2001 Thurlow Award

Presented to: Dr. Frank van Graas

Citation: For sustained contribution and leadership on the development and application of new satellite-based navigation methods for aviation.


Dr. Frank van Graas holds a Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ professorship at Ohio University where he has performed pioneering research in aviation navigation. Dr. van Graas has conducted research in integrated navigation, fault detection and isolation, analysis and flight-testing of integrated GPS and inertial systems, Loran-C, and DGPS-based approach and landing systems. He has been the principle investigator for the NASA Langley GPS interferometery investigation and for the FAA-GPS research efforts to investigate the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS) for Aircraft Precision Approach and Landing as well as Aircraft Surface Movement Guidance. Dr. van Graas conducted the first real-time GPS attitude and heading flight experiment on a DC-3 in 1991, and he conducted the first kinematic dual-frequency GPS autoland flight tests in May 1993. In October 1994, his design of a code-phase Differential GPS system was the first of its type to satisfy both sensor accuracy and Total System Error requirements for Category IIIb automatic landing operations. The first prototype LAAS for Category III was completed by his research team in 1997 and successfully flight tested using FAA's Boeing 727. In February 1998, his team successfully flight-tested the first differentially-corrected pseudolite integrated in the LAAS. In 1999, Dr. van Graas research contributions to the development of terrain database integrity monitors has become one of the main enabling technologies for Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS).

Most recently, Dr. van Graas has made significant contributions to the development of low-cost integrated GPS/INS systems for a variety of applications, including general aviation. This research focuses on developing optimal algorithms for the integration of carrier-phase DGPS measurements with low-cost inertial sensor data. Dr. van Graas also plays an important role in the design of a GPS software radio at Ohio University. In that role, he has contributed to the research and development of various GPS block-processing techniques applied to problems such as carrier-to-noise ratio estimation, signal tracking at low carrier-to-noise ratios, high-dynamic tracking, and the implementation of block processing techniques.

He is the primary author or co-author of more than 50 navigation-related publications. In 1996, Dr. van Graas received the Johannes Kepler Award from the ION. From 1998 to 1999, Dr. van Graas served as the ION's president. Dr. van Graas is also an ION fellow.