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LHR - Steeper Approaches trial 14 September 2015

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LHR - Steeper Approaches trial 14 September 2015

Old 10th Aug 2015, 11:42
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LHR - Steeper Approaches trial 14 September 2015

http://www.heathrow.com/file_source/...fact_sheet.pdf

The international standard approach for most airports in the world is set at 3 degrees, except for obstacle clearance (e.g. buildings, mountains etc.). Recent experience at Frankfurt airport has demonstrated that slightly steeper approach angles are possible in the short to medium term to reduce noise for people living nearby.

Starting on 14 September 2015 we will be trialling an approach angle of 3.2 degrees. This requires no modifications to aircraft equipment or specific pilot training. The trial has been approved by the CAA and is planned to run until 16 March 2016.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 12:49
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According to the AIP, the trial actually starts on September 17th (AIRAC 1512).

The existing RNAV 3 approach will be withdrawn during the trial, though of course the conventional 3 ILS/MLS will continue to be available.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 13:30
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Some Airlines like ours have strict stabilized criteria which can make it a challenge to follow the LHR speed control requirements. This 3.2 deg slope won't help that at all......

So it will be interesting to see how it goes for some LH WB operators......
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 13:54
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Originally Posted by ACMS
Some Airlines like ours have strict stabilized criteria which can make it a challenge to follow the LHR speed control requirements.
Out of interest, do you use the current RNAV approach?

If you use the ILS, you can ignore the trial, it's not compulsory.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 14:31
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I am sure the trial will be a resounding success and the airport authority will already have their PR party piece at the ready to placate the tree huggers. Never mind that the reality of the situation will be aircraft shooting the glide with gear and speedbrakes thrown out much earlier and a significantly higher noise footprint as a result. And let's not get into fuel burn........
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 14:33
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Angry

Expect requests for the microwave approach to cease and be replaced with requests for the trial RNAV instead.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 14:43
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Increasing the glideslope at an airport purely for noise, in fact for anything for anything other than terrain, shows that the airport is not putting safety first. Pilots all know that an increased glideslope is more demanding, especially in a light headwind, and will increase the workload. Increased workload can lead to increased errors. This is nothing more than LHR trying to appease residents at the expense of flight safety.

The trail will probably prove a success because crew wont accept the steeper approach if the HWC is insufficient, on a training flight, marginal conditions, when fatigue levels are elevated etc, so the results in optimum conditions will look OK.

As MCDU2 says the crew will have to compensate by using high drag techniques which are high noise and you can kiss drag reduction techniques like Flap 3 goodbye.

Very poor show by LHR. Let us hope that other airports do not follow suit and 3.2deg does not become the new norm.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 14:50
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Yep, that extra 50 fpm is gonna be a serious challenge.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 15:11
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Chesty Morgan, exactly my thought. That extra .2 degrees won't make a huge differnce flying wise, if it helps noise wise it's worth a try!
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 15:15
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From the expressions of horror from the pros, it seems that what looks to the layman like a tiny change (0.2 degrees) really is a big deal for them.

Does anyone have any experience or feedback from the Frankfurt trial?
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 16:18
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It is an additional, unnecessary factor to be managed on the approach with no safety gain. It means that there will be more unstable approaches with their consequent dangers but with no great benefit. There will be additional noise generated and the approaches will be less efficient and will burn more fuel so less environmentally friendly. None of which would be an issue if there was a performance issue that needed to be addressed like at Marseilles or Naples. However, the only reason here is to appease people that have made the choice to live near an major airport. The noise levels have reduced significantly since the 80s and we didn't do steep approaches then for noise abatement. This is all about politics and reason or sense will have no input to the argument. I suspect the decision has already been made and now we are having a trial to prove the case, i.e. the trial will be deemed to be a success or failure or whatever it is intended to be irrespective of the data.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 16:22
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So 3.2 degrees isn't dangerous if there are hills around?
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 16:39
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3.0deg, 160 to 4, Airbus Flap 3, and stabilised by 1000R is all fairly marginal.

Throw in 3.2deg, and I wonder which of the others will give??

NoD
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 16:40
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It's a cheap attempt to "sell" the third runway to already hacked off residents - nothing more, nothing less. Looks good as a news item but has no legs - it won't live past it's "sell by" date.

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Old 10th Aug 2015, 17:11
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Indeed, Nige, one wonders how hundreds of 320 and 737 approaches everyday cope at Malaga with 160 to 3.8d on a 3.2 degree slope.

Go arounds and carnage are rife.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 17:15
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There's quite a few "much more interesting" glide slopes due to terrain, and I don't think there is any real world evidence this is unsafe. 3.2 is within autoland certification limits of transport a/c (no coincidence there), and I agree it shouldn't be such a huge change from 3. Worth a trial. Who knows, maybe it could even sharpen the skills of some pilots...stay ahead of the a/c, and configure early.

(And actually I think it's an interesting question, whether the added noise from being fully configured earlier will be offset by the steeper slope. I'm curious to see the results)

Last edited by deptrai; 10th Aug 2015 at 17:32.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 17:26
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I know this is not the ils but there must be a reason the manufacturers put a slope limit for auto land. More "hard" landings I fear. Enhanced safety not.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 17:35
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LHR - Steeper Approaches trial 14 September 2015

Chesty, my experience of Malaga is more limited than LHR but I would have to say that the controllers there generally have kittens if landing traffic is sequenced within 10 miles of each other. So although they ask for 160 till 4 it's not especially critical and most folks seem to fly the speed they need. If you slow early at LHR then it's likely you or the next aircraft will go around.
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 17:50
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I know it's a long time ago but wasn't the 23 ILS at LHR 3.5 degrees?
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 17:50
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3.3 degree ILS 27 at Bombay never seemed to be a problem.
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