Vertical Power has come up with an interesting GPS-based co-pilot that targets smaller private planes which will be able to figure out the nearest and safest place to land in the event of an emergency. Laminar Research has come alongside Vertical Power to develop the Pessimisting Airplane GPS (also known as the VP-400), where it will remain wired into the plane’s avionics at all times in order to keep track of the current altitude, air speed, and heading. This information will not be processed in vain, as it will then be used to figure out just how far the plane is able to glide to a landing in a safe manner. Should you be in the vicinity of an airport within range and troubles occur, then the Pessimisting Airplane GPS will guide you there – otherwise, it would have to figure out the closest road or field which is of adequate length for you to perform a safe touchdown.
Unfortunately, I do not know what happens when the Pessimisting Airplane GPS has nothing in its database to offer you as an option for safe landing – what happens then? Iron Man is not going to come flying at you to pick you out from the sky for sure. I guess we will leave that scenario to fate, but it is comforting to know that in the event of an emergency, technology like the $8,000 Pessimisting Airplane GPS offers a calming presence that might just save your life.