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Five Times Honeywell was First in Safety Innovation

Five Times Honeywell was First in Safety Innovation


The entire aviation industry is closely focused on safety, but how many can say they were the first to develop a major safety innovation that saved lives? Here are four times Honeywell led the way, and one field in which we’re pushing the boundaries.

Ground Proximity Warning

In 1975, Honeywell engineers developed the first Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) to help eliminate controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). Our subsequent advancement introduced in 1996, Enhanced GPWS (EGPWS), combined a worldwide digital terrain database and global positioning system (GPS) technology. These innovations have been credited with saving thousands of lives.

Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance

The Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) was designed to prevent in-air collisions by monitoring the airspace around an aircraft while warning pilots of the presence of other transponder-equipped aircraft. In 1990, Honeywell’s BendixKing became the first company to receive FAA manufacturing authorization.

Wake Turbulence

As airports and airspaces become more crowded, the issue of wake turbulence—when disruption from a large aircraft creates turbulence for following aircraft—will become more serious. Our Surface Indications and Alert System (SURF IA) is the first system to visually show pilots whether their aircraft will come into contact with dangerous wake turbulence.

On-Board Oxygen Generation

Carrying the necessary oxygen for high altitude flight can create space and weight issues, particularly on smaller platforms. Honeywell developed On-Board Oxygen Generation Systems technology in the 1980s to allow aircraft to generate their own oxygen during flight.

Autonomous Flight

While we weren’t the first or only organization to contribute to the safety of autonomous flight, by combining our space exploration and inertial measurement unit (IMU) experience, we have led the way. NASA’s InSight Mars Lander successfully landed using our Miniature IMU (MIMU) to guide the lander’s entry, descent and landing phase via 100% automated navigation—yes, you read that correctly, there was no GPS and no human intervention to land on Mars.

These innovations came about through our deep understanding of the needs and challenges faced by the aviation industry. With a portfolio that spans network connectivity, hardware, software and services, we are uniquely positioned to create the next great breakthrough in aviation safety.

Kathryn Kearney
Content Marketing Specialist
Katie Kearney is the global content marketing specialist for Honeywell Aerospace.


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