New navigation system for airplanes modernizes old technology

Jun 04, 2013

(Phys.org) —Research at Oregon State University has developed a new airplane navigation system based on concepts that were developed in the 1940s but are still popular and affordable, and it uses new technology to make the system even smaller, simpler and more accurate.

The new product is just one inch tall – half the size of other navigational systems on the market – and should be of special interest for the homebuilt airplane market, its designers say.

It was created by three OSU seniors in electrical and computer engineering and improves UHF-VHF . Called the NAV 2000, the system is the newest product for VAL Avionics, an Oregon company that already has several orders pending.

The receives and processes signals and a separate navigational indicator unit translates the information for the pilot. It's compatible with several indicator systems including the old-style needle display, and a more modern called an electronic flight instrument system.

According to the developers, this approach is more affordable than the use of newer and more expensive GPS technology.

"Much of the equipment that is out there still uses the old analog technology," said James MacInnes, one of the student designers. "As an aspiring electrical engineer, I felt that we should look at simplifying and improving upon that technology to receive the UHF-VHF signal."

The system can direct pilots from point-to-point using signals broadcast by airport and other towers, and guide airplanes for landings with existing runway transmitters. The unit conveys both horizontal and vertical information which allows pilots to land even in poor visibility conditions.

"I'm incredibly impressed with how accurate the students have been able to make this system," said Jim Harr, president of VAL Avionics. "It's more accurate than anything I've seen."

Explore further: New tech aims to improve communication between dogs and humans

Related Stories

US army seeks new technology to replace GPS

Apr 25, 2013

The US army is working to limit its dependence on GPS by developing the next generation of navigation technology, including a tiny autonomous chip, the director of the Pentagon's research agency said Wednesday.

Head-up display wins top navigation prize in Munich

Oct 27, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A navigation system making use of something called "True3D" technology has won the top prize in this year's European Satellite Navigation Competition in Munich, Germany. The ESNC is an international ...

Recommended for you

Study says upgrading infrastructure could reduce flood damage

Oct 29, 2014

The severe flooding that devastated a wide swath of Colorado last year might have been less destructive if the bridges, roads and other infrastructure had been upgraded or modernized, according to a new study from the University ...

Walk through buildings from your own device

Oct 29, 2014

Would you like to visit The Frick Collection art museum in New York City but can't find the time? No problem. You can take a 3-D virtual tour that will make you feel like you are there, thanks to Yasutaka ...

'Ambulance drone' prototype unveiled in Holland

Oct 28, 2014

A Dutch-based student on Tuesday unveiled a prototype of an "ambulance drone", a flying defibrillator able to reach heart attack victims within precious life-saving minutes.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jshloram
not rated yet Jun 04, 2013
Still in the vaporware stage, seems to be old VOR technology which is being phased out by the FAA. (http://www.flying...overage) Can't imagine why anyone would chose to buy this. On the other hand it must have been a fun senior's EE project.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.