HC Deb 18 July 1956 vol 556 cc1204-5
16. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation in what way the radio position-finding device to be used in conjunction with land-based transmitting stations for purposes relating to the safety of life at sea can be used also for purposes relating to safety of life in the air; and the approximate cost and the nature of the adaptations to aircraft which will be necessary for these purposes.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. John Profumo)

The hon. and learned Member is presumably referring to the Decca Navigator system. An aircraft, given the necessary equipment, can use this system in the same way as a ship. Not only can it calculate its position with a very high degree of accuracy, but by means of an automatic flight log it can maintain on a special chart a continuous plot of its path.

The aircraft equipment is available on hire from the Decca Navigator Company. The cost of hiring it varies with the type of installation and presentation, but a typical charge would be £750 per annum. Certain structural modifications to the aircraft are necessary to permit the installation of the equipment and its special aerial system. A typical installation charge would be about £170.

Mr. Hughes

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I am referring to the Decca Navigator System, and that there is a chain of transmitting stations all over Europe and in this country? Is not this a most valuable device, which should be encouraged by the Government?

Mr. Profumo

The Government are doing everything possible to encourage this system.