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SAE Standard Helps Eliminate Landing Delays for Aircraft

WARRENDALE, Pa., March 31, 2006 - An extra 15 seconds isn't a long time to wait when landing an aircraft, right?

But, when you take those extra 15 seconds and compound them for every aircraft landing on an airstrip each hour at some of the busiest airports in the country, you've got the word that is despised by all who travel by air – delay.

The SAE International standard "Aerospace Recommended Practice (ARP) 5628 – Final Approach Spacing System,” works to eliminate these delays by reducing the excess spacing buffers currently use by Air Traffic Control (ATC) when separating aircraft, by reducing the uncertainty in relative airplane positions. This reduction requires the use of more accurate means of controlling the spacing intervals between arriving aircraft.

"In recent years, air travel in the United States has increased at unprecedented rates, leading to traffic congestion in many of the busiest airport terminal areas," Terry Abbott, a research engineer working at the NASA Langley Research Center, and ARP5628 sponsor said. "And that trend is expected to continue. This standard supports the technologies aimed at alleviating the congestion."

Developed by NASA, the technology is a device that fits into the cockpit of an aircraft and is used during landing procedures. Essentially, the device in one aircraft receives data from the aircraft that is landing ahead of it. The device determines the speed of the leading plane and calculates how long it will take to touch down. It then adjusts the speed of the second aircraft to land precisely at an arrival interval provided by ATC, thus reducing the arrival dispersion and allowing more aircraft to land over a period of time.

"These saved seconds will reduce the number of delays in our busiest airports," Abbott said.

ARP5628 covers the usability of the NASA technology and explains how it best operates in the cockpit. The standard was written and created by SAE International's S-7 Flight Deck and Handling Qualities Standards for Transport Vehicle Committee. For more information on ARP5627 or other SAE standards, contact SAE Corporate Communications.


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