A team of aviation students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) was awarded first prize at a prestigious national aviation competition for designing a system that aims to reduce the threat of collisions on airport runways.
Students from UNO’s Aviation Institute designed the Intelligent Runway Status Indication System (IRSIS), a cost-effective solution for general aviation airports that automatically alerts pilots and ground operators to potential runway incursions.
A panel of industry experts, academic practitioners, and representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) served as judges for the national design competition hosted by the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) of Transportation Research Board (TRB). Judges selected the UNO team’s design for first prize in the Runway Safety/Runway Incursions/Runway Excursions Challenge category.
Students Joseph Harris, Christopher Kelley, and Alexander Nguyen and faculty advisor Chenyu “Victor” Huang, Ph.D. received the award in Washington D.C. in August.
Each student helped shape the system through their backgrounds and experiences in aviation administration, technical engineering, and piloting.
The UNO team’s winning design leverages existing aviation technology, geofencing, and navigation systems to monitor a three-dimensional area. The system tracks traffic on the ground as well as in the air within the area and detects when there is a risk of collision. When a potential runway incursion is detected, the IRSIS system automatically alerts the pilot and the personnel on the ground.
“This system was developed for GA airports,” Huang said. “They don’t have enough resources to purchase and maintain expensive million-dollar level equipment for runway incursion prevention, so they needed something feasible and affordable to improve their traffic safety.”
Most aircraft will be equipped with the primary technology needed for the IRSIS system by 2020.
The ACRP is a program of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.