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Ballina Byron aiming for RNP

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 4, 2013
Runway 24 Smart Tracking arrival flight path, shown in green, with current conventional arrival flight path to Runway 06 shown in red. (Airservices)
Runway 24 Smart Tracking arrival flight path, shown in green, with current conventional arrival flight path to Runway 06 shown in red. (Airservices)

Ballina Byron airport has commissioned Airservices to introduce RNAV (RNP)-AR terminal instrument flight procedures – or Smart Tracking.

Airservices is developing new arrival flightpaths for both Runway 06 and Runway 24 at the regional airport, which has experienced rapid high-capacity traffic growth with the introduction of services by Jetstar and Virgin Australia.

The new flightpaths are close to existing conventional flightpaths, so no new residential areas will be over flown.  There will also be no significant changes in the heights at which aircraft will fly over residential areas. Airservices said, however, it is possible that Smart Tracking, which is a precise navigation technology, will lead to flights being concentrated more along the flight path.

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But the enhancement will only be progressively implemented, with Jetstar the sole carrier that has committed to using Smart Tracking at Ballina Byron airport.

Airservices said: “Over the next few years, other commercial airlines are expected to equip their aircraft and train their crews to use the system, so use of Smart Tracking will increase.”

With Smart Tracking, decision height for landing is reduced from the current 660ft at Ballina Byron airport to 250ft, allowing more landings to take place in poor weather.

Subject to successful community consultation, the procedures are expected to be operational early 2014.

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Airservices has been trialling Smart Tracking around Australia since 2006 and the system has been permanently implemented at five airports around the country.

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