Terrain-following radar for airliners?

From:         plisner@mips.com (Peter Lisner)
Date:         19 Aug 93 03:03:14 PDT
Organization: Silicon Graphics Inc., Mt. View, California
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There seem to have been many approach accidents due to the terrain
being higher than expected by the pilot. These incidents include
running into hills because the wrong VOR was tuned in, or the aircraft 
descending more quickly than planned due to distraction from other
things going on in the cockpit.

I was wondering if civil aircraft designers have ever considered
using terrain-following radar like some military aircraft do. 
I understand that these point forward as well as down, thus causing
the aircraft to pull-up in time if there is an obstruction. Apparently
very high-speed fighters can fly safely at very low altitudes using
this radar. 

Could this technique be applied for airliners as well? Obviously, such
a system would have to "cut out" at a certain altitude so that the
aircraft could actually land! I'm not a pilot, just an enthusiast, so
I'm sure I am ignorant of many important points here. But I would like
to hear what others think. 

P.S. Love this newsgroup, have learnt a lot from it. Thanks everyone.



All opinions are mine, not SGI's.
-- 
Peter Lisner                    
e-mail: plisner@mti.sgi.com
phone : (415)390-4419
Silicon Graphics Inc.