Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) Prevention

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2019 Aerospace & Defense Honorable Mention 2019 Top 100 Entries

This device uses GPS and a terrain/obstacle database to create a predicted flight path. When the predicted flight path detects an approaching CFIT threat, the device changes from a passive flight following mode, gives the pilot an aural warning and a visual threat display. The pilot gets a 3D visual picture of where the predicted flight path will hit the terrain/obstacle. By maneuvering the airplane, the pilot can alter the predicted flight path away from the terrain/obstacle. When the predicted flight path no longer detects a CFIT threat, the system returns to the passive mode.

What makes this system novel is that when a CFIT threat occurs, it shows the pilot a visual picture of the predicted flight path and the terrain/obstacle. The pilot can easily see the easiest way to maneuver (climb or turn) within aircraft performance limitations, then move the predicted flight path away from the terrain/obstacle by maneuvering. I have seen no other GPWS/EGPWS or Airborne GPS navigation system that shows the pilot a visual predicted flight path relative to terrain/obstacle.

This device could be produced by any avionics/GPS navigation manufacturer.

This device can be applied through the aviation spectrum, from a hand - held portable GPS navigation device to factory installed avionics.

I invented this device when I was a McDonnell Douglas/Boeing pilot, and they took my proprietary to obtain U.S. Patent number 6,021,374 on Feb, 1, 2000. I called the Boeing Intellectual Property Office in 2003 and asked them why nothing was happening with the Patent and they told me that Boeing doesn't build avionics. They stopped paying the patent fees and the patent expired this year.

I invented this device after the AA crash in Cali. My device could have prevented that crash, and if it can save one more life I will do what it takes to find a champion to help me bring it to operational status.

  • Awards

  • 2019 Aerospace & Defense Honorable Mention
  • 2019 Top 100 Entries


Voting is closed!


  • Name:
    Charles Wood
  • Type of entry:
  • Profession:
    Retired USAF and Boeing Pilot
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
  • Charles is inspired by:
    The American Airlines CFIT crash in Columbia and many other CFIT accidents could have been prevented by using this device.
  • Patent status: