ATM Modernization

DFS Launches Precision Navigation in Frankfurt

By Staff Writer | July 26, 2017

The new precision navigation system, which has been tested since 20 July by German air traffic control, Fraport and Lufthansa, is to be used for the launch of true flight decks in Frankfurt. Photo: DFS.

The new precision navigation system, which has been tested since July 20 by German air traffic control, Fraport and Lufthansa, is to be used for the launch of true flight decks in Frankfurt. Photo courtesy of DFS

A new precision navigation procedure, RNP-1 (Required Navigation Performance), has been launched at Frankfurt International Airport, according to German air navigation service provider (ANSP) DFS. With RNP-1 and Radius-to-fix, they are increasing their precision navigation in air traffic to a new quality level, which has not been achieved in Germany.

Pilots using this method, in a high degree of precision, are passing through a circular path, which is defined by the air traffic control on the basis of a fixed radius, starting from a fixed point. This allows aircraft to maintain their predefined ideal line in a curved flight with a continuously equal distance from the reference point. This results in positive effects on the noise effects for the inhabitants of the region. The extent to which this effect will be can not yet be estimated with sufficient certainty, DFS says.

In the coming months a trial operation with a comprehensive monitoring for enlightenment and reliable measurement results shall ensure. Monitoring is carried out in cooperation with DFS and the Environment and Neighborhood House (UNH).

Simulations have shown that RNP-1 and Radius-to-fix aircraft allow aircraft to travel more precisely, even under difficult wind and weather conditions. DFS is now testing this new process for six months on the existing conventional take-off route, the so-called "Südumflug", on its accuracy. The southern part of Nauheim, the towns of Trebur, Nackenheim and Bodenheim, as well as individual Mainz suburbs, which are currently being flown over due to deviations from the ideal line when using the conventional departure route, can benefit from the higher degree of accuracy of the departures.

In order to be able to fly any RF leg, aircraft must be equipped with modern and RNP-1-approved satellite navigation technology. At present only a part of the aircraft departing from Frankfurt will be able to use the procedure. Lufthansa, on the other hand, has already equipped almost all of its fleet with special technology.

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