Europe took a key step towards optimising airliner operations for maximum efficiency this week when an Airbus A321 in airline service undertook what is claimed to be the most accurate curved approach procedure in the world.
The successful demonstration is the first of 10 planned flights this summer that will pave the way for the procedure to be published for general use by appropriately equipped aircraft and qualified crews in late August.
Under the European Commission's Mint project, the aircraft of Swedish leisure carrier Novair flew an optimised approach, avoiding ground communities, using not only 0.3nm (0.5km) required navigation performance, but also highly accurate wind information uplinked to the aircraft.
I've heard a bit abut curved approaches, but this is the first time I've heard of using wind data as part of it - seems like a fairly ingenious idea...
Avtech has a press release at http://www.avtech.aero/images/file/M...NT%20Press%20Release%202_Final.pdf
Project page: http://www.avtech.aero/projects.php?projects_id=45&start=
I have to say I find these new generation navigation techniques fascinating...