Frankfurt tests curved approach procedures

Lufthansa together with German air traffic control and Fraport are to jointly conduct tests of new satellite-based approach procedures at Frankfurt Airport.

The aim of these tests is to prove the advantages of curved and steeper approach procedures in the vicinity of airports. The trial period begins on May 26 and will last until August 3. This will take place in the framework of the European research project Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR).

Under real conditions, the so-called “RNP to xLS” approaches will be tested in Frankfurt. These satellite-based curved approaches guide the aircraft very accurately on both precision approach systems that are available at Frankfurt Airport: the Instrument Landing System (ILS), which has been proven for decades, and the new system of the future Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS).

In future the new procedure should help to enable flying in curves in the vicinity of the airport to become more accurate and to further increase aircraft flight track adherence. The lateral course of the new approach procedures are strongly orientated to the low-noise segmented approach procedures known for years. The new feature is that for the first time the north-west runway will be connected to this procedure.

Additionally, the suitability of the procedure in an environment of high traffic density will be investigated at Frankfurt Airport. During test flights the criteria “flight track adherence” and “noise emission” will be especially observed and subsequently evaluated. Besides Bremen and Zurich, Frankfurt is the only European airport to this new procedure during testing. All three airports have the new GBAS satellite-based precision landing system.

Lufthansa will use aircraft models A380, B747-8 as well as three upgraded GBAS capable A319 for the tests. In addition in a few days a test aircraft from the company Honeywell will fly the new routes. The corresponding flight procedures for the test were developed by Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) and have already been submitted to the Aircraft Noise Commission. Throughout the entire duration of the tests Fraport will supervise the approach procedures with fixed and mobile flight noise monitoring stations and will subsequently evaluate the data.

The partners involved hope to make an important contribution to greater efficiency and to quieter landing and take-off procedures with this investigation.

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