Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 417. Updated Tuesday, 08 July 2014

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Landing system hits ground running

A new aircraft landing system has been brought into service at Sydney Airport.

The SmartPath technology (otherwise known as a Ground Based Augmentation System, GBAS), is a precision approach and landing system allowing suitably equipped aircraft to land within one metre of the runway centre line in low visibility conditions.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of Airservices, Mark Rodwell said that the technology improved the accuracy of aircraft positioning and could reliably guide aircraft along a predictable, precise landing path by correcting Global Positioning System (GPS) errors and transmitting data directly to an aircraft's flight management system.

"By integrating SmartPath and other GPS-based operations with air traffic management, Airservices is focused on delivering new satellite-based performance-driven air navigation systems for the 21st century," he said.

Airservices launches new technology

Mr Rodwell said if required SmartPath was capable of providing up to 26 simultaneous instrument approaches within a 42km radius from the airport.

He said it would also reduce maintenance and provide more efficient calibration than traditional instrument landing systems (ILS).

Mr Rodwell said Airservices used its own extensive experience in satellite navigation technology to partner with Honeywell Aerospace in developing the SmartPath system.

He said Honeywell was the world's first and only GBAS supplier to have achieved system design approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Mr Rodwell said in conjunction with Qantas, Airservices began an operational test and evaluation of the Honeywell SLS-4000 GBAS in December 2012. This allowed suitability equipped Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A380 aircraft with qualified flight crew to fly SmartPath approaches.

He said as part of the trial Qantas conducted more than 750 GBAS approaches, on top of more than 2,000 approaches the airline made during an earlier trial of a prototype system between 2006 and 2010 at Sydney Airport.

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