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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nav Canada Approaching Completion of Nationwide ILS Replacement

Woodrow Bellamy III 

[Avionics Today June 19, 2014] Nav Canada is approaching the completion of the rollout of its nationwide Instrument Landing System (ILS) replacement program. The Canadian Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) announced an order to acquire 15 Normarc 7000B ILS systems from Indra Navia over the next three years, during the final phase of the ILS replacement program.

Nav Canada will deploy a total of 110 new ILS systems provided by Indra Navia. Photo, courtesy of Nav Canada. 

The Normac 7000B systems feature glide path and localizer transmitters and antennas to enable horizontal and vertical guidance for aircraft approaching airports in the landing phase of flight. According to a spokesperson for Nav Canada, the ILS systems will replace older generation legacy ILS systems that were first installed in the 1970s. 
 
Currently, Nav Canada provides full localizer and glide path ILS service at 104 runways for 68 of Canada's 300 airports, the spokesperson said. Localizer service is also provided at an additional 17 runways and a total of 82 airports have either ILS or localizer service provided by Nav Canada. 
 
What is the biggest advantage for operators in Canadian airspace as the country's ANSP approaches the final phase of the ILS replacement program? ILS precision approach systems provide navigational guidance signals and information on modern cockpit avionics displays. This helps to guide pilots accurately to the point of landing, especially during low visibility conditions. Localizer transmitters provide  left-right guidance to and along the runway extended centreline, and the glide path transmitters have the ability to broadcast a beam into the vertical plane indicating aircraft position above or below the desired flight path angle. 
 
Two of Canada's prominent airlines, Air Canada and low cost carrier WestJet are both introducing newer aircraft into their commercial fleets with avionics that are compatible with the upgraded ILS systems Nav Canada is introducing.  WestJet placed an order for 65 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in September, and Air Canada is upgrading its fleet of Boeing 767s with Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) and Future Air Navigation System (FANS) enabled avionics while also introducing new 777s and 787s into its fleet through 2019.
 
 
Indra Navia's glide path antenna structure. Photo, courtesy of Nav Canada. 
 
“The completion of this program represents a significant milestone for Nav Canada,” said Rudy Kellar, executive vice president of service delivery for Nav Canada. “Each replacement improves the reliability of service for our customers and reduces our own maintenance costs.”
 
Limitations of previous generation ILS systems were the inability of the systems' signals to bend around mountains and avoid obstacles. Basically, the legacy systems provide straight in approaches to a runway point, which is difficult to do in low visibility conditions. Excessive maintenance and installation costs were also problems of the legacy systems that were first deployed in Canada and across other air transportation systems throughout the world. 
 
As air traffic volumes continue to grow in Canada the new ILS systems will provide more predictability and increased efficiency for airlines and business jet operators in Canada, especially when attempting to land in low visibility conditions brought about by the nation's severe winters.

“This is a proven and foundational technology for air navigation service providers across the globe,” said Kellar. 

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