Honeywell Inventor of Aviation Safety Devices to be Honored by Inventors Hall of Fame

Don Bateman, engineer and Seattle resident, continuously finds ways to improve aircraft safety

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Don Bateman has saved the lives of countless aircraft passengers with his system for warning pilots of impending crashes.

In recognition of his work, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has announced that Don Bateman will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Thirteen additional inventors will be recognized. The 2005 class will be honored at an induction ceremony on May 14th at the Hall of Fame headquarters in Akron, Ohio.

Tragic airline crashes due to Controlled Flight in Terrain (CFIT) were a too common occurrence in the past; CFIT crashes occurred when an aircraft, under a normal flight path, would inadvertently fly into terrain such as the ground or a mountainside. Bateman responded with a device that automatically warned pilots if their aircraft was dangerously approaching the ground. The system worked so well that the Federal Aviation Administration began requiring his Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) in aircraft in 1973.

However, Bateman wanted GPWS to do more. In the 1990s, his Enhanced GPWS was revealed, a more sophisticated and capable version of his earlier invention. Bateman found that he was able to engineer EGPWS for several reasons. First, with the passage of time, the computer processing power available to him was much greater and much cheaper. Second, with the end of the Cold War, terrain data from all over the world was now available, much of it top notch, allowing for accurate mapping. Third, Bateman was able to take advantage of accurate navigation via the availability of GPS.

Bateman was born and educated in Saskatchewan, moving to the Seattle area in the 1950s. Since the early 1970s, Bateman has been dedicated to providing solutions to CFIT crashes, noting, “It’s rewarding to see improvements in safety.” His work on EGPWS provided so many improvements and advances in safety that the FAA has mandated its installation in all turbine engine aircraft of six or more seats by the end of March 2005.

The not-for-profit National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier organization in America dedicated to honoring and fostering creativity and invention. Each year a new class of inventors is inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of their patented inventions that make human, social, and economic progress possible. Founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall’s permanent home is Akron, Ohio, where the inventors in the Hall are honored and from where it administers its national programs, including Camp Invention(R), Club Invention(R), and the Collegiate Inventors Competition(R).

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