Airport gets GPS technology for ‘precise, safer and fuel efficient landings’ – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Airport gets GPS technology for ‘precise, safer and fuel efficient landings’

New technology is in place at LF Wade International Airport to create more precise, safer, and fuel efficient landing approaches for aircraft arriving in Bermuda, the Ministry of Transport announced this afternoon.

Terry Lister, Transport Minister, said the airport had completed the modernisation of its local airspace by adopting Global Positioning System technology, which places LF Wade International Airport directly in sync with a comprehensive overhaul initiative by the FAA to modernise America's aging and congestive national airspace.

The initiative, known as NextGen, is designed to make air travel to and within the United States, more convenient and dependable, while ensuring flights are as safe, secure and hassle-free as possible. While the plan ensures better air traffic control and greater fuel savings, it also introduces technology that allows for a greater likelihood of landings during inclement weather.

Since the airport was first operated by the United States Navy, aircraft arriving in Bermuda relied primarily on Visual Approaches and limited navigational aid from airfield instruments when landing.

Airport General Manager, Aaron Adderley, said that while such approaches are common-place around the world, they are heavily dependent on fair weather conditions, meaning that when visibility is low, arriving aircraft increasingly had to divert to alternate airports along the US East Coast.

The Airport commissioned a study to analyze its landing instruments in 2008. The study concluded that the utilization of GPS technology would greatly enhance Bermuda's airspace.

“One of the biggest objectives within our short-term strategic plan was to modernise our landing approach system,” said Mr Adderley.

Airspace design experts, Jeppesen, a subsidiary company of aviation giants, Boeing, was called upon to redesign Bermuda's landing approaches. Seven new, state-of-the-art, precision approaches were designed offering pilots a choice of various different routes to take when making their way from midair to touchdown.

Four of these mapped approaches using satellite technology, are known as RNAV or Area Navigation approaches, which enable an aircraft to fly a smoother, less rigorous course when making its final descent to runway 1⅔0.

The seven new approaches ensure greater levels of safety and fuel efficiency, since aircraft can now line up further out and descend more efficiently into Bermuda.

“For the first time ever, Bermuda will have a state-of-the-art precision approach on both ends of the runway. There are 27 different satellites orbiting the planet that are providing the GPS technology we're using for aircraft to pinpoint their way to touchdown even during inclement weather when visibility is low.

“While not completely removing the possibility, these new approaches certainly minimise the likelihood of flights having to divert somewhere to the East Coast when the Island is experiencing severe weather conditions,” said Mr Adderley.

While the new FAA-endorsed approaches reduce the likelihood of weather-related diversions, Mr Adderley said to ensure the continuation of flight arrivals during the most severe thunderstorm activity, when visibility is often at its lowest, additional runway lighting would be required to supplement the new approaches.

The airport will look to pursue that as part of future enhancement works.

New GPS technology has been installed at LF Wade International Aiport to create more precise, safer, and fuel efficient landing approaches for aircraft.

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Published March 31, 2011 at 2:49 pm (Updated March 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm)

Airport gets GPS technology for ‘precise, safer and fuel efficient landings’

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