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Upping the antennae for safe landing

With more overseas flight movements witnessed daily to select foreign destinations, a fast growing Tiruchi international airport is poised to be equipped with an advanced version of Instrument Landing System (ILS) that will provide precise landing guidance to pilots.

A high-level officer from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) headquarters in New Delhi recently carried out a survey at the proposed site at the non-metro airport ahead of the installation of the new ILS facility.

The advanced version of the ILS will have 16 localiser antennae with specialised control units, instead of 12 antennae of the existing version, say AAI officials. The advanced ILS is planned to be installed on Runway 27 end of the airport adjoining Tiruchi-Pudukottai National Highway. The existing ILS will be removed once the new equipment is installed.

Upping the antennae for safe landing
Upping the antennae for safe landing 
The sophisticated ILS facility comes at a time when the airport is on a major expansion mode with work underway for construction of a futuristic integrated passenger terminal in the wake of a steady rise in passenger traffic over the years and a new apron to accommodate 10 aircraft.

AAI has also accorded sanction for construction of a new technical block-cum-air traffic control tower.

A separate technical team from AAI, which has the necessary expertise in installation of ILS facility, will be entrusted with the task of fixing the new antennae once the new equipment was purchased.

Flight calibiration tests will be conducted and only after obtaining approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation will the advanced ILS be commissioned, say senior AAI officials.

The localiser antennae of the ILS will provide the centre line for the aircraft while landing and the glidepath will provide correct angle for landing. The advanced ILS will provide precise landing guidance for the pilots, say airport officials.

A new platform will be constructed for fixing the 16 localiser antennae of the advanced ILS at the runway end besides carrying out other civil and electrical work required for its installation.

Senior officials say the order for the purchase of the imported advanced ILS version has already been placed by AAI and the new equipment is expected in the coming months.

Some localiser antennae of the ILS at Tiruchi airport was damaged in October last, when a Dubai-bound Air India Express Boeing 737-800 flight from Tiruchi came into contact with it and a portion of the perimeter wall while take off.

The ILS facility became non-functional for a few days due to the freak incident, which led to a probe by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau. The ILS facility was restored thereafter after localiser antennae dispatched from Lucknow airport were installed by a technical team.

Senior officials say the new ILS for Tiruchi airport along with other airports was decided so as to have in place superior technology. Further, maintenance of the advanced ILS will be less and it will be software based.

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