What do beer, soccer and Honeywell have in common? Read on to find out!
This month, in continuation of what I’ll call the Smart Series (SmartView, Smart Runway/SmartLanding), I’ll introduce you to SmartPath®: a precision approach and landing system. SmartPath is making improvements to landing efficiency throughout the world and on its way to helping the flying public get to where they want to be on time with lower emissions and improved fuel savings.
Precision approaches provide an aircraft with both lateral and vertical guidance to enable a pilot to fly a predefined 3D trajectory to a landing runway. The traditional equipment for precision approach (Instrument Landing System, or ILS), requires installation at the end of each individual runway where a precision approach is desired. This seven-decade old legacy technology is expensive to install and maintain. In addition, it is subject to unwanted noise signal interruption and/or false vertical guidance in the transmission from ground to air and has limited flexibility for procedure design.
The Future of Precision Approaches
SmartPath is an alternative to the ILS precision approach system. SmartPath provides ground-based augmentation to the GPS signal that makes it then suitable for precision approaches. Unlike an ILS system (where a separate system is needed for each approach end of a runway), one SmartPath Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) system is capable of providing 26 approaches with a single system and provides approaches to all runway ends. In addition, it provides greater flexibility in procedure design to avoid terrain, shorten track miles, and reduce noise and emissions while improving traffic throughput. Because of the expected operational efficiencies, GBAS is viewed as the future of precision approaches and has been identified by the FAA’s Next Gen Air Traffic Management plan and Europe’s collaborative Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) joint undertaking as an ILS replacement technology. GBAS is also in the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrade recommendations for implementation now. Honeywell’s SmartPath is the U.S., Germany, Spain and Australia's only certified GBAS.
Germany led the world in its early adoption of the SmartPath GBAS technology at Bremen, Germany. It is now installing another station in Frankfurt, Germany.
Frankfurt is the third busiest airport in all of Europe and is positioning itself to be a world leader in adoption of the new SmartPath GBAS technology. The new system in Frankfurt is expected to support commercial approaches in the third quarter of 2014.
If you are planning to go to Germany for Oktoberfest, perhaps you’ll go through Frankfurt on your way and fly one of the new SmartPath enabled approaches. If you are passing through Rio De Janeiro for the big soccer game, look out the window during taxi and you may see another Honeywell GBAS station that is being installed in Brazil. Like the other GBAS stations, it promises to increase airport capacity, decrease air traffic noise and reduce weather-related delays. Beer, Soccer, Honeywell – a great combination!