GE, LAN advance Green Skies project with Lima landing

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LAN Peru Airlines on 16 July advanced the state-of-the-art for air navigation by performing the first combination of a navigation performance required (RNP) arrival procedure to an instrument landing system approach followed by autoland landing, says GE Aviation.

Part of the Green Skies of Peru project, a collaborative effort between LAN, GE and Peruvian aviation officials, the demonstration used performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures developed by GE for Lima's Jorge Chavez International airport. The approach and landing came at the conclusion of LAN flight 2116 from Arequipa to Lima using an Airbus A319.

The RNP "authorisation required" (RNP AR) arrival uses onboard satellite-based navigation guidance and custom-designed paths to efficiently lead the aircraft to the starting point for the ground-based Category II instrument landing system (ILS) on runway 15 at Lima. The new procedure will boost capacity by eliminating the need for controllers to otherwise issue a series of altitude and speed commands to align RNP-capable aircraft on the ILS, says GE.

"Traditionally, non-RNP capable aircraft arriving into Lima experience unpredictable operations due to air traffic control vectors required to merge onto the ILS," says GE. "This can lead to increased workload for the pilots and controllers and add level flight segments that contribute to higher fuel use and unnecessary carbon emissions."

While category II ILS approaches in actual instrument weather must terminate with the pilots making a visual landing from an altitude of 100ft (30m) decision height (DH) above the runway, the LAN crew at Lima on 16 July were able to use the A319's autoland function to the ground with the pilots monitoring the system as the weather was better than Category II minimums.

Steve Fulton, technical fellow for GE Aviation, says LAN is expecting in the near future to publish an RNP AR arrival procedure to a Category III ILS, which will allow for 50ft decision height, thereby increasing accessibility to the airport for RNP-equipped aircraft and trained crews.

GE expects the Lima RNP AR procedure to be available for continuous operations by the end of the year, complementing similar PBN-to-ILS procedures underway or in testing at four other airports - Dubai; Ketchikan, Alaska; Goteborg, Sweden and Sydney, Australia.

The demonstration phase of Green Skies project launched in February when LAN flew the region's first "continuously guided flight" from take-off to landing using PBN technology, says GE.

"The procedures save participating airlines on average 19 track miles, 6.3 minutes, 450 pounds of fuel and 1,420 pounds of CO2 emissions per flight," says GE.