New: Airport GPS Technology For Arriving Planes

March 31, 2011

airplane aircraft planeMinister of Transport Terry Lister today [Mar.31] announced that the L.F. Wade International Airport has completed the modernization of its local airspace by adopting Global Positioning System [GPS] technology to create more precise, safer, and fuel efficient landing approaches for aircraft arriving in Bermuda.

This new technology places LF Wade International Airport directly in sync with a comprehensive overhaul initiative by the FAA to modernize America’s aging and congestive national airspace.

A spokesperson said, “The initiative, known as NextGen, is designed to make air travel to and within the United States, more convenient and dependable, while ensuring flights are as safe, secure and hassle-free as possible. While the plan ensures better air traffic control and greater fuel savings, it also introduces technology that allows for a greater likelihood of landings during inclement weather.”

“Since the airport was first operated by the United States Navy, aircraft arriving in Bermuda relied primarily on Visual Approaches and limited navigational aid from airfield instruments when landing.”

Airport General Manager, Aaron Adderley, suggested that while such approaches are common-place around the world, they are heavily dependent on fair weather conditions, meaning that when visibility was low, arriving aircraft increasingly had to divert to alternate airports along the US East Coast.

“One of the biggest objectives within our short-term strategic plan was to modernize our landing approach system,” said Mr. Adderley.

“For the first time ever, Bermuda will have a state-of-the-art precision approach on both ends of the runway. There are 27 different satellites orbiting the planet that are providing the GPS technology we’re using for aircraft to pinpoint their way to touchdown even during inclement weather when visibility is low. While not completely removing the possibility, these new approaches certainly minimize the likelihood of flights having to divert somewhere to the East Coast when the Island is experiencing severe weather conditions,” said Mr. Adderley.

The Airport commissioned a study to analyze its landing instruments in 2008. The study concluded that the utilization of GPS technology would greatly enhance Bermuda’s airspace.

Leading airspace design experts, Jeppesen, a subsidiary company of aviation giants, Boeing, were called upon to redesign Bermuda’s landing approaches. Seven new, state-of-the-art, precision approaches were designed offering pilots a choice of various different routes to take when making their way from midair to touchdown.

Four of these mapped approaches using satellite technology, are known as RNAV or Area Navigation approaches, which enable an aircraft to fly a smoother, less rigorous course when making its final descent to Runway 12/30.

The seven new approaches ensure greater levels of safety and fuel efficiency, since aircraft can now line up further out and descend more efficiently into Bermuda.

While the new FAA-endorsed approaches reduce the likelihood of weather-related diversions, Mr. Adderley added that to ensure the continuation of flight arrivals during the most severe thunderstorm activity, when visibility is often at its lowest, additional runway lighting would be required to supplement the new approaches. The airport will look to pursue that as part of future enhancement works.

“Bermuda can be proud of the fact that L.F. Wade International Airport is one of the very first airports in the western hemisphere to have introduced the state-of-the-art global satellite technology featured in the FAA NextGen project,” said Minister Lister.

“These new landing approaches are unique and ensure that we are in a position to assist the FAA in realizing its NextGen initiative. They’ve been great partners over the years recognizing the important role that Bermuda plays in the control of air traffic up and down the very congested East Coast corridor and this helps to strengthen that partnership,” he added.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Warrior Queen says:


    • just fishin' says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble! We have no more money.

  2. just fishin' says:

    No amount of “NextGen” technology will help during the only weather-related issue we have at the airport….wind.
    When was the last time a plane could not land here because of a weather-related issue other than wind?
    We have little fog, no “ageing and congestive national airspace”.
    Surely pilots can line up the runway from hundreds of miles out…there are no population areas out there and no mountains to avoid.
    I wonder what the Boeing axperts cost us,and what financial benefit the Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen, derived from the sale of this expensive equipment.
    You don’t need 27 satellites to find Bermuda, good grief, no matter what fuel one is going to save…that’s a smokescreen.
    And no where in this story is there mention of how much this all cost us suffering taxpayers.
    (My apologies if the US FAA paid for it. It would have been mentioned if they did so I have to presume not).
    We cannot afford anymore to be first anymore Hon. Minister! No more bragging rights please! Time to take our time. Anyway, if we had waited until next year we’d probably find we’d pick this technology up at half the price.
    We cannot afford it…read my lips.

    • Terry says:

      Glad you posted that before me. I was hoping someone would say what I was thinking.

      As far as I can remember from my flying days, New York Centre and Oceana control everything across the Atlantic save US Military EWACS et al buty still coordinated.

      Fuel? Every pilot knows he needs an alternate plus loiter et al. Hell, you can still do “Dead Reckoning” if your good with a timex and a compass.

      Valid points Fishin….plus Bermuda can route you round weather once you decend to AGL requirements for an approach. Hell…it have been cheaper to put up fishing nets north and south of 12/30….keep that crosswing down a bit.

      Anyway…GP1…Tower. .Taxi into position and hold runway 12..winds 140 @7…….

      • Knowledgeable says:

        Sounds like you should know better than post what you did. Think again…….

    • Knowledgeable says:

      WOW! Just fishin, you are sooooooo far off base speculating about things you DON’T know about, its a shame! Do you realize that if airlines could save just a few minutes worth of fuel on each of their flights that it transforms into literally millions of dollars a year which then can influence where they decide to fly? If you don’t know just leave it alone, just free advice for you.

      On this one mate, if I were you, I would just say thank you very much and give your Airport management a HUGE pat on the back.

      In some recent other areas I’ve agreed with you but again, just say thank you mate. Trust me, Bermuda did very well on this one, on ALL accounts. You, along with the rest of we Bermudians, should be very very proud!!

      Not everything is a smokescreen!

  3. Knowledgeable says:

    Speaking from a position of knowledge is always best. Here you go Fishin and Terry, lets see if you can figure out WHY and HOW MUCH you are wrong:

  4. just fishin says:

    @knowledgeable. Sorry, your point please? Planes have been flying directly to Bermuda for years. How many daily flights fly into Bermuda? WE NO LONGER HAVE THE MONEY TO BE FIRST IN THE WORLD (Hon Minister’s words) ANYMORE. Unless this wonderful equipment was paid for by the airlines or the FAA what is the benefit to our country? The airlines will reduce our airfares? The US Govt will stop beating on us about our tax status? What’s the point of this equipment exactly? This is why we have no money. And who paid for Jeppesen pray tell. And hey! Tell me WHY and HOW MUCH was MY question…I asked it first! I’m no aviator for sure but I’m one fed up taxpayer.

    • Bermie says:

      This system is going to cost upwards of $25,000,000.00 by the time it is installed.( A convenient omission in the written article) An aircraft has not had to divert at the Bermuda International Airport because of low visibility that I can recall in over 30 years. Notwithstanding crosswinds for which this system is totally useless. Bermuda weather does not lend itself to high instances of fog or low cloud cover.

      So again at the cost of being “first”, is it money well spent ? A resounding NO would be my answer.

      We are flying less than 10 flights a day into this island and yet spending millions which we most likely will never use. What sort of return on investment are we going to be getting? And more importantly, is this system being mandated by the FAA, and why doesn’t all the big US east coast cities have it?

      It is a smokescreen and someone always lines their pockets with money in the instances.

      Just Fishing and Terry obviously have some insight into the operations of flying and I will be more inclined to listen to what they have to say. If Knowledgable knew how that Airport Management ran things at the airport, he would soon realize that that is the most inefficient and overloaded department run by Government who waste money hand over foot. We used to have over 20 flights a day and the airport was run by less than half the staff it has now. Go Figure !

      All this system is, is nice bells and whistles which will not have have beneficial use to anyone, especially the average Mr & Mrs Bermuda and their families.

    • Knowledgeable says:

      Wow again!! I guess you didn’t read or understand the link. RNAV is explained thoroughly, even to the point a non aviator can understand.

      The short explanation of why and how much you were wrong is that the equipment necessary for RNAV and RNP to work is it’s in the AIRPLANE BIE!!! In short, no investment into equipment for Bermuda, in other words very little money was paid by Bermuda. Last I checked, we don’t own any aircraft!

      So there is no smokescreen, except the cloud around your head at the moment. And the proverbial Nike sneaker in your mouth.

      Bermie, wow, don’t know where you made up that number from but I hope you don’t do your own finances. And just to let you know this technology has been around since at least the 80s and 90s, we are not “first” by a long shot.

      Really people, you are willing to publicly “spout off” without any knowledge of what you are talking about?! There is more aviation than just Bermuda and there is more to the world than just looking from St. Georges to Dockyard. Open your eyes and see the world for what it is and what it can do for little old Bermuda.

      You guys are entertaining, I will give you that. Can’t wait for your responses, more laughs for sure.

      • just fishin' says:

        Here’s my problem with your point of view….reading down from paragraph #7….there’s is every indication that the taxpayer has forked out money on this, starting with the Jeppesen study.( To paraphrase…”we did this, we did that”). Everything in this Government press release indicates that this new system is here in Bermuda, and at the taxpayers’ expence. You say that the equipment is in the plane? Of course there is equipment in the plane to read the equipment that’s on the ground here….but the equipment in the plane is reading OUR equipment on the ground. The taxpayers’ equipment. Now here’s my other problem….you deride the $25Mil figure that Bermie writes of, yet you quote a figure of “very little money….”. Where does your figure come from? You do seem very “Knowledgeable” about that….so share that number with us and then I can calm down.
        I would hope that you and I can agree one thing….the Government press release could and should have been written more clearly. (Wasn’t written by you was it :-) ? )

        • Bermie says:

          AND it should have stated what the system was going to cost us Bermudian tax payers to see if it was “money well spent”. Why don’t you just ask them to reveal it…….hence, , a “smokescreen”.

          If you think Jeppesen done this study out of the goodness of their heart to land 10 planes a day in weather that doesn’t exist here, there is a bridge in NY that you can possibly buy.

          Even the ministers very own statement that it is one of the first in the Western Hemisphere leads credence to the fact that this is not 20 or 30 year old technology.

          Its like giving an electric meat carver to a vegetarian. Nice, but useless.

          • Knowledgeable says:

            Jeppesen is a Boeing company that produce approach routes/plates for airports all over the world. Bermuda, as well as almost every other airport, routinely update and change routes to maximize efficiency.

            Point being: what Jeppesen has done for Bermuda is no different than what they have do for Bermuda and all other airports in the past. In other words, it probably cost the same amount of money it has cost in the past, that you and everyone else knew nothing about. Its just the cost of running an international airport, NO REAL EXTRA COSTS!

            I will admit though, Ministers and management don’t always explain things very clearly. It would be nice if they let those who know write the explanations/descriptions before they make a press release.

            Bottom line, before you or anyone else “spout off” get the facts first! The internet is a wonderful thing for research, it only takes minutes. Reading is fundamental!

            Just fishin, point taken about what was put into the release. But I give you the same advice as Bermie. If you are going to criticize at least have some knowledge behind you. Had you done that YOU could have corrected the Minister/management!

            Oh Just Fishin, RNAV is GPS based navigation as the link I provided states. The equipment on the plane uses satellite based GPS data to plot the aircraft’s course, hence there IS NO EQUIPMENT NECESSARY ON THE GROUND TO SEND TO THE AIRCRAFT!! As well there IS NO EQUIPMENT ON THE GROUND THAT BERMUDIAN TAXPAYERS ARE FOOTING THE BILL FOR!! Again, not withstanding what was released by Government. We absolutely agree on that the release wasn’t clear on its points.

            Have a good day mates!

            • just fishin says:

              Thanks Knowledgable…So Bermuda has spent not a dime on this and by your account (your last paragraph) we haven’t installed any equipment, right?
              So what are the Minister and the airport managment crowing about being first in the Hemisphere/World, 2 page press release, blah blah blah ….?
              This certainly takes spin to a new level!!

              • Knowledgeable says:

                I wouldn’t presume to guess at what they actually meant to say. But I can tell you its a feather in our cap and a step in the direction that the FAA is moving towards. NextGen is in its second or third year and for us to be aligning ourselves with this global move is very impressive for a tiny country such as ours.

                Having said that, Bermuda is VERY important in the aviation community, most people have no idea how important!

                As I said initially, we should all give the Government a pat on the back and just say thank you. By all accounts, they got this one right. Even though it doesn’t seem as if it were explained properly. Now, tomorrow we may be back to business as usual, unfortunately. But hopefully this can be the start of a change for our Government, I did say hopefully.

  5. Jim Garlic says:

    With this new fangled GPS system up and running,maybe now we could zero in on all the MONEY thats diappeared in THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE