Current Airport/Airline Problem
Commercial planes are required to have an average of 600 feet of visibility to take off depending upon the aircraft and the airport; however, with instruments, they can land with less visibility. This discrepancy creates time delays and back ups when planes can land, but can’t take off again.
Another problem is runway incursions. We are told from interviews with commercial airline pilots that often it is difficult to see the existing lighting that indicates whether or not the runway is clear. In FY – 2018 there were 1832 runway incursions according to the FAA.
The third problem that we hear about from pilots is airports that are close in proximity. There are some airports that are within 20 miles of each other making it easy to accidentally land at the wrong airport. I would have never believed this to be a problem if I hadn’t heard it from more than one commercial airline pilot.
The Solution – Laser Runway Lighting System
We envision a laser fence running down the sides of the runways used in conjunction with current lighting methods. Incandescent lights or LEDs that are currently used on runways are diffused when there is a significant amount of particulate matter in the air such as fog, rain, snow, etc. However, lasers are not diffused and the more particulate matter, the brighter the beam. Therefore, when a typical runway light (incandescent or LED) cannot be seen in poor visibility conditions, the laser will be highly visible.
A potential solution to the second problem is utilizing a fanned out laser beam pointed at the ground to create a color code wall of light. This will be far easier for a pilot to differentiate whether the runway is clear to taxi over.
A potential solution to the third problem is a color coded laser beam projecting straight up in the air thus differentiating one airport from its neighboring airport.
- Time savings for the airlines and airports as a direct result from a decrease in delays.
- Cost savings for airlines and airports due to reduction in delays.
- Improved perception of air travel industry due to decrease in delays.
- Increased safety due to greater visibility.
- Decrease in runway incursions.
- Decrease in accidentally landing at the wrong airport.