Honeywell by the Letters - EGPWS

August 25, 2016 | Author: Carrie Fan


In this edition we look at one of the most significant modern safety systems in the history of aviation, usually just identified by the initialism EGPWS, for Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System.

Wait . . . did I just say "initialism"? Why not call it an acronym?

Strictly speaking, an acronym is a word group like an initialism but it's pronounced as a word. Thus, FAA is an initialism because you don't pronounce it 'fah'; on the other hand, LASER, SCUBA and ADIRS (air data inertial reference system) are acronyms. An abbreviation, by the way, is any contraction of a word or phrase, but it is applied particularly to contractions such as "nm" (nautical mile).

That said, we'll stick with the commonly used "acronym" for our Honeywell By The Letters series.

Honeywell’s living legend of aircraft safety, the recently retired Don Bateman, led a team of engineers that developed the first Ground Proximity Warning System in the 1970s and later, the enhanced GPWS. The team’s innovations help prevent controlled flight into terrain and have been credited with saving thousands of lives.

For his efforts, Bateman was chosen for the National Inventors Hall of Fame in February 2005, joining an exclusive club that numbers fewer than 250 of history’s most prominent inventors, including aviation pioneer Elmer Sperry.

Since developing the first GPWS and, later, EGPWS in 1996, Honeywell has continuously enhanced the EGPWS alerting algorithms and added new features.

Let's take a look at how it works.

EGPWSEGPWS serves as an independent monitor of an aircraft's position relative to surrounding terrain, providing digital aircraft with worldwide protection against Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT), windshear and optional runway incursions/overruns.

The original GPWS concept relied on information from the air data system and radio altimeter. Subsequently, EGPWS combined a worldwide digital terrain database and global positioning system technology.


EGPWSThe latest enhancements bring terrain awareness alerts significantly closer to the runway—as close as 0.25 nm with GPS input.

As a result of EGPWS, the risk of controlled flight into terrain is now said to be 50 times less in Western Europe and North America than it was in 1991, making this one of the biggest success stories in the history of aviation.


For more information, please check out the Honeywell EGPWS website.

Carrie Fan

Carrie Fan

Carrie Fan is a Senior Customer Marketing Manager for Honeywell Aerospace, she currently works for Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific .

Contact Information