The war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan has introduced unanticipated tactical challenges. One of the biggest challenges has been to detect and avoid Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Advancements in technology have aided that effort on the front lines and derivatives of that same technology can now be seen protecting aircraft on the ramp and in the hangar from accidental damage while aircraft are under tow or chocked in place (A.K.A. Hangar Rash).
Best practices that include using multiple wing walkers when aircraft are under tow, sterile hangar floors free of clutter, and keeping aircraft and other wheeled equipment chocked at all times reduce your chances of developing hangar rash. But the reality is that hangar rash is an unfortunate fact of life resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims and personal injury.
RampTrack is a system developed by Wingspan Systems to greatly reduce instances of hangar rash. RampTrack consists of a networked computer system that integrates fixed and variable sensors that are both hardwired and wireless. This arrangement provides great flexibility when protecting multiple aircraft in close quarters of a hangar and congested ramp.
The hardware and software is based on technology derived from IED detection systems developed and deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The multi-sensor Fusion algorithm factors in a multitude of data and compares rate of enclosure and proximity metrics. For pilots, you may think of this as a Terminal Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) for your hangar as the end result is much the same.
The system’s multi-sensor approach is able to detect individual objects (aircraft, tow vehicles, etc) and place virtual buffers around them. As objects approach the aircraft, proximity and rate of closure are analyzed. If certain thresholds are exceeded, aural and visual warnings are delivered to operators within the hangar and/or ramp.
RampTrack can also be used as a security system to protect aircraft while on the ramp from persons. In addition, the system can utilize RFIDs placed within aircraft to quickly locate them at FBO and MRO facilities where dozens of aircraft can be spread out among several hangars.
The RampTrack System is currently being used in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at Banyan Air Service. You can learn more at www.RampTrack.com.