|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 1997
PROMOTE ENHANCED VISION TECHNOLOGIES
Washington, D.C. – A House Aviation panel today unanimously approved an amendment offered by U. S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) to promote the use of enhanced vision technologies to replace or enhance conventional landing light systems at U.S. airports. "According to the Flight Safety Foundation, loss of flight crew situational awareness is the primary cause of most airplane accidents," said Traficant, a senior member of the panel. "Enhanced vision technologies represent a dramatic breakthrough in improving flight crew situational awareness during airplane landings -- especially in low visibility situations."
The House Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation today approved legislation reauthorizing the programs of the Federal Aviation Administration, including the Airport Improvement Program. Traficant's amendment, which was adopted by the subcommittee on a voice vote, does three things: 1) 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; 2) makes the installation of enhanced vision technologies eligible for AIP funding; and 3) 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.
"The combination of enhanced vision technologies with the latest ground
proximity warning systems will dramatically reduce the number of controlled
flight into terrain accidents," said Traficant.
"These technologies, especially laser guidance systems and cold cathode lights, have been extensively tested. They work, and they work well," observed Traficant. "They are also cheaper 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."
The FAA reauthorization bill is expected to be approved by the full Transportation Committee next week. Traficant said that if his amendment becomes law, he will work next year to pass his legislation requiring U.S. airports to install enhanced vision technologies to replace or enhance conventional landing light systems over a ten-year period.2009