EASA certifies “Brake To Vacate” (BTV) and “Runway Overrun Warning & Prevention” (ROW/ROP) systems on the Airbus A380

Following recent successful development testing, “Brake-To-Vacate” (BTV) and “Runway Overrun Warning and Prevention” (ROW/ROP) have both been approved and certified for the Airbus A380 by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). BTV is an Airbus innovation in pilot aid to ease airport congestion and improve runway turnaround time, and ROW/ROP addresses runway excursion risk at landing. Both BTV and ROW/ROP which are patented by Airbus, are aimed at improving runway turnaround time and reducing risk of over-running the runway at landing.

Brake-to-Vacate (BTV)
BTV was designed by a transnational team in Toulouse, France and Filton, England. By harnessing the power of the A380’s integral GPS and airport database based On-Board Airport Navigation System (OANS) combined with the Auto-Flight and Auto-Brake facilities, BTV gives pilots real-time visibility on realistic braking distances to reach their preferred exit. It also allows in-flight operational landing distance assessment during landing preparation. When the pilot chooses a runway exit point, the system indicates the estimated runway occupancy time and the minimum turnaround time. During the subsequent landing phase, and according to encountered runway conditions (i.e. ‘wet’ or dry’), the aircraft’s deceleration is automatically regulated so it reaches the chosen exit at the correct speed.

BTV benefits also benefits airlines: reducing brake-wear by lowering overall braking energy requirements and temperatures; relieving maximum thrust-reverser usage on dry runways; the regulated and smooth deceleration increases passengers’ comfort; reducing noise, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions; enabling air traffic control to schedule up to 15 percent more aircraft departures; enabling airlines to maximise the number of aircraft rotations; and reducing the exposure time to a runway incursion risk by minimising runway occupancy time.

Runway Overrun Warning (ROW) & Runway Overrun Prevention (ROP)
The complementary ROW/ROP system computes realistic operational landing distances and compares them to the available landing distance in real time, while accommodating factors including: aircraft velocity, position, altitude and weight; runway conditions; ambient temperature and wind; and runway elevation. The “ROW” forewarns the pilot, either, if the aircraft is approaching a runway which is deemed ‘too short’, or, if the remaining runway length becomes too short (e.g. if a ‘late’ touchdown point is predicted due to unstable approach conditions).

In such cases following the ROW warning, the mandatory procedure for the pilot is to perform a ‘go-around’ for another approach attempt onto a runway with sufficient length. However, if due to an emergency or any other reason, the pilot is unable to perform a ‘go-around’ and another approach is not possible, the pilot may instead take an overriding decision to continue landing on the ‘too short’ runway.

Here, the ‘ROP’ protection would automatically be activated to bring the aircraft to a stop in the shortest possible distance using full braking power, and with maximum reverse thrust if required, while leaving the pilot with the authority to disengage ROP at any time.

BTV and ROW/ROP were first trialled on an A340-600 in 2004, and on the A380 in May 2008. The recent approval and certification by EASA paves the way for their introduction on the A380 with launch customers Air France and Lufthansa. BTV & ROW/ROP will also be a standard feature of the forthcoming A350 XWB aircraft.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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