The future of flight

The future of flight

Big strides are being made in the aviation field in South Africa, notes Charles Norval, senior manager of operations and chief safety officer of special projects at Lanseria International Airport. Of course, Lanseria is at the forefront; forward looking and fit for the present and the future.

Norval is keen, though, to stress that Lanseria forms part of the greater Gauteng and South African airspace infrastructure, and that the country is certainly not lagging behind the world in aviation concepts. To illustrate, he describes how South Africa has refined and evolved a concept of operations to increase efficiency, not only capacity. When introduced some years ago, it saved the industry in excess of R125 million in fuel, and is now gaining global acceptance.

Working in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices, Lanseria’s highly regarded safety and standards record is depended upon to fit in with predetermined Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s). “When you work in this structured environment, it is not a matter of telling the pilot how it is going to be done. Pilots work with a great deal of anticipated procedure and variance in flight procedure around the world – it is how you deal with that, to achieve acceptable Crew Recourse Management levels.” he continues.

This all sets the foundation for some advanced and modern flight procedures Lanseria will be implementing. Norval explains there needs to be an appropriate and relevant forward looking balance between the later generation, sophisticated aircraft and pilot qualifications, whilst not forgetting the older generation aircraft that cannot carry out “futuristic” flight procedures.

“The later generation aircraft, such as the ones used by the airlines, are very sophisticated and this needs to be exploited with the aim of achieving efficiency, approach and successful landings.

Every flight procedure developed for larger aircraft takes absolute cognisance of noise pollution, engine emissions, fuel burn-off, uninterrupted climb and optimum trajectories, whilst ground delay programs effective nationally are adhered to. “This is a modern day win-win.”

De-confliction of “highways in the sky” is also a great factor. This is based on aspects including Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM), introduced in South Africa in 2008.

This also enables the random routing component of the South African model over the Indian and Atlantic Oceans – practically making use of the wind as the aircraft experiences it. South Africa decided to implement random routing over both the Indian and Atlantic oceans, therefore allowing a large percentage of aircraft operating to and from Lanseria to achieve high levels of efficiency.

Lanseria is also currently working very closely with the SACAA and Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company of South Africa to implement and exploit the operational benefits of efficiency, increased capacity and safety by allowing the equipped aircraft to make use of Performance Based Navigation. “There is still some way to go here, but all stakeholders know where we are headed.”

Very proudly South African, Norval loves our “can do” attitude, and this shows in the enthusiasm with which he’s approached these new strides in aviation. “Lanseria is can-do and no-compromise – well, that’s my slogan,” he enthuses.

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