The Faroes and RNP

This shot of the runway at Vagar, Faroe Islands is copied from Atlantic Airways’ inflight magazine Atlantic Review. It’s not a recent photograph, and things have changed since then. Not dramatically, but significantly.

This blog post complements the previous one which describes – in pictures – the first commercial operation into Vagar by Atlantic Airways’ new Airbus A319, using the new RNP-AR satellite-guided precision approach procedure.

Here we look at some of the enabling changes that led to the introduction of RNP, and the challenges faced by this airline that serves the Faroe Islands.

Runway in the magazine.JPGSince this shot was taken, the magnetic pole has shifted a little, and the runway designation is no longer 13/31, it’s 12/30. It has also been lengthened to prepare for A319 operations.

An Atlantic Airways shot (below) taken from above the approach to 30, also before the runway was lengthened, gives a good picture of the terrain aviators face approaching the other end – runway 12.

App to 30 Vagar.jpgHere (below) is the approach to 30 on the newly lenthened runway, which I took from the A319 on its first commercial schedule, inbound from Copenhagen on 28 March.

Final 3.jpgVagar’s runway has been lengthened from 1,250m to 1,799m (5,847ft) by extending both ends on raised embankments. Here are the approach light stanchions for runway 12 in the shadow of the raised runway threshold…

App lights to 12.2.jpgAlso evident in the magazine picture is that Atlantic’s entire fleet of BAE Systems Avro RJs had converged on Vagar that day. They didn’t have the A319 at the time. They still have some RJs now as well as the Airbus.

The approach to runway 12 is reckoned to be the more picturesque, but I didn’t get to fly it in the aeroplane. 

However Atlantic Airways’ chief executive Magni Arge took me for a brief drive along the fjord that channels the final approaches. This shot looks along the water toward runway 12

View of rwy 12 app path 2.jpg

…and here is a chart showing how the various RNP approaches to 12 all end up flowing along the inlet toward the runway

Z appch to 12.JPGHere’s how it looks when you get a little closer to the runway 12 threshold, but seen from sea level…

Rwy 12 threshold from below.jpgYou can see the raised threshold area for 12.

Meanwhile, since that time Atlantic have sent me a beautiful picture of the 12 approach taken from above the inlet on a perfect day…

App to 12 Vagar.jpgThat picture was also taken before the runway was lengthened, but it gives a perfect picture of how the terrain intrudes on the left side of the approach path, forcing a right turn on short final for 12.

There is also some interesting terrain waiting for the unwary at the entrance to the inlet…

View 3.jpgBelow is a picture of Magni Arge addressing the passengers and crew at Copenhagen Kastrup before the first scheduled commercial A319 trip to Vagar. A historic moment for Atlantic, and for the Faroes.

Magni Arge.jpgThey arrived on time, and safely.

Thumbnail image for Aircraft on Vagar pan.jpg

One Response to The Faroes and RNP

  1. David Connolly 6 April, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    My PFD/ND rule of thumb in general is “Ensure that the ANP does not exceed the RNP, prior to the MAP!”