PBN as a driver to a positive change

3 februari 2020

With today’s environmental issues in the vicinity of an airport, especially in the Netherlands, modern navigation equipment could become a key in the design of noise abatement procedures. The benefits of introducing Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) procedures are optimisation, higher accuracy and reliability and less dependency on ground signals due to the usage of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)

In 2015, our colleague Paul Heslinga conducted his graduation research on the effects of PBN procedures on the noise in the vicinity of Rotterdam The Hague Airport. His research concluded that the Radius-to-Fix (RF), a PBN programming code, is the most accurate solution to get smaller limits in the variation of the flight tracks in turns. According to several studies, the accuracy can be as low as 0.1 nautical mile on a confidence scale of 95% on both sides of the nominal track. The use of RF-technique results in a high concentration of flight tracks, which makes avoidance of high-density living areas more important.

The results in the research showed that influence near the airport is limited due to the already small lateral dispersion closer to the airport. Even farther away from the airport, the lateral dispersion is still small with the use of PBN. This enables the possibility to focus on avoiding living areas.

The implementation of Advanced Required Navigation Performance (RNP) will ensure the use of the RF functionality. Advanced RNP’s main characteristic is a navigation specification addressing all phases of a flight. It offers a greater flexibility in the design of flight procedures, such as curved approaches. This can help to reduce the noise in living areas under a final approach segment. New techniques as flying a steeper glide slope and second runway aiming points can help to move the noise footprint closer to the airport. Besides the optimisation on noise, a reduction in emissions can be achieved through an increased use of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) and Continuous Climb Departure (CCD) operations.

The implementation of PBN solutions can be used to tackle environmental issues and enhance operations. The design of a flight route, especially in densely populated areas, is more important than it ever was for conventional procedures, due to high accuracy of modern navigation equipment. When used in the right way, PBN solutions can be a driver to a positive change.

As part of the framework agreement between I&W and the cooperation of Adecs Airinfra, MovingDot, Arcadis, CE Delft, TAKS, PwC and Erasmus UPT, we will be working on a new project. Together with our partners MovingDot and ADSE, we will be working on a new PBN roadmap for the Netherlands. In consultation with the ministry’s PBN taskforce and several other stakeholders, goals and milestones will be set for the coming 10 years. When the PBN roadmap is definite we will publish the results on our website, so make sure to keep an eye out. If you have any questions on this subject or how PBN can help on the mitigation of noise, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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