On December 20,1995 a Tower Air Boeing 747 with 486 people on board veered of the runway upon take off at John F Kennedy International Airport. Runway conditions were icy and slippery. This triggered Capt. Oddvard Johnsen, now a retired commercial pilot who throughout his professional life had been involved in aviation safety. His experience, from at that time the modern B767, he then envisioned the ability to actually use the aircraft itself to better assess the condition of the runway, a long time problem for pilots. His idea forms the foundation for today's solution, enabled by the development and digitalization of the modern aircraft.
An Issue Revisited
The subsequent accident investigation report by National Safety Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to a Southwest Airlines flight that overran the runway upon landing at Midway International Airport, Chicago in December 2005 has served as a further catalyst into find new and better ways to report Braking Action. Braking Action is a term used to describe the ability of an aircraft to stop on a runway. Among the recommendations in the report, one is particularly directed towards finding ways to use the aircraft itself to provide more reliable information.
This is what Kongsberg Aeronautical has pursued and come up with an improved solution.
Kongsberg Aeronautical was formed in 2012 to further develop and commercialize the proprietary technology which reads real time flight data to take use of the aircraft itself to assess braking capabilities. It has further created the needed infrastructure to transfer, communicate, and integrate the information with systems and applications used by airlines . Our work has so far featured in AeroSafety World, an industry magazine published by Flight Safety Foundation and distributed worldwide.
Kongsberg Aeronautical has collaborated with a major US airline in developing and streamlining the proprietary function that is now installed on board aircraft.
As a caretaker of the regulatory as well as management of the US aviation industry, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found the collaboration between the major US airline and Kongsberg Aeronautical interesting. This further led to that Kongsberg Aeronautical and FAA's William J Hughes Technical Center entered into a Cooperation Research and Development Agreement (CRDA) whereas the latter would contribute resources to an evaluation process throughtout the development.