Fog is still a menace to air travel, and the temporary closure of international airports because of it can be extraordinarily costly.
GV Jet aircraft lands at Heathrow airport in fog
CU ZOOM Comet on tarmac to sign 'Blind landing Experiment Unit'
GV PAN VC 10 taking off in fog
CU Unit spokesman (SOF)
CU ZOOM OUT from ILS equipment at end of runway (3 shots)
GV ZOOM INT. to hostess entering cockpit
SV Pilot at controls
CU Meter indicating visibility
SCU Controls on auto pilot
CU Pilot ZOOM TO cockpit showing foggy runway
CU Controls on auto pilot
GV Aircraft landing
CU Pilot switching from auto to manual
GV Aircraft taxing in fog
TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ. 4): "We worked for about fifteen years on the military aspect... primarily military applications of automatic landing. In the last ten years we've been diverting more of our attentions to the civil applications. I think the reason why we have taken so long to get to operational use in civil is because that we need to prove to a very high degree of reliability that it is safe... that fare paying passengers can trust their lives to such a system.
REPORTERS: When do you think that the airport fog problem will be beaten? When will aircraft with passengers on board be able to land totally blind?
ANSWER: I think it will be a very long time before we're able to land in completely blind conditions. Because actually the use of automatic landing systems in bad weather require landing aids on the ground that have to be approved internationally and the present landing aid that have agreed internationally is the instrument landing system, the ILS.
Initials SGM/2134 SGM/2245
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Fog is still a menace to air travel, and the temporary closure of international airports because of it can be extraordinarily costly.
London's Heathrow airport was fog-bound between the first and the fourth of January this year, and the airport's biggest user British European Airways lost GBP250,000 (580,000 dollars) per day during the closure. BEA reckon that they lose 8 operational days each year because of fog.
Spurred by this and other kinds of bad weather, Britain has made more progress than any other country towards perfecting techniques which allow blind landing on instruments. At a Government airfield at Bedford, north of London, there is a blind-landing experimental unit, which works overtime during fog testing automatic landing gear.
A spokesman at the unit said much had been achieved in this field, but they were still some way away from being able to land civil aircraft in totally blind conditions.