EASA clears A380's brake-to-vacate and overrun protection

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Lufthansa and Air France are set to introduce two landing systems on the Airbus A380, one designed to increase runway efficiency and the other to prevent overruns.

Both systems - brake-to-vacate and runway overrun protection - have been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Brake-to-vacate combines satellite positioning with the aircraft's on-board airport database and flight-control systems to provide crews with braking distances to their preferred runway exit.

Once the pilot has selected a runway exit point, the system manages the deceleration - taking into account runway surface conditions - in order to ensure the jet reaches the exit at the correct vacate speed.

Airbus says this cuts wear on brakes and lowers the need for thrust-reverser use on dry runways, and contributes to a smoother overall landing. It also claims that the system increases runway efficiency, by minimising occupancy time, and allows up to 15% more departures to be scheduled.

The second system, runway overrun warning and protection, is a complementary function that calculates operational landing distances and alerts the pilot if the remaining available runway distance becomes too short.

Airbus says the system takes into account several elements - not just the aircraft's speed and position but also the temperature, wind and runway elevation.

Even if the runway distance is initially considered acceptable, the system will continue to monitor it in real time and warn the pilot if there is a risk of overrun - if the aircraft, for example, is likely to overshoot the touchdown point. Airbus says that pilots would then execute a mandatory go-around.

Should the pilot be unable to conduct a go-around, says the airframer, the system includes an override option. An automatic overrun protection function would then engage to bring the aircraft to a halt in the shortest possible distance, using maximum braking and reverse thrust if necessary.

"The pilot has the authority to disengage the runway overrun protection at any time," says Airbus.

Air France and Lufthansa are launch customers for the systems. Air France is to take delivery of its first A380 this week, while Lufthansa will receive its aircraft next year.

Airbus says that the two systems will be standard features on its A350 XWB twin-jet.