:: urbansheep (urbansheep) wrote,
:: urbansheep

[ L ] An Antidote for Flying Blind


Nature accomplished earlier this week what Iraq's Republican Guard could not: Blinding sandstorms paralyzed the American air campaign, grounding helicopters and cutting bombing runs by as much as 85 percent in some areas.

But an Air Force program in the works may enable pilots to plow through just about any foe -- even an Iraqi sandstorm.

The solution is an onboard computer that digitally renders the pilots' surroundings when they can't rely on the real one to guide them. It's called "synthetic vision," and its backers are promising that the system will let pilots see in nasty weather, just like night-vision goggles let troopers roam around in the dark.

"There's no doubt in my mind that there's a tremendous military benefit to this technology," said Thomas Schnell, director of the University of Iowa's Operator Performance Laboratory, an experimental flight center. "As long as you could receive a GPS signal, you could fly using synthetic vision -- no matter what the weather."

Sandstorms included, he added.


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