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Sun, Oct 31, 2004

South African Pilot Patents Night Landing System

Angled reflectors designed to help rescue teams and pilots land in rural areas at night

Back in September, we reported that Gavin Brown had developed a novel portable runway threshold lighting system for night operation at runways in rural areas that lack electrical power.

Brown has now improved his system by desiging and patenting a new night landing system that can be used in rural unlit landing areas and runways. The system uses angled reflectors placed along the edge of the runway or desired landing area, and is designed to assist rescue aircraft and pilots landing at night on fields where electrical facilities for runway lights are not available.

The ingenious system uses the aircraft's own landing lights during the flaring portion of the landing to light up the runway. The system, which was tested at the Waterkloof South African Air Force facility, can be seen from as many as several kilometers away, depending on the brightness of the landing lights on the aircraft.

The system has just received approval by the South African Civil Aviation Authority for nighttime rescue work by air units.

"I have had a lot of responses from people in rural runways and also town runways that don't have runway lights," said Brown to the South African Broadcasting Corp.
"I had inquiries from Uganda and Namibia. I had people e-mailing me from America and Australia. I had inquiries from Madagascar as well. So, it looks like quite a big world wide response to this system."

FMI: www.cipro.gov.za

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