ATM Modernization

Eurocontrol’s Conclusions, Action Items from Final Approach Operations Symposium

By S.L. Fuller | February 24, 2017

The International Civil Aviation Org. (ICAO), EASA and Eurocontrol jointly chaired the Final Approach Operations Symposium, which took place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 at Eurocontrol headquarters in Brussels. Eurocontrol released its symposium conclusions on Feb. 24, and they are as follows:

1.) There is a need for increased transversal coordination between the different specialists and activities on a more frequent basis.

2.) Guidance material is needed on the operational options available for use on the final approach segment, how to make the appropriate selection based on airport and airspace user requirements, investment decisions etc. In context, instrument landing system should not be forgotten, as it will still be around for decades. Simplifying the options and including ILS in the xLS equation/term/guidance on what options are there for the final/3D/precision approach would help reduce the confusion and uncertainty.

3.) There is a need to clarify the Pilot Common Project (PCP) requirements for the 25 airports covered by the regulation: Are all runways to be equipped for multiple runway airports? Also, transition definition/clarification is needed.

4.) There is a need to standardize the OPS approval process, as the variety of choices must become more transparent to the end users (air traffic control officer (ATCO) and pilot). The ATCO wants assurance that the aircraft/flight crew are qualified for a particular final approach operation, without being burdened by additional air traffic management (ATM) procedures to make this determination.

5.) Chart clutter and lack of clarity needs to be addressed in a holistic manner.

6.) Guidance material is needed on transitioning to the final approach segment as well as use of radio frequency during such transitions to the final segment.

7.) There is an urgent need for simplification in the way ‘complex’ final approach are communicated to different audiences whether the FA is performance-based navigation (PBN), ILS or GBAS landing system.

8.) There is an urgent need for researchers to obtain operational input from active pilots and controllers when undertaking ATM/FLT Deck research.

9.) There is a need for use of 0.3 NM accuracy outside the final approach fix.

“The main focus of the symposium was to clarify the complex interactions between the multiple stakeholders and actors involved in final approach operations, including airports, air navigation service providers, airspace users, procedure designers, regulators, aircraft and system manufacturers, among others,” Eurocontrol says. “The challenge is to bring all these different players together to find a common understanding of each other’s roles and needs in this flight phase. It is crucial for these players to exploit the varied opportunities available, find effective synergies and grasp their complementary aspects.”

Presentations were given and discussions were had at the symposium, all in the attempt to map out challenges and improve all around understand of final approach operations. The event provided an opportunity for the ground-based augmentation system and satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) to exchange ideas. Several action items were also generated from the symposium with DG Move (Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport), ICAO, Eurocontrol, EASA, pilots, controllers, researchers and more tasked with fulfilling them:

  • EU Air Navigation Strategy development and clarification of the scope of the PBN component of PCP AF#1
  • Provide guidance on what the FA options are keeping options open to permit flexibility for different environments
  • Clean up the global terminology and limit it (don’t forget transitions)
  • Keep things simple and mind your language
  • Regarding instrument approach procedure charts
  • Stick to ICAO Charting rules n Unclutter the chart n Avoid need for pilots to interpret charts n Identify need for change (e.g. all CAT I on same chart)
  • Guidance material on judicious use of RF and transitions to final approach:
  • Get involved at the start of research processes; the implementation belongs to you
  • Invite controllers/pilots into research
  • To create an informal three‐way navigation implementation support mechanism comprised of the ICAO EUR PBN Officer, Sven Halle, Eurocontrol Head of Navigation & CNSS Research, Franca Pavličević, and EASA’s acting Head of ATM/ANS and Aerodromes Department Gernot Kessler. Three-way meetings/telcons/webex would take place on a needs basis by (to enhance responsiveness) about three times a year.

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