Donald Bateman invented the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS),
one of a series of innovations he developed to dramatically improve
Tragic airline crashes during the 1960s prompted airline owners
to reduce crashes caused when pilots fail to recognize that they
are flying too low or approaching a mountain. Bateman responded
with a device that automatically warned pilots if their aircraft
was approaching the ground or water. The system worked so well
that the Federal Aviation Administration began requiring GPWS
in aircraft in 1973.
As technology improved, Bateman and his team of developers created
a series of advances that made their warning systems more effective
and reliable. They added more sophisticated ways of determining
the distance from the aircraft to threatening terrain, provided
wind shear warnings, integrated other avionics systems, and included
computerized colored pictures of topographical data. His innovations
to the landing system, specifically the Enhanced Ground Proximity
Warning System, continue to advance safety within the aviation
Born in 1932, Saskatchewan, Canada, Bateman studied at the University
of Saskatchewan, where he received his degree in electrical engineering.
He continues to work on EGPWS at Honeywell.