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Title:
A SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING WINDSHEAR SIGNALS IN REAL TIME TO AIRCRAFT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/007319
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
The present invention is a system and a method for providing a windshear signal representing windshear conditions to a descending aircraft (16) within a defined radius of an airport (12). The system includes a plurality of sensors (11) positioned at a plurality of locations along the defined radius of the airport (12) that derive information on wind conditions at a given time. The system further includes a processor (13) for processing the derived information on wind conditions to generate the windshear signal. The system still further includes a transmitter (15) for instantaneously relaying the windshear signal to the descending aircraft (16) within the defined radius of the airport (12). In the system the sensors (11) are in communication with the processor (13) and the processor (13) is in communication with the transmitter (15).

Inventors:
GLANTON RICHARD H (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2000/020891
Publication Date:
February 01, 2001
Filing Date:
July 27, 2000
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GLANTON RICHARD H (US)
International Classes:
G01W1/16; G01S13/95; (IPC1-7): B64D/
Foreign References:
US5111400A1992-05-05
US5117359A1992-05-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mcnichol Jr., William J. (1650 Market Place One Liberty Plac, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
I CLAIM
1. A system for providing a windshear signal representing windshear conditions to a descending aircraft within a defined radius of an airport, the system comprising: (a) a plurality of sensors positioned at a plurality of locations along the defined radius of the airport that derive information on wind conditions at a given time; (b) a processor that processes the derived information on wind conditions to generate the windshear signal; and (c) a transmitter that instantaneously relays the windshear signal to the descending aircraft within the defined radius of the airport, wherein said sensors are in communication with the processor and the processor is in communication with the transmitter.
2. A system for providing a windshear signal representing windshear conditions to a descending aircraft within a defined radius of an airport, the system comprising: (a) means for deriving information on wind conditions at a given time from a plurality of locations along the defined radius of the airport; (b) means for processing the derived information on wind conditions to generate the windshear signal; and (c) means for instantaneously relaying the windshear signal to the descending aircraft within the defined radius of the airport.
3. A system for providing a windshear signal representing windshear conditions to a receiving station within a defined geographic location, the system comprising: (a) a plurality of sensors positioned at a plurality of locations along the defined radius of said geographic location that derive information on wind conditions at a given time; (b) a processor that processes the derived information on wind conditions to generate the windshear signal; and (c) a transmitter that instantaneously relays the windshear signal to the receiving stations within the defined radius of said geographic location, wherein said sensors are in communication with the processor and the processor is in communication with the transmitter.
4. A method for providing a windshear signal having a frequency spectrum representing windshear conditions encountered by a descending aircraft within a defined radius of an airport, the method comprising: (a) detecting wind conditions at a given time by means of wind sensors at a plurality of locations along the defined area of the airport, (b) processing wind conditions detected in step (a) to generate the windshear signal; and (c) instantaneously relaying the windshear signal generated in step (b) to the descending aircraft thereby bypassing the control tower to alert the descending aircraft.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the windshear signal includes a signal to provide an indication of wind velocity.
6. The method of claim 4, wherein the windshear signal includes a signal to provide an indication of wind direction.
7. The method of claim 4, wherein said relaying is by means of a microwave transmitter.
8. The method of claim 4, wherein the windshear signal of a frequency spectrum is indicative of hazardous wind conditions for the descending aircraft.
Description:
A SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING WINDSHEAR SIGNALS IN REAL TIME TO AIRCRAFT FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a device for providing windshear signals indicative of windshear conditions in real time to descending aircrafts in airports and to weather receiving stations at various geographical locations. Also provided are methods for producing and relaying windshear signals in real time.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is well known that the velocity and/or direction of the wind can significantly change with relatively small changes in altitudes. This atmospheric instability causes a windshear. Windshear can sometimes pose hazardous situations at low altitudes, for example, when an aircraft is descending through an air mass while making an approach to an airport. For descending aircrafts or aircrafts at low altitudes, these windshears can sometimes be hazardous because they cause an aircraft to lose altitude.

Systems of the prior art generally detect surface windshear. One system for detecting surface windshear conditions employs mechanical wind sensors at a plurality of locations along the defined geographical area. Ground-based radar systems are also being used to detect hazardous windshears. For example, in an airport context, the personnel at the control tower monitor data from the wind sensors or the ground- based radars and alert the pilot of the hazardous windshears. While the present

ground-based systems do provide indication of windshear, the information provided to the pilot is not instantaneous and do not provide sufficient warning time to avoid the windshear area. Information as to the instantaneous windshear condition, i. e. in real time, could alert the pilot readying for making landings and to enable the pilot to take an appropriate action. Thus, this type of information could be highly useful in avoiding accidents. Further, this information could be relayed instantaneously to the control tower for use in warning other aircrafts that are approaching the airports or to other receiving stations in need of windshear information. To the knowledge of the Applicant, no ground-based system has been developed for providing windshear information in real time.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a system for generating windshear signals indicative of windshear in real time.

It is another object of this invention to provide a system for generating windshear signals for use by descending aircrafts about airports.

It is still another object of this invention to provide a system for generating windshear signals indicative of windshear conditions to the receiving stations in need of windshear information.

Other objects of this invention will become apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art as the description of the below mentioned drawings proceeds.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is a system and a method for providing a windshear signal representing windshear conditions to a descending aircraft within a defined radius of an airport. The system includes a plurality of sensors positioned at a plurality of

locations along the defined radius of the airport that derive information on wind conditions at a given time. The system further includes a processor for processing the derived information on wind conditions to generate the windshear signal. The system still further includes a transmitter for instantaneously relaying the windshear signal to the descending aircraft within the defined radius of the airport. In the system of the present invention the sensors are in communication with the processor and the processor is in communication with the transmitter.

In one embodiment, the information is transmitted directly from the transmitter to the aircraft approaching an airport without passing through the control tower. In an alternate embodiment, the information is transmitted from the control tower to the aircraft approaching the airport. In such an embodiment, the processor is located within the control tower. In yet another emodiment, the information is transmitted directly from the transmitter to the receiving stations such as baloons, gliders and hand gliders in a given geographical location.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Fig. 1 is a schematic drawing indicating the basic features of the windshear system to carry out some preferred embodiments of the present invention.

Fig. 2 is a schematic drawing of this windshear system in an alternate preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 3 is a schematic drawing of the windshear system in yet another preferred embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed, among other things, to a system for providing a windshear signal representing windshear conditions in real time in a defined geographic location. Throughout the description of the invention, the system of the present invention is a ground-based system.

Reference will not be made in detail to the present preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same parts.

Turning now to the drawings, an exemplary embodiment of a whindshear signal system incorporating the device of the present invention is shown in Fig. 1 and is designated by reference numeral 100. As embodied and shown in Fig. 1, the signal system incorporating the present invention includes a plurality of wind sensors 11 a processor 13 and a transmitter 15. The system can be used to scan the atmosphere at one or more altitude levels. The wind sensors 11 are positioned at a plurality of locations about an airport 12. The present invention employs wind sensors that are well known in the art. Wind sensors 11 provide the information on wind directions and speeds from a location of about three miles from the airport. Wind sensors 11 provide the information on wind directions and speeds also from an altitude range from the ground which is well known in the art. The information on the wind direction and velocity scanned by the wind sensors 11 is then fed to an appropriate data processor 13 to generate a windshear signal that represents windshear conditions at a given time. The windshear signal generated by the processor 13 is then fed to a transmitter 15 for instantaneously relaying the windshear signal to the descending

aircraft within the defined radius of the airport. The windshear signal transmitted to the aircraft can be deciphered for information on wind speeds and/or directions or an alarm representing windshear conditions. For example, a windshear signal having a particular frequency spectrum is indicative wind speeds and/or directions or an alarm representing windshear conditions. The transmitter 15 can be a microwave, cellular or other suitable transmitter. The windshear signal relayed by the transmitter 15 can be received by pilots in one or more aircrafts 16 approaching the airport runway 17.

The output from the processor 13 can also be fed to the airport's control tower 14 for display to the personnel at the control tower. The personnel can then use the information to alert the aircrafts further away from the airport and the aircrafts not yet making landing attempts to take an appropriate corrective action.

Thus, the present invention improves upon the conventional systems in several aspects. First, the present invention provides a system for instantaneously relaying the windshear signal to the descending aircrafts without having to wait for the control tower personnel to communicate the windshear conditions to the pilots of the aircrafts. Thus, the system provides real time information thereby providing sufficient warning time to permit the avoidance of a windshear area by landing aircrafts. Second, the windshear signal can also be provided for display at the control tower to permit the avoidance of a windshear area by aircrafts beyond the range of the transmitter 15.

Referring now to Fig. 2, a preferred embodiment of the invention is schematically illustrated and is designated by reference numeral 200. In this embodiment, unlike in the embodiment exemplified in Fig. 1, the processor 13 is located in the control tower. Here the windshear signal is displayed at the control tower while being instantaneously relayed by the transmitter 15. Accordingly, the relay by transmitter 15 can be used in conjunction with communication by the control tower personnel to provide a warning to the pilot that a dangerous windshear condition exists. In this

manner, information from two sources can be provided at the same time to warn incoming pilots of dangerous windshear conditions.

While the embodiments in Figs. 1 and 2 have been shown to be useful in guiding pilots of aircrafts approaching the airports, the present invention can be used in providing information on windshear conditions in real time to a number of receiving stations including gliders, hand-gliders, balloon pilots, erectors of high-rise buildings, and radio stations.

Referring now to Fig. 3, another basic embodiment of the present invention is illustrated and is referred by reference number 300. As already mentioned, the system can be used for transmitting windshear signals to a receiving station in any given geographic location 32 that is in need of obtaining local windshear conditions.

The systems illustrated in Figs. 1,2 and 3, can be further optimized to provide additional advisory information such as ground moisture and temperature conditions.

The criteria for generating and transmitting windshear warming could be modified as a function of ground moisture, temperature and various other parameters.

While this invention has been described with a reference to specific embodiments, it will be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art that variations in these systems and methods can be used and that it is intended that the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims.