Innovations in Aerial Navigation

Navigation has come on leaps and bounds since the earliest days of aviation. In the 1910s, as aircraft developments and innovations saw flight become increasingly safer and more dependable, the commercial applications and benefits of flight was explored.

Maritime navigation vs aerial navigation

Until flight was achieved and refined, navigation was a term largely associated with the maritime sector. However, maritime navigation techniques were difficult to apply to aerial navigation.

The most significant factor that meant that traditional maritime techniques could not be applied was the greater speed of the aircraft. Using a sextant, an aircraft could capture celestial observations but by the time the calculations were run to fix the position, the aircraft would be tens of miles away from its original position.

Visual navigation

In 1923, the US Congress released funding for the construction of an East-West transcontinental air mail route between New York and San Francisco. By 1925, 284 stations were built. A large concrete arrow would be installed in the ground at the station to point the way to the next waypoint. A light beacon was erected at the same location to aid night-time visual navigation.

This innovation vastly reduced the time it took to transport mail and freight coast-to-coast – from three days to thirty-three hours. Yet, this means of navigation was only applicable when weather conditions permitted. Any deterioration in visibility could lead to delays.

Radio navigation

It was conceived that an aircraft could be fitted with radio-magnetic equipment capable of detecting radio transmissions. To overcome errors and delays caused by poor visibility, an aircraft could detect the transmission of a given frequency and track its origin. Aircraft could now navigate point-to-point directly – an aircraft could track the transmission until overhead the station, then begin tracking the next frequency down route.

This means of navigation developed into the VHF Omni-directional Range station (VOR), still in use today. The VOR station projects a wavelength on a set frequency, but out of phase for every 1 degree. This allows aircraft to track inbound to the VOR on a specific radial. This allows for more accurate, precise and safe passage – especially in the case of high terrain.

VOR-to-VOR navigation led to the conception of airways. The radials that join VORs have become the ‘highways of the sky’ – single or bi-direction lanes for controlled traffic.

Satellite navigation

While radio navigation allowed for precise flight, point-to-point, between VOR stations, accurate and safe flight away from these defined routes could not be guaranteed. With the advent of GPS, this navigation challenge has since been overcome.

Aircraft can now navigate to and from any fixed point on the globe via satellite coverage, this ability is known as area navigation. The GPS satellite constellation consists of twenty-four satellites, but only four satellites are required to be in range for accurate 4-dimensional position fixing. The first three dimensions to determine the 3D position, and the fourth to determine time. This additional dimension allows the aircraft to forecast its future position.

To learn more about modern navigation systems and how Bayanat Engineering can support your operation, contact our expert team today.

Data in aviation: 6 ways to leverage data and improve flight operations

Data is becoming increasingly crucial in aviation as airlines look for ways to improve operations and cut costs. While data has always been used to track flights and weather conditions, new technology is making it possible to collect and analyse data in new ways. This article explores ways airlines can use data to improve flight operations and make air travel safer.

Using data to streamline air traffic management

Two examples of systems that use data to manage air traffic are Air Traffic Management (ATM) Automation Systems and Vessel Traffic Management Systems (VTMS). Both systems use data to track the movement of aircraft and vessels and ensure that they follow the correct routes.

Using surveillance data to improve safety and efficiency

In an effort to improve safety and efficiency in aviation, the use of surveillance data has become increasingly commonplace. By analysing data collected from aircraft, airports, and other sources, authorities can identify potential safety issues and take steps to mitigate them. For example, they can use data to detect drones and prevent them from causing harm. Additionally, this data can be used to improve efficiency by identifying areas where congestion or delays are likely to occur.

Using data for communication

It is no secret that communication is key in aviation. After all, clear and concise communication between pilots and air traffic control is what keeps everyone safe in the skies. By using data to improve communication, pilots and air traffic controllers can ensure that everyone is on the same page – literally.

UHF/VHF radio communications are the backbone of aviation communication. By using data to improve these communications, you can ensure that everyone communicates clearly and effectively.

Using data for navigation

The use of data to improve navigation in aviation can be seen in the development of Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME). ILS uses data from various sources to provide pilots with information on the approach and landing of an aircraft. DME uses data from ground stations to provide pilots with information on the distance between the aircraft and the ground station. These systems have greatly improved the safety and efficiency of aviation operations.

Using data to improve passenger & terminal operations

Passenger tracking systems, such as those based on the Common Use Terminal Equipment/Common Use Passenger Processing System (CUTE/CUPPS) platform, allow airlines and airports to track passengers throughout the travel process, from check-in to boarding. This information can be used to improve everything from customer service to security. In addition, data from passenger check-in and boarding solutions can be used to improve airport capacity planning and operations.

Using data for managing weather & meteorology

Automated Weather Observing Systems (AWOS) and Weather RADARs are examples of how data can be used to improve weather management. By collecting data from these sources, meteorologists can more accurately predict weather patterns and issue warnings when necessary. This can help to save lives and protect property by giving people the information they need to make informed decisions.

We hope this list of potential uses for data in aviation will help you think creatively about ways to apply it in your flight operations. A key step in making this happen will be simply identifying the correct people who can advance these projects forward.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how they can help you achieve greater efficiency in your flight operations.

A guide to air traffic control during large events

Air traffic control is an incredibly vital aspect of aircraft systems and aerospace. Controllers are trained to ensure that aircraft stay safe distances apart from each other while in the air, moving from one airport to another via set routes. Without air traffic control, there would be no protection against aircraft colliding, following incorrect routes or running into bad weather conditions.

But how does air traffic control work during large events when there are perhaps more aircraft in the sky than normal? In this blog, we will explore how air traffic control works during large events and its importance.

What is air traffic control?

Air traffic control consists of many different components and people who work together to move aircraft safely through the airspace system. This includes airport to airport, as well as military operations. Aircraft in the airways system (which is similar to a motorway in the sky) are handled by many different global companies.

Airlines will send a flight plan to air traffic control so that everyone involved with the flight is aware of the details. Controllers at an airport will be located in an airport’s control tower and will communicate with pilots to give them permission to take off. Each controller is responsible for aircraft in a set piece of airspace, and when a plane reaches the edge of this sector it will hand over to the next controller until it is handed over to the controller of the destination.

Most airliners are monitored using radar in airways known as “controlled airspace”. Outside of this is called “uncontrolled” airspace which is used by the military and recreational pilots.

What happens during major events?

Air traffic control aims to prepare pilots so that they are completely safe throughout their journey. When major events occur, there is a higher level of preparation needed. The busiest time for most airports, especially tourist destinations, tends to be in July and August when most people are jetting off for their summer holidays, so many air controllers are needed during this time to avoid delays as much as possible for the thousands of passengers passing through. December can often be more problematic, however, as poor winter weather conditions in much of the West combined with Christmas travelers can often result in delays while planes are de-iced and fog, snow, and rain are attempted to be avoided.

This will be especially relevant in December of 2022 when Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup and footballers, teams, and fans from across the globe travel to Qatar for the biggest sporting event on the calendar. The main airport is expected to be incredibly busy – even more so than usual, even after serving 7.14 million passengers in the first quarter of this year. But it has been ranked as the world’s best airport, so the air traffic controllers should be well prepared for the huge influx of football fans.

Radar in military operations and its importance

The first early warning radar network in the world was developed by Britain during World War 2 to provide warning of approaching German bombers and was a major factor that helped save lives and win the war. Called the Chain Home Radar, it was cutting-edge technology at the time and has only developed since, with radar still being used for military operations today. In this blog, we’ll run down what types of radar are used in military operations and their importance.

What is radar?

Before we get into that, though, let’s run through what radar is and how it works. A radar system transmits a high-frequency signal towards a target, which then bounces off the target and returns. The radar can then use the information that it has received from this to identify the target’s position and speed. It can be airborne, ground-based or underwater. Because of this very subtle but accurate and helpful method, it is used by military operations across the world for both defence and offensive purposes. We will now list some of these operations.

Detective/search radars

Like the Chain Home Radar, these work by transmitting a short pulse of radio waves to search large regions. Technology has advanced so modern versions of search radars are more accurate but they remain as important to military operations as they were during WW2. They can be used to determine the approximate range, velocity and angle of aircraft and ships and are key in protecting airspace and ocean boundaries as well as early warning detection and target acquisition of enemies in war zones.

Targeting radars

Similarly to detective radars, targeting radars search for targets but they are different in that they focus on small zones more frequently in order to lock onto a specific target, rather than searching for potential threats. This is vitally important to differentiate between moving targets, stationary targets and clutter so that military operations can be as efficient and informed as possible.

Instrumentation radars

Instrumentation radars are a form of tracking radars which are used by militaries across the world to measure metric data on equipment like aircraft, missiles, projectiles and satellites. This is essential for evaluating the performance of equipment at military test facilities so their effectiveness can be measured and the correct item chosen for use.

Weather-sensing radars

Weather radars use pulse doppler radar systems to bounce microwave signals off clouds and rain to measure weather conditions. This is used by militaries for air traffic control, in order to “see” what the weather is like ahead and safely know if the conditions will affect operations, both during the flight of an aircraft and at airports.

Navigational radars

Like search radars, navigational radars use short wavelengths that bounce off targets. However, navigational radars target natural obstacles such as earth and stone, used so that ships and aircraft can avoid collision and know where they are going. This is essential for mobile military operations to prevent avoidable delays.

The latest innovations in aeronautics and aerospace for 2022

Aeronautics and aerospace are two of the most innovative industries in the world, working to create new and exciting developments that harness the latest technologies available. The latest innovations in these industries include new uses for drone technology, solar power for space exploration and augmented reality flight training. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the latest innovations coming from the aerospace and aeronautics industries to see what’s in store for the future.

Solar-powered space exploration

Space exploration has never been an energy-efficient process, with rockets and probes using high-powered thrusters to break out of Earth’s orbit and manoeuvre in outer space. However, the latest scout rocket from NASA, known as the Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) Scout, harnesses the power of the sun to traverse space. Featuring a huge solar sail constructed out of superthin plastic, the scout catches sunbeams while in space and converts them into energy. The NEA Scout is able to reach speeds of up to 5,000 mph to keep pace with asteroids and map out their surface. What’s more, it’s incredibly cost-effective compared to traditional, fuel-filled missions at around $30 million.

Augmented reality flight training

Military pilots are some of the best-trained pilots in the world, with seemingly inhuman reaction times and the ability to command the skies in high-powered fighter jets. New helmet-based technology that uses augmented reality is the latest innovation to make these incredible pilots even more adaptable. The Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS) gives pilots an opportunity to develop skills mid-flight by creating realistic scenarios in augmented reality. Pilots will see augmented enemy aircraft and run various training exercises without the risk of flying into other jets.

In-air drone refuelling

Although in-air refuelling for aircraft has been with us for decades at this point, it’s a highly specialised process that requires expert pilots and high-tech equipment. It also ties up other expensive aircraft to do the refuelling, which adds to the costs of refuelling in the air. However, the MQ-25 Stingray is a drone plane that aims to streamline the process. These drones have already successfully worked alongside F/A18s, F-35 Cs and E-2Ds and made history by becoming the first unmanned aircraft to successfully fuel another aircraft.

Reusable rocket systems

Rocket launches are incredibly wasteful missions, with the vast majority of the rocket used in the initial stages of the launch before breaking away as debris. The latest rocket designs from SpaceX hope to change this by creating a fully reusable rocket system. The Starship is designed to launch out of Earth’s orbit and reach the moon or Mars before returning in a beautifully choreographed vertical landing.

The Starship program has had a few hiccups in the early stages, with some expensive failures in initial tests. However, in May 2022, Starship successfully performed a vertical landing that wowed the industry. It’s no easy feat though, as the Starship requires some truly massive booster rockets to help with the launch and landing. With that said, it’s still a much more affordable option compared to traditional rocket launches.

The different types of communication in airports, and how they stay secure

Communication is one of the most integral parts of an airport, ensuring that operations run efficiently, smoothly and safely. Learn more about the different systems and security networks that play a core role in the ways that airports communicate below.

UHF/VHF Radio Communications

One of the most common methods aircraft use when communicating with one another is UHF/VHF radio communications. This stands for Ultra-High and Very High-Frequency radio communications, transmitting audio over a high-frequency radio signal through the air and to the ground. The range of these systems varies wildly depending on the power that different airports use, with radios having the ability to function across dozens of miles. Using such a high-quality system ensures communication is clear and reliable.

Voice Communication Control Systems (VCCS)

A Voice Communication Control System is one of the more crucial systems available for an air traffic control tower. This system enables workers to communicate with a range of aircraft and airports, using a decentralised and Cloud-hosted system that processes voice data and transmits it to all of the right aircraft whenever necessary.

Air traffic control towers have a number of responsibilities, including advising and updating pilots about nearby planes and hazardous conditions, issuing landing and take-off authorisation, and transferring control of departing flights to traffic control centres. Having a VCCS in place means that an airport has full control over who it talks to and when it talks to them at all times, making ongoing dialogue across busy airspace like that of Qatar’s Hamad International Airport much simpler.

Air-to-Ground Communications

In addition to ground-to-air communication reporting instructions and guidance to pilots, the inverse is just as important for better airport communication. Air-to-ground communications systems ensure that pilots inform airports about any issues with the aircraft or passengers on board. This means that the pilot is able to work closely with the airport to plan a solution to any ongoing problems, such as preparing paramedics on the ground or completing an emergency landing. Safety is the most important part of running an airport, and pilots retaining a constant method of communication with controllers ensures everyone remains safe and secure.

Compliance and Legal Recording Systems

Communication is integral to the successful operation of any airport, and in the event that something goes awry, authorities have to conduct investigations as soon as feasibly possible. This means that having comprehensive compliance and legal recording systems is essential. Planes and airports record their communications constantly, which means that in the event of an audit, the airport can demonstrate that it meets the required standards of communication. Completing the communication itself is an important part of the process, but recording is just as essential for guaranteeing quality.

If you’re interested in learning more about communication systems or tailoring the communication systems of your facility, get in touch with the Bayanat Engineering team today and find out more about the range of different communications options available for an airport.

Prioritising the Passenger Journey

When working in an airport, keeping planes running on schedule and in a timely manner is important. After all, this makes sure that the airport keeps operating and generating revenue. However, an airport isn’t able to keep working effectively without its passengers. Learn more about how airports prioritize the passenger journey, and just some of the ways airports keep their passengers safe.

Information Display Systems

Although something that slips the mind of many people when thinking about passenger safety, one of the most important tools at Hamad International Airport’s disposal is the Information Display System. Combining screens with advanced software, these systems provide passengers with a wealth of information including the gates they need to travel to, any delays to their flights and ideal routes through the airport. This prevents crowding in certain areas and provides passengers with peace of mind, so everyone knows that they can make it to their flight in a timely manner.

Baggage Handling Systems

When you arrive at an airport, you get to the check-in desk, hand in your baggage, and wait for the flight. This process has very little chance of causing harm to a passenger- until it goes wrong. Arriving at your destination without baggage has the potential to cause distress and make people more worried about their stay in another country. Hamad International Airport invests significantly in ensuring that baggage handling systems are as efficient as possible. Modern baggage handling systems implement AI and machine learning as a means of tracking individual bags, limiting the rate of baggage loss and helping more and more people have seamless experiences in airports.

Runway/Airside Surveillance

Airports are one of the most threatened pieces of infrastructure when it comes to nonviolent and violent protests. This includes people chaining themselves to planes and seeking to cause harm on the airside of the airport. This is where CCTV-based runway surveillance is a key part of protecting passengers. CCTV-based surveillance tracks potential threats throughout the airport and makes sure that security services can respond, keeping passengers safe and limiting the risk of someone disrupting the day-to-day work of the airport.

Passenger Tracking Systems

In addition to tracking movement on the runway side of the airport, airports keep track of movement in the terminal itself. These are Passenger Tracking Systems and are a key part of developing a better idea of where passengers go both before and after their flights. Using a combination of AI and CCTV cameras, airports track the typical movements of groups of passengers and look for “chokepoints” in which too many people arrive at one time. This means that the airport can implement more systems that guide passengers away from these areas, leading to a more efficient system of movement through an airport. Not only does this prevent crashes and keep people safe, but it also makes sure that people are as comfortable as can be in an airport.

If you’re interested in the key systems Hamad International Airport uses in its day-to-day operations and have an interest in developing systems of your own, get in touch with the Bayanat Engineering team today to find out more.

Solutions in the Meteorology Industry you probably did not know exist

The meteorological industry works with the weather, forecasting weather conditions, researching, modeling, and more for various sectors, organizations, and governments. While meteorological findings and developments are critical for a wide variety of industries, they are especially needed in the world of civil and military engineering and aerospace. But what sort of unique solutions exist in the meteorological industry that the average person won’t know about? Keep reading on to find out more.

Wind profilers

Wind profilers are weather-observing instruments that use sound waves to determine wind speed and direction at different elevations. This is especially useful when it comes to flight planning, as knowing the exact speed and direction of the wind is instrumental in ensuring a safe take-off and landing. Wind profilers are also helpful when it comes to detecting turbulent wind and instabilities in the atmosphere.

But that’s not all wind profilers do.

While wind profilers are helpful when it comes to determining wind levels, they are also helpful in aviation weather forecasting. With the correct use of a wind profiler, experts can obtain critical information about weather changes resulting in fog, thunderstorms, and more. This critical data is necessary to mitigate risks in the aviation industry and helps protect passengers and pilots alike. Wind profilers are imperative in preventing emergencies from occurring.

Lightning detection systems

Did you know that there are sophisticated instruments out there that can detect electromagnetic pulses emitted by lighting? It’s true! Lightning detection systems are able to calculate the direction and magnitude of lightning from various locations. They also provide critical data for airports to make quick decisions when it comes to flying safely.

Lightning detection systems are used every day in weather models and have a strong impact on weather forecasts. Having this data readily available allows quick decisions to be made and advanced warnings to be issued if needed. This allows decision-makers to be equipped with all the information needed to keep their passengers and guests safe.

Automated weather observing system (AWOS)

Have you ever wondered how there seems to be continuous data available about weather conditions? You can thank automated weather observing systems (AWOS) for that! Automated weather observing systems are airport weather systems that can be fully configurated for each airport.

They provide ongoing information and reports about airport weather conditions and measure a wide variety of parameters to keep airports running smoothly and safely. While they not only are able to detect temperature and dew point, they can also help determine runway surface conditions, making it incredibly helpful for decision-makers to make safe decisions when it comes to take-off and landing.

AWOS can also detect wind speed, visibility, sky condition, precipitation, thunderstorms, freezing rain, and more! These systems are able to dissect weather data in a variety of ways to provide alerts and warnings on current conditions. This sophisticated system is a definite requirement for any airport wanting to have as much weather data as possible when making decisions that could impact the safety of passengers and staff.

Meteorological solutions provided by experts

When it comes to meteorological solutions, it’s important to work with world-class experts who specialize in civil and military engineering and aerospace solutions. Here at Bayanat Engineering, we have delivered excellent and precise solutions for the world’s leading airports since 1983. If you’re looking to work with the top authority when it comes to meteorological solutions in the aviation industry, get in touch today to find out how we can help.

What are Large Event Security Solutions?

With the world finally getting back to normal, we’ve seen some of our favorite events resume, from Glastonbury to the Olympics. During large events like these, airports often act as thoroughfares for celebrities, musicians, players, and visitors during these periods. Hamad International will face this challenge in December as the Football World Cup comes to Qatar. Large events like this bring their own unique security challenges. In this article, we discuss some of the security solutions airports use for large events and why they are such an important part of airport operations.

Why are security solutions important?

Before learning more about the specific security solutions in place, it’s important to know why large events require such security. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t exclusively to protect the event itself. Having a high level of security in place for large events means that airports, which likely see an increase in visitor numbers during this time, can handle the influx of passengers and keep everyone safe.

Large event security solutions

Some of the specific security solutions airports use for large events include:

Runway and Airside Surveillance

Runway and Airside Surveillance is one of the most important parts of the process of keeping an airport safe and secure. This is first because airside surveillance ensures that nobody can get near the planes on the ground. With a primary focus on using CCTV to detect people on the runway, airports find potential threats before they get near VIPs or large events taking place on the airside of the airport. CCTV is accompanied by RADAR systems, so there is a constant and coherent detection system in place protecting the large event from intruders.

Drone detection systems

When protecting a large event, stopping threats from the ground alone will not necessarily suffice. That’s why airports have drone detection systems in place. Drone detection systems constantly scan the skies around an airport, looking for unmanned aerial vehicles that are looking to do harm to an aircraft or a large event. If a drone detection system finds a drone in the area, security services move into action and the airport takes steps to remove the drone. This protects the event from innovative threats such as aerial attacks.

Cyber security

Aside from threats in the physical domain, modern wrongdoers consider a wide range of angles of attack. This includes cyberspace. Having a good level of cybersecurity in place means that airports have a strong layer of protection from innovative lines of attack. Airport communications and utilities stay consistent when the airport uses cybersecurity for large events, and there is no interruption to the day’s events as a result of an airport’s network being turned against itself.

If you’re interested in large event security solutions, or any other essential airport infrastructure, get in touch with the Bayanat Engineering team today to find out more about our airport services and systems.

Airfield Ground Lighting Systems

Across the globe, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) stipulates a standardized system of ground lighting to be installed at major airfields. Airfield lighting systems are designed to safely guide aircraft between the gate and the runway at night and in low visibility.

Further to assisting aircraft on the ground, there are also ground-based lighting systems intended to aid aircraft in the air.

Taxiway Lighting

Once an aircraft is pushed back and en route to the runway, the aircraft is mandated to follow taxiway markings. The main visual marking to follow is the taxiway centreline. The centreline is painted yellow with a black outline and the aircraft’s nosewheel is intended to track its course. At night, this taxiway centreline is illuminated with green omnidirectional lights every fifty feet.

Wherever a taxiway crosses a runway or leads on and off a live runway, these green lights alternate with a fixed yellow to indicate to the crew their proximity to the runway.

To delineate the width of the taxiway, a blue taxiway edge light is installed at intervals no less than fifty feet apart. On longer stretches of the taxiway, like those that run parallel to a runway, the spacing between each light can extend up to two hundred feet.

Runway Lighting

Runway lighting systems can vary depending on the size and operation of the runway. Most major airports will feature a runway with a runway centreline lighting system (RCLS). In the direction of take-off and landing, the centreline lights are fixed white lights embedded into the runway with an interval of fifty feet.

To indicate the aircraft is approaching the end of the runway, from nine hundred meters the lights change to an alternating red-and-white indication. For the last three hundred meters, the centreline lights change to red to indicate the end of the runway is approaching.

Similar to taxiways, runways also have edge lights to indicate the width of the available runway. Like the runway centreline lighting system, the edge lights are fixed white lights. Unlike the embedded variety installed on the centreline, these are raised lights. For the last two thousand feet, or one-third of the runway, whichever is less, the runway edge lights change to amber.

For aircraft landing at night, it can be difficult to identify the aircraft’s touchdown zone. To aid in night-time landing operations, instrument runways will include rows of white bar lights embedded on either side of the centreline. These are installed at thirty or sixty-meter intervals for nine hundred meters to indicate the touchdown zone.

Approach Lighting Systems

At night, an approach lighting system (ALS) can be followed to guide aircraft to the runway. Typically, these systems are an extension of the runway centreline. An ALS consists of lightbars and strobe lights that flash in sequence towards the runway. These systems can extend up to nine hundred meters from the runway threshold and are particularly effective in low visibility operations.

Find out more

Bayanat Engineering is an industry-leading expert in airport ground lighting systems. Contact our knowledgeable team today to learn how Bayanat Engineering can help drive your organization forward.