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(Instructor:Vinay Singh, Email: , Mo: 08108304735)


 GPWS is a system designed to alert pilots if their aircraft is in immediate danger of
flying into the ground or obstacle.
 In 1978, ICAO made it mandatory for aircrafts to carry GPWS in order to alleviate CFIT
problems. A significant decline in number of accidents was observed after installation of
 It can prevent some accidents particularly those which could result from crew errors or
distraction, inappropriate ATC instructions or navigational equipment malfunction.
 In sum, a timely and distinctive warning or alert can be provided of unintentional
closure to the ground.
 The pilots are alerted with aural and visual warning and in case of EGPWS, a video is
 Certified by Cat ‘R’ or Cat ‘V’ Licensed engineer.

Note: Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) describes an accident in which an

airworthy aircraft under pilot control is unintentionally flown into the ground, a
mountain, water or an obstacle.

How GPWS works ?

Fig.1 Fig.2
 The heart of the GPWS is a computer processor which interprets data from a number of
sources such as radio altimeter, Air Data computer, gear and flap indicating system, roll
attitude input sensor, Track sensor, etc.
 The computer analyzes a number of parameters including aircraft configuration, speed,
proximity to terrain, and descent rate in order to issue appropriate warnings.
 The pilots are alerted through aural & visual warnings by GPWS display inside cockpit.
 Some typical GPWS warnings are:
 These aural warnings will be accompanied by illumination of a GPWS annunciator.
 In the event of a “PULL UP” warning a recovery procedure must be initiated.

Operating Modes of GPWS

Mode 1: Excessive rate of descent with respect to terrain
Mode 2: Excessive closure rate to terrain
Mode 3: Excessive altitude loss after take-off or missed approach
Mode 4: Unsafe terrain clearance while not in landing configuration
i) gear not locked down
ii) flap not in landing position
Mode 5: excessive descent below the instrument glide path.
Mode 6: Descent below selected minimum decision height (DH)

Mode 1: Excessive rate of descent with respect to terrain

 Warns of excessive descent rate if the aircraft is less than 2500AGL as determined by
the radar altimeter and is losing altitude too quickly.
 A GPWS warning light (amber color) will illuminate and aural message “Sink Rate,
Sink Rate” will be heard.
 If the situation is not corrected “Whoop, Whoop, Pull up, Pull up” will be heard.
Mode 2: Excessive closure rate to terrain
It is divided into further 2 sub-modes viz.Mode-2A & Mode-2B
 Mode-2A:Flaps not in Landing configuration
Aural message: Terrain Terrain, Visual Alert: GND PROX light (amber color)
If situation is not corrected, Whoop Whoop Pull up Pull up will be heard along
with master warning light (Red color PULL UP light)
 Mode-2B: Flaps in Landing configuration
Aural message: Terrain Terrain, Visual Alert: GND PROX light (amber color)

Mode 3: Excessive altitude loss after take-off or missed approach

 Warns of loss of altitude after take-off, or go-around.
 If the aircraft sinks 10 percent of its radar altitude “Don’t Sink” will be heard along
with GND PROX light (amber color) until the position is corrected.
 If situation is still not corrected , then “Too Low ,Terrain” will be heard along with
GND PROX light (amber color).

Mode 4: Unsafe terrain clearance while not in landing configuration

 MODE 4A: if the aircraft is too low and slow, with landing gear retracted then aural
message “Too low, Gear” is heard
 If the airspeed is higher the warning will be “Too low, Terrain”
 MODE 4B: When the gear is selected down, but the flaps are still retracted “Too low,

Mode 5: excessive descent below the instrument glide path.

 Provides protection for inadvertent descent below a glideslope while on an ILS
 GPWS monitors the flight path in relation to glideslope centre line while on the ILS final
approach course
 The Mode-5 glideslope alert is enabled when a nav receiver is tuned to an ILS frequency
and receiving a glideslope signal, landing gear is down and radar altitude less than
 Should the aircraft descent below the glideslope by 1.3 dot fly up indication, the amber
GPWS G/S alert lamp will illuminate and voice message “Glideslope” will be heard.
 Glideslope voice messages will be initially softer and less frequent than another GPWS
alerts and warnings but become louder and more frequent as the aircraft deviation
below glideslope increases.
Mode 6: Descent below selected minimum decision height (DH).
 Mode 6 is activated when descending through the selected decision height with the gear
down at where “MINIMUMS, MINIMUMS” will be announced.

GPWS problems
 There were some false alarm generated by GPWS equipment , usually while the aircraft
was following approach procedures in hilly terrain.
 The major problem with GPWS is that the system has no knowledge of terrain ahead of
the aircraft, separation can only be measured from the ground directly beneath the
 No warning : The primary cause of CFIT occurrences with no GPWS warning is landing
short. When the landing gear is down and landing flaps are deployed, the GPWS expects
the airplane to land and therefore, issues no warning.
 Late warning or improper response : The occurrence of a GPWS alert typically happens
at a time of high workload and nearly always surprises the flight crew. Almost certainly,
the aircraft is not where the pilot thinks it should be, and the response to a GPWS
warning can be late in these circumstances. Warning time can also be short if the
aircraft is flying into steep terrain since the downward looking radio altimeter is the
primary sensor used for the warning calculation.

 EGPWS is a terrain awareness and alerting system. It uses aircraft inputs including
geographic position, attitude, airspeed and glideslope combined with internal terrain,
obstacle, and airport databases to predict a potential conflict between an aircraft’s flight
path and terrain or an obstacle.
 With the use of accurate GPS information, the EGPWS is able to present a graphical plan
view of the aircraft relative to the terrain and advise the flight crew of a potential
conflict with the terrain or obstacle. Conflicts are recognised and alerts provided when
terrain or an obstacle violates specific computed envelope boundaries in the projected
flight path of the aircraft. Caution or warning alerts are provided in the form of visual
light annunciation, audio enunciation based on the type of conflict, and color enhanced
visual display of the terrain or obstacle relative to the forward look of the aircraft. The
terrain display is provided on a Weather Radar Indicator, EFIS display, or a dedicated
EGPWS display .

The EGPWS computer compares aircraft current location with database of earth
terrain and produces unique 3-D perspective view that gives pilot a visual
orientation to high and low points nearby aircraft.

 Enhanced Functions of EGPWS :

 Terrain Clearance Floor
 Terrain Look-ahead Alerting
 Predictive Windshear
Terrain Clearance Floor :
 The Terrain Clearance Floor (TCF) is the solution to the problem of an aircraft on
approach . A number of CFIT accidents have involved aircraft making final approaches
through poor visibility only to strike the ground short of the intended runway.
 The location of over 30,000 runways at over 12,000 airports is maintained in the
EGPWS internal database. The EGPWS maintains a clearance floor spreading outward
from each of these runways. If a descent below this clearance floor is detected, the
warning “Too Low Terrain” will be given, regardless of aircraft configuration.
Terrain Look-ahead Alerting

“ Look-Ahead”Advisory
Predictive Windshear:
This is Mode 7 of EGPWS. It encounters with windshear upto 1500AGL. It uses airspeed,
Radar altitude, Barometric Rate, angle of attack, Air temperature, Vertical &
Longitudinal acceleration , Aircraft speed performance ,etc. When an aircraft first
encounters strong headwinds, decreasing tailwinds , vertical updraft associated with
outflow of microburst, an amber alert lamp will illuminate and will remain on until the
condition persist. Some installations will also annunciate the voice alerts “CAUTION
WINDSHEAR”. If windshear is very severe and aircraft is experiencing severe
downdraft, a red warning lamp will illuminate and two tone siren will be heard
followed by the voice warning “WINDSHEAR WINDSHEAR”