OCAS provides innovative early alert system to prevent transmission line strikes by aircraft

Source: OCAS Inc.

OCAS have announced that an innovative early-warning alert system for aircraft is fully operational on the Ohio River about 30 miles upriver from Louisville, near Madison, Indiana. It's associated with the construction of a new 345 Kv transmission line for Louisville Gas & Electric Company (LG&E) that spans the Ohio River near LG&E's Trimble County Generating facility. Towers on either end of this river crossing are more than 430 feet high thus making the towers and wire crossing a potential obstruction to aircraft.

"LG&E worked closely with OCAS in the early phases of the FAA testing and approval," said David Comstock, Transmission Right-of-Way Coordinator, of LG&E. "We were impressed with the concept, capabilities, and the potential of the system to greatly improve the safety of the flying environment."

Melissa McCarthy, General Manager, OCAS Inc., added "We are excited to be working with the largest investor owned utility in the world and believe that E.ON's commitment to safety and the community coupled with their technical expertise make them an ideal customer for OCAS."

Known as the Obstacle Collision Avoidance System (OCAS), OCAS uses small radar located near one of the towers that detects and tracks an aircraft's proximity to the span. If an aircraft approaches the span, white strobe lights are activated to attract the pilot's attention to the span. If the pilot does not take action and the aircraft continues toward the span, a warning message is transmitted to the pilot's radio. The message includes warning tones and a description of "POWER LINES... POWER LINES". No additional equipment is required on the aircraft. The audio warning is one of the most powerful aspects of the OCAS solution as it provides a warning in any type of visibility or weather conditions.

OCAS allows warning lights to remain in an operational "sleep" mode, thus only activated when aircraft approach the obstacle. This greatly reduces light pollution to the surrounding area and the actual flash time on the light themselves, greatly reducing maintenance and replacement costs. The system was installed by OCAS Inc., of Vienna, Virginia.

OCAS is the first Audio Visual Warning System (AVWS) to be installed, tested, and approved by the FAA for use in the National Airspace System (NAS). OCAS is currently operational with other utilities in the US such as Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as well as in Canada, and Europe and is dramatically improving air safety for both aviators and the owners of hazardous aeronautical obstructions.

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