Digitalized Landing Technique

If you are seriously connected with aviation industry in any diverse capacity, say as a commercial pilot or as an airport designer or even as a frequent flier, you are quite aware of the fact that the feared take-off and landing procedures are ‘sensitive to skill of the pilot’. Add to it the unfortunate 9/11 historical episode wherein a terrorist (in disguise of a pilot) attacked the buildings just after take-off. Ample security arrangements have been set up since then to ensure unrepeatability of such a disaster. But still a small gap detected by me needs be plugged for a foolproof aviation security....  

However, there still exists a security loophole en-route two distinct phases of an aircraft journey – during take-off and just before (and while) landing. During these two stages, pilot takes charge as the supreme and solo commander of the machine. Of course, he is supposed to be connected with the air traffic control towers and other co-airplanes via radio, radar and even satellite at all times, but is given ‘more freedom’ during these two stages. After all, he is expected to use his instantaneous sensory perceptions to manipulate controls so as to give as smooth and safe ride as possible. But what if a terrorist (disguised in uniform as a regular pilot) wishes to repeat a similar 9/11 during these two phases? He may deliberately bang the adjoining airport terminal buildings during these phases. When in steady cruise (as opposed to these phases), his insane ideas can be curtailed or even altogether prevented. How? Well, his queer behaviour can be traced by radar even if he lies about his intended destination.

A radar ‘sees’ and maps the trajectory of the aircraft (dynamically, a particle in motion) correctly without seeking permission from the pilot. His voice tone heard by a psychologically qualified radio traffic controller can reveal that he is trying to convey his untrue position. If he repeatedly disobeys instructions of the ground control staff and violates airspace regulations, he can be forced to land at a specified airfield or even shot-at in mid-air by the country’s department of defense. Ample communication exists between the aircraft in air and the control tower on the ground via radio, Internet, radar, satellite and other modes these days helping the aircraft to navigate precisely and safely at one end and enabling the ground control enforce discipline on the aircraft at the other end. But all this is valid while the aircraft is not in the two above-mentioned modes. A solution is now proposed to plug the threat ‘gap’ existing during these two sensitive phases. I name it as ‘Digitalized Landing Technique’. It is better explained through schematic figures, photographs and videos than text; hence please see the figures herein and view the attached videos. For convenience, the video is available online. 

The solution can be analytically summed up thus: the runway is ‘digitalized’ transversely - it is mathematically divided into portions uniformly or non-uniformly. Something comparable to invisible wooden sleepers over which a pair of railway tracks is placed. The satellite’s overhead camera is akin a police officer. As the airplane crosses these mathematical / optical parallel lines drawn perpendicular to runway’s axis, signals are sent from each such line segment to the satellite. The satellite gathers this data and concludes whether the airplane is obedient or not. In the latter case, the airplane’s trajectory is probably much off the center line. In terminology of security, it deviation is unacceptable and dangerous. In the rare but alarming situation of this deviation being unacceptable and dangerous to the security of adjacent terminal buildings, appropriate emergency action can be taken timely to arrest this airplane’s criminal action. This ‘Digitalized Landing Technique’ can be incorporated in the airport + airplane + satellite system as a strong safety measure.

Patent Status: Not Patented
Invention Status: Completed 2009, read as special invited dinner talk at Morgan State University, Baltimore in Nov 2009 during WSEAS Conferences. Published by WSEAS, indexed by ACM.

Keywords: War against Terror, Aircraft Landing, Satellite Communications, Design, Systems’ Approach