Sydney Airport Implements Precision Approach Capabilities

SmartPath becomes the first GBAS system in the southern hemisphere.

Precision navigation into Sydney, Australia, just got easier with the implementation of a version of Honeywell's Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS). Honeywell and Airservices, a government entity in Australia, jointly developed what has been termed SmartPath, which allows for precision approaches and landings within one meter of the centerline at the Sydney Airport. SmartPath incorporates Honeywell's SLS-4000 ground station and is the first GBAS system that has been implemented in the southern hemisphere.

Airservices began testing the system with Qantas in 2012 and, since then, the Australian airline has conducted 750 SmartPath approaches.

The system is currently compatible with Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A380. In order to use GBAS landing systems (GLS) approaches, the airplanes need GLS equipment capable of tuning in a five-digit frequency. Although the system and frequencies are new, the approach procedures are similar to that of an ILS.

"This revolutionary technology does the work of six separate instrument landing system units," said Sydney Airport CEO Kerrie Mather. "It's an additional layer of safety that more and more airlines will take advantage of as new aircraft models such as Airbus A380s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners go into service."

With its extreme precision GBAS could be the wave of the future. Systems have been installed in several cities in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

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