A consultation on the wider availability of instrument approach procedures at smaller UK aerodromes has been launched by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The number of aerodromes which could be approved for instrument approaches could increase as a consequence.
Instrument approach procedures allow an aircraft to follow a pre-set flight pattern from initial approach to touching down on the runway by using radio or satellite navigation. Improvements in technology, in particular in relation to satellite-based navigation techniques, make this a more widely available option than has previously been the case as there is no requirement for costly ground infrastructure. At some locations it may be possible to replace old technology with these newer procedures.
Ahead of the consultation the CAA has set out its recommendations for allowing a wider deployment of instrument approaches at UK aerodromes, without compromising levels of safety. This could see an expansion of the number of aerodromes that can gain approval, and ultimately could result in instrument approaches being available at unlicensed airfields, provided certain criteria can be met.
All relevant sections of the aviation industry, from aerodrome managers, air traffic controllers, commercial air operators and general aviation pilots, are encouraged to take part in the consultation, which is open until 31 December 2013.
Phil Roberts, Head of Airspace, Air Traffic Management and Aerodromes at the CAA, said: “We feel it is time to introduce a ‘risk-based’ policy which would allow instrument approaches to be introduced at a greater number of UK aerodromes. Although not exclusively related to satellite navigation systems - as applicants could still apply for an instrument approach based on conventional navigation aids - it is likely to be of most benefit at some of the smaller aerodromes where advantage could be taken of satellite technologies.”
The consultation will run from 25 October 2013 to 31 December 2013. For more information, and to submit a response to the consultation, visit www.caa.co.uk/consultations