Airservices is implementing the Honeywell SmartPath service in five phases with a strong focus on delivering benefits to the industry as early as possible. Honeywell SmartPath will be an integral component of Australia’s next-generation, satellite-based air navigation system.
Close industry cooperation is a key element of the Honeywell SmartPath program. In transitioning to Honeywell SmartPath and other satellite-based services, Airservices continues to seek input and guidance from the community and industry members, including aircraft operators, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the Australian Government and airports.
Airservices has completed Phase 1 to build operational experience with GBAS technology, using a Honeywell’s demonstration GBAS, SLS-3000, at Sydney International Airport.
In November 2006, Airservices and Qantas launched the world’s first GLS approach. Since then, Qantas has flown more than 2,500 GBAS-supported approaches and trained over 700 pilots on GBAS operations. Pilots have consistently reported that GBAS provides extremely smooth and stable guidance. Qantas is equipping its entire B737NG fleet with GLS. In January 2009, Qantas obtained CASA approval of GLS operations on Airbus A380s.
Phase 2 commenced in the third quarter of 2009 to replace the Honeywell SLS-3000 system with the SLS-4000 Honeywell SmartPath GBAS at Sydney. Honeywell SmartPath is the world’s first and only GBAS which has received US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system design approval. Airservices and CASA closely monitored this approval process.
Acceptance testing of the new system was carried out in August 2011 and a test and evaluation period commenced in late 2011. Airservices application to CASA to have Honeywell SmartPath Category I (CAT-I) operations at Sydney was approved in early 2014.
On 29 May 2014 CAT-I Honeywell SmartPath at Sydney was commissioned into service.
Phase 3 focuses on validating the Honeywell SmartPath operational benefits through the research, development and trial of Honeywell SmartPath-enabled operational capabilities, including displaced threshold operations, simultaneous approaches to parallel runways and low-visibility take-off and approach operations. The changes to air traffic control procedures, requirement for decision support tools and safety impact will be analysed in detail to assess the feasibility of advanced Honeywell SmartPath concept of operations.
In Phase 4, Airservices will continue to contribute to the development of Honeywell SmartPath CAT-III ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). These standards will guide the specifications for developing CAT-III GBAS technology to reduce flight delays and increase airport capacity in all-weather conditions.
Phase 5 will consider extending the Honeywell SmartPath network to suitable airports around Australia. The transition to Honeywell SmartPath will be an evolutionary process, building on the demonstration of proven Honeywell SmartPath benefits, aircraft GLS equipage rates, airport operating environment and cross-industry cost/benefit analyses.