The German federal aviation agency LBA has granted Lufthansa CityLine operational approval to make manual Category IIIa instrument landings with the head-up guidance system (HUGS)fitted in the carrier's Canadair Regional Jets (CRJs).

CityLine is the first carrier in Germany to receive this clearance for its Flight Dynamics-built HUGS, which the airline says is a cost-effective alternative to automatic-landing systems.

The company adds that the system has the added advantage of keeping the pilot in the loop and increasing situational awareness during landing.

"For the first time in the history of technical advancement in aviation, the pilot is not degraded further into the position of an observer of automatic sequenced events," according to CityLine senior CRJ training captain Raimund Neuhold.

The system presents all necessary information for a safe landing on a holographic display focused at infinity in the pilot's line of sight, keeping the symbology as near as possible to that in the primary flight display.

According to Flight Dynamics president John Desmond, the HUGS is cheaper to install than an automatic-landing system because it eliminates the need for the expensive flight-control systems which automatic landing requires.

The system is also being used on CRJs by Brit'Air in France, by Lauda Air and Tyrolean Airways in Austria and several Boeing 737,727 and de Havilland Dash 8 operators in the USA.

Horizon also had the system - cleared to Cat II only - fitted to its Fairchild Dornier 328 turboprop fleet, but decided to return the aircraft in 1996. Flight Dynamics now says that it is likely that Mountain Air Express will buy the HUGSfor its new 328 fleet, in which case the company will continue working towards Cat IIIa certification on the aircraft.

Source: Flight International