November 10, 1998

Flight Test of GPS-Based Terrain Avoidance System Proclaimed a Winner at the FAA Tech Center

November 10, 1998


The official FAA Report follows:


"A briefing was held in Conference Room 308 in the Hangar at the William J. Hughes Technical Center on November 10, 1998 at 9:45 AM to demonstrate the Position Integrity GPS-Based Terrain Avoidance System.  Mr. Robert Severino came from Irvine, California to demonstrate his company's system; Mr. David Lawrence and two pilots flew a Pilatus PC12, single engine turbo prop from Colorado to give demo flights to interested attendees at the meeting." 


"The GPS-Based Terrain Avoidance System began as a Small Business Innovation Research project under the Technology Reinvestment Project in 1993 and has since become an Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II and Phase III with the US Army and US Navy which is flight testing the system.  It is a genuine success story." 


"This GPS-based terrain avoidance and navigation system is designed to help prevent Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) and improve situational awareness for the pilot.  Two software packages "TerrAvoid" and “Position Integrity” combine GPS data with high-resolution maps of the earth's topography.  "TerrAvoid" graphically shows pilots if they are flying dangerously close to mountains, while "Position Integrity" is a moving map that details the aircraft's exact position.  The terrain avoidance system features a color graphics display of terrain and obstacle data in a 60 nautical mile region around the aircraft, showing the highest elevations in the warmest colors (green-safe, yellow and red -highest).  Six terrain avoidance profiles of TSO C92c are used to perform the safety mode checks.  The real-time navigation display system provides up to four windows of moving maps, photo-imagery, or shaded relief depictions around the aircraft using a variety of aeronautical geosets provided to users on CD-ROM's.  At present the data is based on 100 meter postings.  The Egyptian military has incorporated the terrain-avoidance software in unmanned air vehicles.   The SOCOM wearable computer uses the software for graphic display and tactical control. "


"Mr. Severino brings together public access data from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Goddard Space Flight Center and the Geodetic Survey and NIMA.  By the end of 1999 and 2000, Dubbs & Severino hope to have higher resolution data working in cooperation with the JPL and shuttle data to build an improved data base (30 meter postings for military use).  The next step would be to work with an avionics company towards volume, and mass-production to make the terrain avoidance system more cost-effective to lower-end General Aviation."


"Two demonstration flights were held on Nov. 10 at 11:30 and 1:30 for those interested.  Two laptop computers were used which showed four windows of maps, shaded relief maps, etc., including an oral warning voice.  Mr. Severino explained the system as we flew down the Susquehanna River and near the Delaware Bay to locate hilly terrain.  It was a highly interesting and informative flight."


The preceding was the official report generated by FAA personnel .


For more information contact Robert A. Severino at Position Integrity or by email at




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