C. Donald Bateman
Born Mar 8 1932
Ground Proximity Warning System
Patent Number(s) 3,922,637
C. Donald Bateman has saved the lives of countless airplane passengers
with his system for warning pilots of impending crashes. Bateman's Ground
Proximity Warning System, or GPWS, detects navigational errors leading
to accidents. With GPWS, pilots were notified if they were flying too
low or descending too rapidly. Accident rates fell sharply after GPWS
equipment became mandatory in 1974.
Tragic airline crashes during the 1960s prompted airline owners to reduce
crashes caused when pilots fail to recognize that they are flying too
low or approaching a mountain. Bateman responded with a device that
automatically warned pilots if their aircraft was approaching the ground
or water. The system worked so well that the Federal Aviation Administration
began requiring GPWS in aircraft in 1973.
As technology improved, Bateman and his team of developers created
a series of advances that made their warning systems more effective
and reliable. They added more sophisticated ways of determining the
distance from the aircraft to threatening terrain, provided wind shear
warnings, integrated other avionics systems, and included computerized
colored pictures of topographical data. His innovations to the landing
system, specifically the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, continue
to advance safety within the aviation industry.
Born in 1932, Saskatchewan, Canada, Bateman studied at the University
of Saskatchewan, where he received his degree in electrical engineering.
He continues to work on EGPWS at Honeywell.