Tyrolean pioneers approach tech

The newly installed Head-up Guidance System or HGS has been unveiled in Innsbruck with Tyrolean Airways, which operates under the brand name of Austrian arrows, becoming the first airline in Europe to use this revolutionary precision approach system on board the Bombardier Dash-8/300 and Dash-8/400. Tyrolean Airways has already played a pioneering role in European aviation, back in 1996, when the Innsbruck-based carrier became the world’s first airline to receive the necessary authorization to operate HGS on Canadair Regional Jets. Now, thanks to close cooperation with American manufacturer Rockwell Collins, Tyrolean has also succeeded in gaining this authorization to use the system in Europe on both the above-mentioned types of turboprop aircraft. Tyrolean is currently the only client using the system on the Dash-8/300, and has played a leading part throughout the development and authorization process. Some 1,100 metres of cable per aircraft had to be used to physically install the system, while some 2,000 employee hours of work were invested in the installation and check-out of the new system during 20 days of idle time.

Although the Head-up Guidance System (HGS) is up to six times more precise than previous flight management systems during the approach, it is simpler in structure and less maintenance-intensive than standard ‘precision approach equipment’ currently authorized for all-weather flight operations. The system makes safe landings possible even under adverse weather conditions, for example during landings under so-called ‘Cat IIIa’ conditions (200 metres minimum runway visual range, 15 metres decision height), while minimum runway visual range of just 75 metres is needed for take-off from suitable airports. As a result, Tyrolean will be able to improve its impressive levels of reliability and punctuality furthermore.

Unlike adverse weather approaches with automatic landing, the approach using HGS is manually operated. With head-up guidance, the pilot no longer looks at the primary flight display on the instrument panel during the approach, but at a holographic screen located at eye-level instead. The virtual image of the flight data relevant to the approach and the reality of the surroundings are superimposed on this screen. This enables the pilot to follow the displays of the system whilst maintaining the outside world, and later the runway, within his field of vision at the same time.
The use of the Head-Up Guidance System therefore ensures that the switch from instrument-based approach to landing by sight is smoother. As a result, the pilot no longer needs to direct his concentration from the instrument panel to the runway shortly before touchdown. Instead, he has both the runway and all key data within his range of vision throughout the approach and until the landing roll. The system provides a range of other improvements in operational usage in addition to this.

Tyrolean Airways has already equipped five of its ten Bombardier Dash-8/400 aircraft with HGS, with the remaining five scheduled to follow by mid-2007. The Head-up Guidance System is also installed in all the 13 Canadair Regional Jets and 10 Bombardier Dash-8/300 in the Tyrolean fleet. As the Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 jets are equipped with Cat IIIa Autoland System, Tyrolean Airways is one of the very few operators in Europe, which is authorized to operate both its jet and turboprop fleet under Cat IIIa weather conditions.

With a fleet of 54 aircraft, Tyrolean operates on behalf of the Austrian Airlines Group and under the Austrian arrows brand, providing more than 2,000 flights a week to 80 destinations throughout Europe.