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Warning system detects aircraft approaching wrong runway

written by Adam Thorn | March 17, 2021
Despite the continuing stagnation of the offshore sector, Airbus Helicopters took orders for eight H175s in 2016. (Airbus Helicopters)
Despite the continuing stagnation of the offshore sector, Airbus Helicopters took orders for eight H175s in 2016. (Airbus Helicopters)

A Brisbane tech company has developed a new early warning system that can detect aircraft approaching to land on the wrong runway or helipad from up to 500km away.

SkyNet Aviation’s LASAW product uses AI to monitor up to 500 aircraft at 1-second intervals and crucially works on rigs and vessels.

Previously, those working on offshore platforms were reduced to spotting approaching aircraft with the naked eye or using satellite tracking that updates only every 15 seconds.

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The business’ founder, Jon Davis, said, “During the development of this product, we spoke to pilots, landing site operators and safety organisations around the world, all of whom had personal or anecdotal evidence of just how often pilots, for many different reasons, can approach the wrong landing site.

“It’s not as unusual as you might imagine.”

The phenomenon of aircraft attempting to land on the wrong runway – technically known as wrong surface or deck landings – has been highlighted by regulators such as the FAA and IATA.

The LASAW technology works 24 hours a day and can operate on cluster helipads as well as remote and unmanned airports.

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After detecting a potential incident, it triggers an alarm such as sirens or strobe lights to clear the landing zone of personnel or wildlife.

The product does this by using AI and algorithms in conjunction with position updates broadcast from aircraft up to twice per second to determine if a potential landing conflict could occur.

The system has already been trialled at Devonport Airport, owned by the Tasmanian state government Ports Corporation.

“LASAW will have a major impact on the prevention of this very significant safety issue which is widely recognised –particularly by pilots who operate around platforms in the oil and gas fields, FPSOs and in remote areas – but is not well documented,” said Davis.

“WSL can also be a problem at any airport and I’m glad to see that for 2021, some key safety organisations are at last recognising the potential dangers.

“Until LASAW, there has been no dedicated technology solution available to manage this potential danger.”

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4 Comments

  • Nicholas Paul

    says:

    500 kilometers??????

  • David Palmer

    says:

    Obviously using raw ADSB, antenna received, data and NOT an ADSB data feed supplied by FR24 or others, which allows it to achieve 1 second updates.

    The 500 km is most likely its ADSB signal reception and NOT its ability to determine that an aircraft will land on the wrong runway otherwise imagine how many Rwy07 false positive WSL alerts for the RIVET arrival into Sydney Rwy16.
    I’m sure there are others too.
    Also… what happens if ATC assigns a new runway? Sounds like EDI is needed with TAATS or OneSky… if that ever delivers.

  • Mike Barrett

    says:

    Certainly wouldn’t work in controlled airspace with STARs, noise abatement, radar vectoring for separation and sequencing, blah, blah, blah.

  • Hi Nicholas, the SkyNet REACH ADS-B range is an estimated general maximum of 481klm’s or 260nm (rounded). We use a specifically designed high gain antenna to provide maximum range capability and the location of equipment is vital to achieving even longer ranges. The height of the antenna is also a major factor and most sites are chosen for elevation at around 300 feet or better. Our highest located antenna is in PNG at 8,000 feet and often has to receive ranges far in excess of 260nm. We mainly use data from our own receivers for our client flight network although we do have access to a global aggregated commercial footprint as well where we need to cover areas we have not yet provided sufficient coverage. LASAW is suited to more remote airports and helipads such as Regional Airports, Oil platforms and Hospital helipads to name a few. If you would like to find out more visit http://www.skynetaero.com for full details.

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