Honeywell’s Bateman receives award

Honeywell Aerospace’s Don Bateman has been recognized with the 2013 Elmer A. Sperry Award for Enhancing the Art of Transportation by developing technology that has eliminated accidents and saved thousands of lives.

The Elmer A. Sperry board recognized Bateman, chief engineer technologist for Flight Safety Systems and Technology at Honeywell,  for his development of Honeywell’s Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS), a terrain awareness and warning system, which has been responsible for reducing Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accident risk.

Bateman and his team continued to develop GPWS, which evolved into Honeywell’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) that has reduced CFIT accidents from about one in every 3 million flights to less than one in every 20 million flights.

Bateman received the award on March 3, 2014, at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Aerospace Conference in Big Sky, Mont.

Prof. Richard Miles from Princeton, Don Bateman, Dr. Erik Nilsen 2014 IEEE Aerospace; Conference Chairman.

Princeton Prof. Richard Miles, Don Bateman, Dr. Erik Nilsen, conference chairman.

“Growing up, I learned the stories of Lawrence Sperry and his father, Elmer A. Sperry, whose genius changed aviation forever,” Bateman said. “The Sperry message was simple to me: Elegant technology can grow into businesses small and large, and that motivated me to use my love of engineering and technology to advance aviation safety.”

CFIT accidents happen when pilots who have aircraft in their control inadvertently fly into unseen terrain, such as a mountain or body of water. Motivated to eliminate these types of accidents, Bateman began his initial work on the technology that would become GPWS in the late 1960s. In 1974, the FAA mandated that all large jet aircraft have GPWS installed, and CFIT accidents have dramatically reduced since then.

“I was motivated to overcome the early challenges of developing GWPS by focusing on the notion of saving lives. This was the most important thing to me, and I think Elmer would be proud of that today,” Bateman said.

During his 58-year career at Honeywell, Bateman has been instrumental in the development of technology that has contributed to the evolution of aviation. He has more than 50 unique patents and 90 foreign patents for aviation safety technology.

Bateman was the recipient of Aviation Week & Space Technology’s lifetime achievement award in 2013 for his work with EGPWS, received the U.S. National Medal of Technology from President Barack Obama in 2011, was inducted in the Museum of Flight as an Aviation Pathfinder in 2003, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005. In 1997, Bateman was recognized with an Aviation Week Laurel for IT and Electronics. A graduate of Canada’s University of Saskatchewan, he is also a Royal Aeronautical Society Fellow and a private pilot with an instrument rating.

The Elmer A. Sperry Award was established in 1955 to commemorate the life of Elmer A. Sperry. The award is given in “recognition of a distinguished engineering contribution which, through application, proved in actual service, has advanced the art of transportation, whether by land, sea, air, or space” to stimulate innovation in many fields.

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