|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
Tuesday, August 4, 1998
Washington, D.C. – Legislation approved today by the House to reauthorize the programs of the Federal Aviation Administration includes a provision authored by U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) to promote the use of enhanced vision technologies at U.S. airports and heliports. "According to the Flight Safety Foundation, loss of flight crew situational awareness is the primary cause of most aviation accidents," said Traficant, a senior member of the Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation. "Enhanced vision technologies represent a dramatic breakthrough in improving flight crew situational awareness during airplane and helicopter landings, especially in low visibility situations."
The House today approved legislation reauthorizing FAA programs including the Airport Improvement Program. Traficant's provision was approved in June by the Aviation Subcommittee as an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill. The Traficant amendment requires the FAA to conduct a study of the feasibility of requiring U.S. airports to install enhanced vision technologies to replace or enhance conventional landing light systems over the next 10 years; makes the installation of enhanced vision technologies eligible for AIP funding; and requires the FAA to submit to Congress within 180 days of enactment of the bill a schedule for certification of two the most promising enhanced vision technologies the FAA has been working with: laser guidance and cold cathode. The amendment defines enhanced vision technologies as laser guidance, ultraviolet guidance, cold cathode, and infrared technologies.
Earlier this year Traficant introduced legislation requiring U.S. airports to install these technologies over the next ten years. "This amendment represents a reasonable compromise that will give new focus and impetus to the FAA's ongoing efforts to analyze and certify enhanced vision technologies," noted Traficant.
The U.S. Navy has tested enhanced vision technologies, and plans to deploy these technologies on its aircraft carriers. The U.S. Park Police has had great success with cold cathode lights at its helipad in Washington, D.C. In addition, the FAA has been testing and analyzing enhanced vision technologies for the past several years.
Laser guidance systems provide pilots with a visual navigation
flight path from as far as 20 miles from the runway, with the precision
of an advanced instrument landing system. The use of laser guidance
and cold cathode technologies requires no additional aircraft equipment.
According to Traficant, the combination of enhanced vision technologies
with the latest ground proximity warning systems will dramatically reduce
the number of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents.
Traficant noted that enhanced vision technologies have been extensively tested and successfully deployed by the U.S. military, government agencies and private companies. He also noted that they are less expensive to maintain than conventional lighting. For example, cold cathode lights have a lifetime cost of only 20 percent of that of incandescent lights. "It's time for the FAA to expedite its analysis, and certify these technologies," added Traficant.
Traficant said today that he will work next year to pass legislation requiring U.S. airports to install enhanced vision technologies to replace or enhance conventional landing light systems over a ten-year period.2009