Honeywell’s Don Bateman Inducted Into National Inventors Hall Of Fame


Honeywell engineer Don Bateman, inventor of the Ground Proximity Warning System, was named as one of 13 persons that will be inducted this year into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Bateman, Chief of Technology for Honeywell’s Commercial Electronic Systems business, led a team of engineers that developed the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) in the 1970s and the improved Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) in the 1990s.

“Don’s inventions have saved literally thousands of lives, and no one deserves this honor more than he,” said Frank Daly, President of Honeywell Commercial Electronic Systems.

The EGPWS is now mandatory in the United States for turbine aircraft with at least six passenger seats, and similar laws are in effect in most of the world. As a result of these mandates, aircraft accident rates have declined dramatically.

In the United States, for example, before the development of GPWS and EGPWS, there were about 10 aircraft crashes and hundreds of deaths every year as a result of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). For the last several years, the annual CFIT rate in the United States has been nearly zero. CFIT is defined as where a pilot has the aircraft under control but unknowingly flies into terrain, usually in poor visibility.

The original GPWS used a computer to analyze data from a radio altimeter, providing pilots with a voice warning when approaching terrain.

To create the EGPWS, Bateman’s team added information on aircraft location from a Global Positioning System and terrain elevations from a terrain data base. The improved system provides earlier warnings of about one minute in advance of the terrain as well as a moving map display that keeps pilots aware of surrounding terrain features even when outside visibility is poor.

Bateman is one of six living inventors being inducted into the Hall this year. Seven persons are being inducted posthumously.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association established the National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in Akron, Ohio, in 1973.

Honeywell International is a $26 billion diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, Chicago and Pacific Stock Exchanges. It is one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is also a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. Based in Phoenix, Honeywell’s aerospace business is a leading global provider of integrated avionics, engines, systems and service solutions for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, business and general aviation, military, space and airport operations.

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