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Embry-Riddle to Test Precision Landing Approaches for Small Airports


Project to test feasibility of small aircraft using GPS-aided approaches for small airports.

Daytona Beach, Fla. (PRWEB) October 31, 2012

A team of researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has received funding for a project to assess the performance of pilots when they land small airplanes at small airports using an approach normally employed at airports with longer runways. The results could help shed light on the feasibility of letting small aircraft use GPS-aided approaches for small airports.

In the project, funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and sponsored by the MITRE Corporation, instrument-rated pilots from central Florida will conduct approaches and landings using a Level 6 Cessna flight simulator that can replicate low-visibility conditions. The research, led by Dr. Michael Wiggins, professor of aeronautical science, will take place at Embry-Riddle's campus in Daytona Beach, Fla., beginning next summer.

The purpose of the research is to see if precision approaches normally used to land on longer runways can be used for landing at the shorter and narrower runways found at small airports.

In the study, pilots of small planes will simulate GPS-guided approaches down to the minimum altitude they can fly to in poor visibility and land using various simulated runway and lighting conditions.

The project will help researchers evaluate different runway and lighting conditions at smaller airports and assess the feasibility of letting the GPS instruments guide small planes to lower altitudes in conditions of poor visibility.

Pilots for the project will be recruited beginning in the spring of 2013.

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University:
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at

About the MITRE Corporation:
The MITRE Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that provides systems engineering, research and development, and information technology support to the government. It operates federally funded research and development centers for the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with principal locations in Bedford, Mass., and McLean, Va. To learn more, visit

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Media Contact:

Bob Ross
Assistant Director, Media Relations
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Office: (386) 226-6198
Cell: (407) 682-2740

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