Grove
  • Patent number: 4980684
    Abstract: A warning system for rotary wing aircraft that monitors the altitude above ground of the aircraft and issues a warning when there is insufficient terrain clearance. The warning criteria are optimized for rotary wing aircraft and are altered as a function of landing gear position and airspeed. Two distinct warnings are given. One indicates insufficient terrain clearance and the other warns the pilot if he attempts to land with the landing gear up. Logic circuitry is provided to modify the criteria necessary to generate a warning, and to inhibit certain warnings, as required by the mode of operation of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 1984
    Date of Patent: December 25, 1990
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Controls, Inc.
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, John H. Glover
  • Patent number: 4951047
    Abstract: A warning system for aircraft compares the rate of descent of the aircraft with its altitude above ground after take-off, and generates warning if the aircraft is experiencing an excessive descent condition for the radio altitude at which the aircraft is flying. The position of the landing gear, the speed of the aircraft and the engine power are mointored to enable the system only during the take-off or missed approach phases of operation in order to minimize false warnings during other phases. The relationship between radio altitude and descent rate required to generate a warning is optimized for small, high performance aircraft such as fighter or attack aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 1983
    Date of Patent: August 21, 1990
    Assignee: Sunstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, Everette E. Vermilion
  • Patent number: 4947164
    Abstract: A wind shear warning system monitors the flight path of an aircraft and wind shear in the vicinity of the aircraft and generates an advisory or cautionary message for the pilot based both on the magnitude of the wind shear and the flight path of the aircraft. When the aircraft is flying a normal flight path, a wind shear warning is generated only when relatively high negative wind shears are present. If the flight path of the aircraft is not normal, for example, if the aircraft is below the glide slope or descending too rapidly, a cautionary alert is given at lower values of wind shear. The alert or warning is selected to provide the pilot with information defining the nature of the hazard or potential hazard being encountered.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 21, 1988
    Date of Patent: August 7, 1990
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles D. Bateman
  • Patent number: 4939513
    Abstract: A system that warns the pilot of an aircraft performing low level maneuvers of a dangerous flight profile monitors the altitude of the aircraft above ground, and provides a first specific warning to the pilot if the altitude of the aircraft drops below a predetermined minimum altitude above ground. The system further monitors the roll angle and descent rate of the aircraft to provide a second specific warning if the descent rate of the aircraft exceeds a predetermined rate determined by the roll angle of the aircraft if the aircraft is below a second predetermined altitude above ground.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 1984
    Date of Patent: July 3, 1990
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, Everette E. Vermilion
  • Patent number: 4916447
    Abstract: A system for providing a voice warning to the pilot of a fighter/attack aircraft when the aircraft is landing with the landing gear up monitors the radio altitude, airspeed and engine power of the aircraft and provides a predetermined voice warning if the landing gear is not down when the airspeed is less than a predetermined speed, for example, approximately 200 knots, the radio altitude is less than a predetermined altitude, for example, approximately 100 feet, and the engine is not developing take-off power.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 1983
    Date of Patent: April 10, 1990
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Everette E. Vermilion, Noel S. Paterson
  • Patent number: 4916448
    Abstract: To provide a predictive emergency warning to the pilot of flight and terrain conditions which will result in a collision with the ground unless the pilot takes immediate action, without issuing excessive nuisance warnings, the system uses input parameters from other aircraft systems such as the radar altimeter. Inertial Navigation System, and Central Air Data Computer which are processed in an on-board computer to determine when a warning is required. A software program which is part of the warning system provides a logic link between the on-board aircraft parameters and the on-board voice command ("pull-up, pull-up"). The software program is readily adaptable to all aircraft applications with varying amounts of modification depending on specific mission requirements for which this protection is required. A feature is the use of a continuously computing predictive warning algorithm (based on classical flight dynamics equations) in combination with unique inhibit logic equations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 1988
    Date of Patent: April 10, 1990
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Air Force
    Inventor: Wayne Thor
  • Patent number: 4914436
    Abstract: A ground proximity warning system is disclosed which can recognize when an aircraft is on a final approach to an airport without utilizing a landing flap signal input. Airports together with the surrounding terrain topography are modeled by a simple geometric shape, such as, an inverted truncated cone, and stored on-board the aircraft. The system uses navigational data to determine the distance of the aircraft from the geometric model. Once the aircraft is determined to be within the area defined by the geometric model, the system provides an enabling envelope indicative that the aircraft is on a final approach for enabling various ground proximity warning systems. Also disclosed is a system for altering the enabling envelope as a function of the aircraft's alignment with a particular runway.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 1987
    Date of Patent: April 3, 1990
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Charles D. Bateman, Michael M. Grove
  • Patent number: 4868916
    Abstract: An alarm means including a digital microcomputer having a memory programmed for storing a look-up table defining an alarm envlope which, above a predetermined altitude, is based on a relationship between altitude and ground-closure rate which is independent of ground velocity, and below said predetermined altitude, is based on a relationship between altitude and ground-closure rate which is dependent on ground velocity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 1984
    Date of Patent: September 19, 1989
    Assignee: Israel Aircraft Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Boris Ablov, Moshe Sabato
  • Patent number: 4857923
    Abstract: An aircraft ground proximity warning system having an excessive descent rate warning mode which generates a warning signal when the descent rate of the aircraft exceeds a predetermined limit for the particular altitude of the aircraft above ground. The warning system provides for three separate warnings. A SINK RATE advisory warning is generated for combinations of lesser descent rates and greater altitudes. A PULL UP warning is generated for higher descent rates at lower radio altitudes. After a predetermined time after the SINK RATE warning is generated a TERRAIN warning is provided to indicate to the pilot of the aircraft that an excessive sink rate condition exists and the aircraft is flying over undulating or mountainous terrain. Also disclosed is logic circuitry for detecting that the aircraft is flying over undulating terrain.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 1986
    Date of Patent: August 15, 1989
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles D. Bateman
  • Patent number: 4849756
    Abstract: An aircraft ground proximity warning system is disclosed having an inadequate terrain clearance warning mode, wherein the criteria required to generate the warning is modified when the aircraft is flying over undulating or mountainous terrain. The system is responsive to signals representative of the radio altitude, the barometric altitude, the speed of the aircraft, the flap position and the landing gear position to provide warnings when the aircraft is operating below a predetermined altitude with either or both of the landing gear of the flaps not in a landing configuration. The warning system also provides a warning when the aircraft is traveling above a predetermined speed and below a predetermined altitude irrespective of the configuration of the landing gear or the flaps. Also disclosed is logic circuitry for detecting that the aircraft is flying over undulating or mountainous terrain and modifying the warning envelope during such condition to provide longer warning times.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 1986
    Date of Patent: July 18, 1989
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles D. Bateman
  • Patent number: 4818992
    Abstract: A warning system for rotary wing aircraft compares the accumulated altitude loss after take-off of the aircraft with its altitude above ground, and generates a warning if the altitude loss is excessive for the altitude above ground at which the aircraft is flying. The position of the landing gear, the speed of the aircraft and its altitude enable the system only during the take-off and missed approach phases of operation in order to minimize nuisance warnings during other phases. The relationship between radio altitude and altitude loss required to generate a warning is optimized for rotary wing aircaft such as helicopters.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 1983
    Date of Patent: April 4, 1989
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Noel S. Paterson
  • Patent number: 4792799
    Abstract: A ground proximity warning system especially adapted for a tactical aircraft provides the pilot with a warning in the event that the closure rate is excessive for the altitude above ground at which the aircraft is flying. The descent rate of the aircraft is monitored and used to bias the closure rate warning signal to reduce nuisance warnings when the excessive closure rate is part of an intentional maneuver such as a dive during a tactical mission.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 1987
    Date of Patent: December 20, 1988
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael M. Grove
  • Patent number: 4769645
    Abstract: A system for warning the pilot of a rotary wing aircraft such as a helicopter of a flight condition that, if left uncorrected, would result in the tail of the aircraft striking the ground monitors the altitude above ground, descent rate, pitch and pitch rate of the aircraft and provides a warning if the relationship between the aforementioned parameters is such that a tail strike is imminent.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 1983
    Date of Patent: September 6, 1988
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Noel S. Paterson
  • Patent number: 4695013
    Abstract: A warning device, for a helicopter with a tail rotor and a mechanical protection device therefor, for giving during emergency power-loss landings a flare signal to the pilot to initiate flare followed by a tail/ground contact warning signal when the helicopter tail approaches too closely the ground. The warning device comprises in one embodiment a height-finder with two switchable transmitting/receiving antennas mounted at the helicopter tail to produce respectively, when switched into use, a height-finding beam backwards and obliquely downwards or forwards and obliquely downwards. Height signals obtained initially using antenna 40 are processed by computing means and initiate at a predetermined initial flare altitude a flare warning signal whereafter height signals from antenna 26 are used to determine the sink rate of the tail and in dependence upon this sink rate and the instantaneous height, a warning signal is initiated if this corresponds to a predetermined relative relationship.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 1984
    Date of Patent: September 22, 1987
    Inventor: Ulrich Trampnau
  • Patent number: 4684948
    Abstract: An aircraft ground proximity warning system having an excessive terrain closure warning mode and a below glide slope warning mode monitors the glide slope signal and modifies the terrain closure warning envelope to accept a lesser terrain clearance when the aircraft is within the glide slope beam.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 1983
    Date of Patent: August 4, 1987
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles D. Bateman
  • Patent number: 4675823
    Abstract: A ground proximity warning system utilizes geographic position data to alter the warning criteria as is required by the terrain features of particular geographic areas. To determine whether the aircraft is within a particular geographic area, the world is subdivided into latitude bands that are in turn subdivided into non-overlapping zones by predetermined lines of longitude, with the position of each zone being defined by the latitude and longitude coordinates of one of its corners. The zones are further defined by regions which may overlap other zones. The regions are limited in size, and their positions are also defined by the locations of one of their corners. The regions are further subdivided into one or more geographic areas that are defined by their shapes and locations within the region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 1983
    Date of Patent: June 23, 1987
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Lyle J. Noland, deceased
  • Patent number: 4639730
    Abstract: A system for warning the pilot of an aircraft flying at low level, particularly over rising terrain, of an excessive closure condition that could result in controlled flight into terrain if left uncorrected. Specifically a warning system is disclosed that monitors the terrain closure rate of an aircraft under certain conditions. These conditions relate to the weapons not being armed, the aircraft flying between 100 and 1800 feet and the air speed exceeding 200 knots. When these conditions are met a warning is provided to the pilot that the terrain closure rate exceeds a predetermined safe limit for the radio altitude at which the aircraft is flying.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 1983
    Date of Patent: January 27, 1987
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Noel S. Paterson, Everette E. Vermilion
  • Patent number: 4567483
    Abstract: In order to reduce nuisance warnings and to increase the effectiveness of real warnings produced by a ground proximity warning system, the criteria for generating a warning is varied for certain airport areas to take into account the terrain in those areas. Along with position data, certain flight parameters such as heading, altitude, glideslope and localizer deviation are checked by the system in order to ensure that the aircraft is located in the desired warning modification area. In addition, the ground proximity warning system includes a mechanism for ensuring that the corrected barometric altitude of the aircraft is within acceptable limits.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 1982
    Date of Patent: January 28, 1986
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Charles D. Bateman, Michael M. Grove, Lyle J. Noland, Wallace E. Ward
  • Patent number: 4551723
    Abstract: A warning system for providing an aural warning to the pilot of a rotary wing aircraft monitors the altitude above ground and barometric descent rate of the aircraft and generates the warning if the descent rate of the aircraft is excessive for the altitude at which the aircraft is flying. The system provides two distinct warnings, one being an early warning advising the pilot of a hazardous condition, and the other being a warning alerting the pilot of imminent danger. The system also includes tactical and non-tactical modes of operation, wherein the warning criteria are adjusted to meet tactical and non-tactical flight conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 1983
    Date of Patent: November 5, 1985
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Noel S. Paterson
  • Patent number: 4495483
    Abstract: To increase the effectivity of warnings and to decrease nuisance warnings in a ground proximity warning system having several modes of operation, the switching from one mode to another is done as a function of time. In addition, in a ground proximity warning system where a warning signal is generated in accordance with a predetermined relationship between flight parameters, one or more of these parameters can be varied as a function of time in order to, for example, increase the altitude above ground as a function of time from take-off that a terrain clearance warning may be generated or to decrease as a function of time, the radio altitude below which a negative take-off after a climb warning may be generated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 1981
    Date of Patent: January 22, 1985
    Assignee: Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventor: Charles D. Bateman
  • Patent number: 4453154
    Abstract: An apparatus to continuously monitor a preset altitude for a pilot of an aircraft. It senses a change in altitude and an audible as well as a visible alarm tells the pilot that he has deviated from his preset altitude by a given height. Increase in altitude is signaled by a high pitch tone and by a yellow light while a decrease in altitude is signaled by a low pitch tone and a red light. The invention can also be used to warn a small boat operator of a pressure drop.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 1981
    Date of Patent: June 5, 1984
    Assignee: Tech Nomadic Corporation
    Inventors: Joseph M. Rait, David Dhanens
  • Patent number: 4433323
    Abstract: To increase the effectivity of warnings and to decrease nuisance warnings in a ground proximity warning system having several modes of operation, the switching from one mode to another is done as a function of radio altitude and time. In addition, in a ground proximity warning system where a warning signal is generated in accordance with a predetermined relationship between flight parameters, one or more of these parameters can be varied as a function of radio altitude and time in order to, for example, increase the altitude above ground as a function of radio altitude and time from take-off that a terrain clearance warning is generated or to decrease as a function of radio altitude and time, the radio altitude below which a negative climb after take-off warning is generated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 1982
    Date of Patent: February 21, 1984
    Assignee: Sundstrand Data Control, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael M. Grove
  • Patent number: 4431994
    Abstract: An altitude sensing arrangement which combines the advantages of a barometric altimeter with a radar altimeter. The apparatus monitors the radar altimeter's associated radar validity signal and selects the radar altimeter's reading when the validity signal indicates a valid condition. Alternately, when the validity signal does not indicate a valid condition, the invention computes the difference in barometric altitude since the last valid radar altimeter reading and sums this difference with the last valid reading from the radar altimeter to produce a combined altitude reading.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 1981
    Date of Patent: February 14, 1984
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Air Force
    Inventor: Robert A. Gemin