2000 Hays Award

Presented to: Dr. Richard McFarland

Citation: For his career-long work on the Instrument Landing System. His pioneering efforts contributed significantly to increased safety and availability of the ILS.


Richard McFarland, Ph.D., P.E.has been active in engineering research and development relating to air navigation and landing systems throughout his career. In 1960, he published the results of his design and testing of a flush-mounted, endfire glide slope system. In 1963, he conceived and pioneered work on the development of mathematical models for predicting performance of ILS components in the presence of imperfect environments that included irregular terrain and snow covers on the image ground planes. This modeling work served as the basis for ILS critical area determination and for the Federal Aviation Administration's formal establishment of critical areas at every major airport in the United States.

Dr. McFarland worked for the FAA, Air Force, Navy, Army and for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on the development and application of new techniques to make air navigation safer and more reliable. In addition to ILS issues, he has worked on Omega, Loran-C, MLS and GPS tasks. In the 1970s, Dr. McFarland established the first correlation between near- and far-field observations with the contemporary image glide slopes - the key to correlating monitor field detector responses with the path the aircraft observes. Dr. McFarland has also served as an expert witness in cases relating to electrical system failures. In a case involving an Aero commander, he successfully demonstrated the devastating effects of not having flag information immediately available to the pilot. In 1971, his collaborations with Litchford Systems led to the Joint University Program that eventually included MIT, Princeton and Ohio Universities and has continued for 30 years under sponsorship of NASA and the FAA.

Since 1962, Dr. McFarland has served on the electrical engineering faculty at Ohio University. Dr. McFarland was principal investigator for Ohio University for the first 20 years. He has published extensively and contributed the section on ILS technology for the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. He also contributed to the ILS section of Kayton and Fried's book, Navigation Systems, 2nd. ed. He continues to be involved in making ILS safe and accurate.