Honeywell’s Bateman Leaves Helicopter Safety Legacy

Don BatemanFlight safety is a priority for everyone in the helicopter community, but few people have had as much impact on safety as Honeywell’s Don Bateman.

Bateman was the brains behind the very first Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) and the more advanced Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS). These technologies are credited with saving countless lives over the last four decades by dramatically reducing controlled flight into terrain incidents in helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

After more than 56 years with the company, Bateman retired in June. He passes the EGPWS leadership torch to Allalaghatta Pavan, Senior Technical Manager, and a dedicated Honeywell engineering team that continues to develop EGPWS enhancements to improve safety and situational awareness for helicopter operators.

Several EGPWS upgrades are in the works, including the addition of a new offshore mode designed especially for operators in the oil and gas industry and others who need to land their helicopters on offshore platforms.

Included are sophisticated algorithms that detect and warn pilots when their aircraft are descending too quickly and a new “airspeed low” warning that alerts pilots of the need to increase speed during takeoff. In addition, Honeywell is working on future updates to the EGPWS obstacle database to include power lines and electrical towers, providing pilots with improved ability to avoid these potential hazards.

Situational awareness is particularly important in helicopter operations, given the fact that helicopters spend a larger percentage of their flight time operating at low altitudes, in all kinds of weather and in often rugged terrain to accomplish critical missions like search and rescue, homeland security and law enforcement, and oil and gas operations.

The Honeywell EGPWS uses aircraft inputs such as position, altitude, air speed and glide slope and a comprehensive database of terrain, man-made obstacle and runways to provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness. The system provides aural and visual alerts that enable pilots to take diversionary action and avoid accidents.

Honeywell has developed two helicopter-specific EGPWS offerings:

  • The MK XXI EGPWS is ideal for VFR-equipped lighter helicopters without radio altimeters. It includes an internal global positioning system card and is ready to interface with weather radar indicators, multifunction displays and stand-alone displays.
  • Our MK XXII EGPWS offers highly advanced safety functions for larger IFR-equipped helicopters with radio altimeters. In addition to standard EGPWS modes, it provides unique callouts for excessive bank angles, tail strike protection and autorotation. In addition to providing data for graphical display, the system provides aural terrain callouts for an added measure of safety.

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