Six airports to boost runway capacity but crews need to be familiar with procedures

Special approach procedures are to be introduced at six US international airports to increase runway utilisation, and foreign crews will not be able to land there unless they have completed a prescribed training programme or get pre-departure clearance, says the US Federal Aviation Administration. Airports affected will be New York Kennedy, San Francisco International, Minneapolis/St Paul, Philadelphia, St Louis and Cleveland.

The FAA requires that every national aviation authority overseeing airlines operating to the airports using the new system will be responsible for reporting that pilot training has been completed to the specified standards.

There are two types of approach, depending on how close the parallel runways are. Both are monitored by a dedicated air traffic controller with a precision runway monitor (PRM) who can order one of the aircraft to carry out a "breakout" manoeuvre if either enters the "no transgression zone".

The simplest form - for parallel runways laterally less than 1,310m (4,300ft) but more than 915m apart - is the instrument landing system (ILS)/PRM. These are conventional ILS approaches aligned with their respective runways, but subject to PRM to ensure safety.

For parallel runways laterally closer than 915m but more than 230m apart, one of the runways has an ILS/PRM approach and the other an approach offset between 2° and 3° from the runway heading to increase the lateral separation between approaching aircraft. This would apply at San Francisco and St Louis, says the FAA. The offset approach would have a localiser-type direction aid (LDA) that would give glideslope advice as an ILS does.

On this type of approach - an LDA/PRM - the aircraft would be spaced behind an aircraft simultaneously flying the ILS/PRM, and would be the heavier of the two because of wake vortex considerations. But the pilots flying the LDA/PRM would have to be sure that the reported visibility and cloudbase would give them 30s to visually acquire both the aircraft ahead and their own landing runway. Then at the minimum descent point the pilot flying would be able to manually intercept the extended centreline to be stabilised by 500ft on the final visual approach.

The advance training would test pilots' understanding of the approach types, and also their ability to react correctly to a breakout instruction at a given minimum rate. Finally, they have to prove their ability to combine a breakout turn with an airborne collision avoidance system resolution advisory.


Source: Flight International