Australia and Honeywell are aiming for US Federal Aviation Administration and Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority certification of their ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) in 2009. The system is being used on a trial basis by Qantas at Sydney airport, with the airline reporting encouraging results, writes Emma Kelly.

The partners are marketing the system worldwide, with Airservices responsible for Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and Honeywell handling the Americas and Europe.

GBAS is a precision approach and landing system, designed to replace instrument landing systems. It is installed at an airport and broadcasts GPS correction signals via very high-frequency radio to aircraft, providing greater accuracy and integrity of signals than aircraft-or satellite-based augmentation systems, allowing aircraft to reach lower decision heights, according to Airservices.

Qantas was the first carrier to take delivery of a GBAS-certificated aircraft last year, with nine of its Boeing 737-800s GBAS-compatible. Its new Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s on order will also be GBAS-capable.

Qantas chief pilot Chris Manning says the GPS-based landing system provides more accurate and stable tracking information than conventional approach systems can be coupled to flexible, curved approach paths, providing more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly flight paths and provides accurate approach paths to runways that were previously unable to accommodate conventional ILS.

Honeywell and Airservices are also developing a ground-based regional augmentation system to provide coverage for small commercial and general aviation aircraft.

Source: Flight International