OldAeroGuy
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A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:45 pm

Interesting article in the Sept 1st edition of AvWeek.

http://aviationweek.com/commercial-a...continues-pose-challenges-heathrow

Back in 2006, there was much discussion on A.net about the impact of A380 wake vortex separation requirements on LHR operations.

A-380 Wake Turbulence Seperation (by KC135TopBoom Oct 9 2006 in Civil Aviation)?threadid=3032608&searchid=3036579&s=A380+wake+vortex#ID3036579

UK - New "super" Wake Vortex Sep For A380 (by Mptpa Nov 6 2006 in Civil Aviation)?threadid=3083445&searchid=3083445&s=A380+wake+vortex#ID3083445

Looks like the predicted operational impacts are happening.
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col
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:19 am

I am more interested in some of the things Airbus has introduced, BTV sounds interesting. I am sure something could be done to the runway entry points that make it easier to get an A380 lined up quicker, this is the 21st Century I believe.

Also thought that LHR normally made the 380 approach on the Southern runway, so reduced taxi time and were looking into mixed mode operation to make better use of the runways?

Sounds more like lack of planning, they knew 380's were coming.
 
hz747300
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:25 am

Perhaps they can make the new runway A380 only. That way, it's removed the problem. When its completed in 2028, I think everyone will be satisfied using the new terminal 6 too.
Keep on truckin'...
 
mjoelnir
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:42 am

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Thread starter):

It is a nice article. It counts the problems with the operation off the A380.

I have a few points I want to mention:

- why use the northern runway for the A380 at all?
- why not only grouping A380, but all super heavy and heavy frames on one runway?
- do A380 not bring more passengers per time even with fewer flights than the smaller frames?
- Does not every A380 brings considerable more money than each smaller frame?

But the article talks also about that certain actions to mitigate those problems, but does not give numbers for those.
If the BTV system cuts runway occupation time for the A380 why not go the same way as with noise, higher landing fee for A380 without BTV.
And mixed mode operation sounds interesting to keep the A380 on the southern runway for both landing and take off to reduce the problems with the taxiing to the terminals.
 
Dreamflight767
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:12 am

Sounds to me as if London needs a new airport...

Why doesn't NATS use radar separation instead of minutes?
 
RickNRoll
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:31 am

"“Heathrow operates on a knife edge,” says Proudlove. “The impact of these aircraft nibbles away at runway capacity. “By 2030 we expect to handle up to 60 A380s a day, but there is no plan for that, we can’t plan for that,” he says."

That's a lot of A380s.  Wow!
The commercial operators will come up with a plan if it's going to make them money.
 
Planesmart
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:42 am

As airlines replace medium aircraft with heavy, it will relieve some pressure.

More about managements need to justify fee increases.

One idea suggested in the mid 00's was to penalise airlines for empty seats
 
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GE9X
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:58 am

Quoting planesmart (Reply 6):

As airlines replace medium aircraft with heavy, it will relieve some pressure.

Not if you account for growth.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:03 am

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Thread starter):
Back in 2006, there was much discussion on A.net about the impact of A380 wake vortex separation requirements on LHR operations.

Indeed, I remember, so the thing that surprises me the most in the article is:

Quote:

Airbus also has been working with ICAO to re-address the minimum separation criteria put in place for the A380. The latest round of flight tests—involving several smaller aircraft types flying behind A380s at various angles, speeds and other changing conditions—took place in 2010, and working groups are still assessing the data. Airbus has been trying to persuade authorities to move the A380 back into the “heavy” category from its own “super-heavy” definition. The outcome of those talks and the timing of any conclusions is still unclear.

Four years to crunch some data - what's up with that?

Perhaps the coolest sentence is the last one:

Quote:

Airbus says it plans to use ADS-B data to monitor other aircraft traffic during taxi and show taxi clearances on the primary flight display in the future.

That sounds like a feature well worth developing.
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astuteman
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:45 am

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Thread starter):
Interesting article in the Sept 1st edition of AvWeek.


Interesting article OAG. Thanks for linking.

What the article does for me is reinforce some of the observations I've been making though, and that the plane's detractors seem to want to ignore.

It's always been clear that A380's were going to pose operational difficulties due to their size.
I genuinely believe it is one of the fundamental reasons why it's potential has not been realised.
But over time, this will change as both airports and operating procedures adapt.
The article has these examples...

Quote:
Because Emirates’ fleet of 50 A380s is based in Dubai, that airport is the busiest for the type, with 297 weekly departures. Dubai is exceptional, as a lot of the latest airport infrastructure investments have been planned around A380 operations—Emirates even operates into an A380-dedicated terminal.

This airport was designed from the outset with A380's in mind

Quote:
Charles de Gaulle generally has ample runway capacity and continues to add terminal space. Frankfurt opened a fourth runway and therefore has more capacity than it currently needs, its limits are dictated by passenger terminal constraints. And A380 operations have already been taken into account in Seoul Incheon’s planning process

These airports either don't experience the same issues because of their infrastructure, or are introducing design features to accommodate them, as in Seoul

Quote:
In theory, with more A380s operating into Heathrow, the aircraft could be grouped on departure, allowing an A380 to leave after another A380 within a minute or so, but opportunities to do this are few and far between.

This one to me is key. It's clearly one of the reasons Dubai doesn't experience issues.
It's equally clear that as A380 movement numbers grow at particular airports, the ability to "bank" A380 movements will increase considerably.
I have no doubt there is a "sour" spot where there is a goodly number of movements, but not enough to bank

Quote:
As a result, A380s landing on the northern runways—09L or 27R—can only vacate the runway at two intersections, forcing ground controllers to take the aircraft on lengthy routes around the airfield to reach their stands. Use of the northern taxiways will only be possible once Terminal 1 and its associated piers have been demolished to make way for the new Heathrow East development, part of which is already complete with the construction of the new Terminal 2.
Quote:
“The aircraft arrives on one of the world’s busiest runways and then has to cross it again in order to get to Terminal 4,” says Proudlove. On departure, these aircraft have to cross back over the runway again. He adds that Qatar Airways and Etihad will face a similar issue when they begin A380 operations, as both airlines also use Terminal 4. The airport is making more parking stands A380 compatible as more are used into the airport.

Here are two of the examples of LHR beginning to mitigate one of the key operational issues.

the point really is that we can all suppose what these issues might be. But until the operations actually commence we don't actually know all of the specifics of the symptoms, or all of the specific solutions.
There's clearly a learning process going on here, and it will clearly continue.

Detractors of the type, though, will only ever see the snapshot of capability at time now and extrapolate that as the future.
I've never had any doubt in my mind that the infrastructure and processes to manage A380's would grow over time.
The article clearly shows that this is happening, and illustrates ways that it can happen further.
But it will happen over decades, not overnight

It's one of the reasons why in a debate in Tech-Ops I suggested we would be 2 decades or more away from even thinking about a 90m span folding wing development for the A380.
If ever.
The infrastructure is still coming to terms with the current plane

I'll be interested to see what happens to the wake separation.
mind you, if everyone flew A380's it would be academic anyway  

Rgds
 
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:33 am

Quoting astuteman (Reply 9):
I've never had any doubt in my mind that the infrastructure and processes to manage A380's would grow over time.
The article clearly shows that this is happening, and illustrates ways that it can happen further.

Which is EXACTLY what happened with the transition from B707 to B747 operations at airports around the world. It took 10 to 15 years for B747 operations to become routine around the world, why would it take less for the A380.

Quoting astuteman (Reply 9):
Detractors of the type, though, will only ever see the snapshot of capability at time now and extrapolate that as the future.

You expect anything else on this site? Although I'll admit the illogical arguments get tiresome from time to time.

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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:36 am

Quoting astuteman (Reply 9):
There's clearly a learning process going on here, and it will clearly continue.

Yes, because what would be the alternative? Stopping additional A 380-operations from and to LHR? Thereby making the aircraft unattractive and forcing operators to cancel their outstanding orders? Well, I can literally see some members nodding fiercely now, thinking "yes, yes, yes" but honestly I don't think that's an alternative so procedures or other solutions will be found.

Seems as if Airbus is allocating resources to work on these issues. I wonder if they might be even willing to share some cost for modifications or whatsoever. Concrete is cheap...
 
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:45 am

Quoting dreamflight767 (Reply 4):

Why doesn't NATS use radar separation instead of minutes?

Time separation is just the amount of minutes spacing you need between heavy jets and other jets. On takeoff, landing, and flight. Radar is used to keep the minutes distances.
 
Dreamflight767
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:01 am

Quoting B747400ERF (Reply 12):

Quoting dreamflight767 (Reply 4):

Why doesn't NATS use radar separation instead of minutes?

Time separation is just the amount of minutes spacing you need between heavy jets and other jets. On takeoff, landing, and flight. Radar is used to keep the minutes distances.

I guess that is the difference between the FAA and NATS separation requirements. When radar separation is used in the U.S., controllers keep aircraft separated (dependent on weight class) by "X" amount of miles. So - for example - during departure, when a heavy takes-off, a controller needs 5 miles behind the heavy. You get 5 miles separation much faster than waiting 2 minutes for a full-length departure.
 
Ronaldo747
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:20 am

Quoting ricknroll (Reply 5):
By 2030 we expect to handle up to 60 A380s a day

Well .... at least 30x A380 Emirates whales daily by then?   
 
SKAirbus
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:03 am

Yet another A380-bashing thread! They're are relentless!

This is NOT a problem with the A380, it is a problem with LHR. The third runway should help to allieviate some of this if it happens. If not I imagine A380 operations being split between LGW and LHR as in order to justify two runways there, they will need to work on some kind of hub split. Bearing in mind that Gatwick is arguable more accessible from central London than Heathrow, it will just take some convincing.

Personally I think they need to build a express only line between London and LGW so that it will only take 15 minutes to get there.
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michi
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:35 am

Regarding BTV:

The BTV function description in the article is not correct.

- BTV does not require auto land mode.
- It is usable, when the airport is available in the OANS (Onboard Airport Navigation System) database. Which is normally the case for all the destinations and alternates.
- BTV is not available on contaminated RWYs on the A380.
- BTV reduces the ROT significantly compared to "classic" autobrake systems.


The A380 does not have a longer ROT (Runway Occupancy Time) than other aircraft. It uses the same exits, than other widebodies. The ROT is only longer, when the RWY does not have all the exits CODE F ready.

Line Up times (LUTs) also depends on the taxiway geometry. Nicely designed taxiways at the beginning of the RWY allow for a quicker lineup.

Wake turbulence departure intervals might be used for landings on the A380 departure RWY. This is not done in LHR as far as I know.


LHR is mainly constricted by its design, which is of course older than the A380. The A380 itself does not affect airport operations at modern airports, which where designed for aircraft like the A380.


A few examples:

LHR: conventional airport - difficulties with the A380 operation
ICN: modern airport - not difficulties with A380s
FRA: conventional airport - not too many difficulties, because they started redesign early to make the airport A380 ready
LAX: conventional airport - a big mess, terminal wise improving. Taxiways still constrained for A380, B773,...

[Edited 2014-09-04 02:07:37]
 
RickNRoll
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:50 am

"A Heathrow report on A380 operations states that on one occasion, it took an A380 as long as 111 sec. to line up on runway 27L."

Amazing, no other plane at Heathrow has ever taken that long to line up on a runway.   
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:21 am

Some of the points are valid and unique to the A380, the problem with access to T4 isn't however any aircraft operating from T4 has to cross the active runway either on landing or departure.
There's a few mentions of "why does the 380 use the Northern runway" presently LHR uses one runway for arrivals and the other for departurees, with a switching system to even out the noise disturbance to the locals. If they ever got permission for mixed mode operation which appears unilkely at present they could then restrict it to the Southern runway only.
 
fcogafa
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:53 am

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 18):

Some of the points are valid and unique to the A380, the problem with access to T4 isn't however any aircraft operating from T4 has to cross the active runway either on landing or departure.

The point being made is that even if the A380 lands on 27L, unless it really slams on the brakes, it has to vacate north and recross the runway. No other aircraft have to do this.
 
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:05 am

No doubt introducing a plane the size of a small cruise ship was always going to cause difficulties at Heathrow, which is such a tiny airport, I don't think people realise it. DFW is 69 sq km, while LHR is only - wait for it - 12 sq km. However with a few taxiway improvements, ground movements of the A380 will become easier, and things like BTV and an awareness of demand for runway slots for departure will probably speed up line up times too.

It is worth persevering with, every time I fly on this machine I am absolutely blown away by how good it is - spacious in every class, incredibly smooth in the air, and so quiet, it's comical. I flew PEK-SIN the other day in the last row of the upper deck on SQ (an old one with Y upstairs) and the lack of sound on takeoff was remarkable. I prefer the noise in the back row of an Il-62 but for a civilian, this plane is the true dreamliner. I am flying a BA A380 home from Hong Kong after this month's North Korea aviation tour and I am looking forward to it nearly as much as the cranky Russian hardware we'll be flying out of Pyongyang.
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zeke
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:31 am

Quoting michi (Reply 16):
The A380 does not have a longer ROT (Runway Occupancy Time) than other aircraft. It uses the same exits, than other widebodies. The ROT is only longer, when the RWY does not have all the exits CODE F ready.

Line Up times (LUTs) also depends on the taxiway geometry. Nicely designed taxiways at the beginning of the RWY allow for a quicker lineup.

Wake turbulence departure intervals might be used for landings on the A380 departure RWY. This is not done in LHR as far as I know.

Good observations, A380 landing speeds are the same as an A330, same deceleration rate, should use the same landing distance. No reason for a 111 second line up except for an occasion where taxiway works close the normal intersection and a backtrack is required. Same problem should effect all long haul departures.

Landing the A380 on the departures runway and vice versa would remove lots of the issues.

Time to reduce the separation requirements.
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:41 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 8):
Quote:

Airbus says it plans to use ADS-B data to monitor other aircraft traffic during taxi and show taxi clearances on the primary flight display in the future.

That sounds like a feature well worth developing.

I'm intrigued to know how this will work. ADS-B location data is based on GPS, which has a margin of error of around 7.8 metres. Given the wing length of an A380 of around 40 metres, plus the margin of error, then the best you could do is warn of another A380 within 100 metres of your reported position (assuming the GPS location is calculated from the centre of both aircraft). Perhaps useful when visibility is restricted, but it doesn't help you navigate around a busy airport.

Additionally it does nothing to address issues with clearance of other objects such as buildings. Surely a ground based radar system, similar to car reverse sensors on the wingtips would be more useful (although obviously with greater range).

Quoting dreamflight767 (Reply 13):
I guess that is the difference between the FAA and NATS separation requirements. When radar separation is used in the U.S., controllers keep aircraft separated (dependent on weight class) by "X" amount of miles. So - for example - during departure, when a heavy takes-off, a controller needs 5 miles behind the heavy. You get 5 miles separation much faster than waiting 2 minutes for a full-length departure.

Radar separation is used for landing aircraft, and is quoted in miles. As per the article:

Quote:

According to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines, minimum separation for a “heavy” category aircraft such as a Boeing 747 behind an A380 is 6 nm.

Time separation is used for departures - you can't separate two aircraft on the ground by 6 miles! Again, as per the article:

Quote:

As an A380 departs, it requires up to 3 min. of spacing between it and the next aircraft

NATS and the FAA both use the same system.
 
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zeke
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:58 am

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 22):
ADS-B location data is based on GPS, which has a margin of error of around 7.8 metres.

The error is less than that, as one of the unknowns is actually known, the aircraft are on the same ground plane. ADS-B position information on larger aircraft is normally a mixed GPS/IRS position with position integrity.

Current system have no problems putting an aircraft down a taxi-line.
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fcogafa
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:16 am

Quoting zeke (Reply 21):
Landing the A380 on the departures runway and vice versa would remove lots of the issues.

Sounds an easy answer but you can lose two or three departures while it lands.

You can't get away from the fact that A380s reduce capacity at Heathrow.
 
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zeke
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:34 am

Quoting fcogafa (Reply 24):
Sounds an easy answer but you can lose two or three departures while it lands.

Not if you are using the both runways.
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cedarjet
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:48 am

Quoting fcogafa (Reply 24):
You can't get away from the fact that A380s reduce capacity at Heathrow.

They reduce runway capacity. But with 500 punters strapped in, even with an extra minute of separation, they still increase passenger capacity.
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Clipper101
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:14 pm

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 3):
- why not only grouping A380, but all super heavy and heavy frames on one runway?

This proposition makes me think, why not transferring A380 departure to a runway used for landing operations? Landing aircraft (in between departing A380's) should not be affected by vortex separation, should they?
 
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Revelation
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:01 pm

Quoting astuteman (Reply 9):
This airport was designed from the outset with A380's in mind

Wiki is telling me that DXB was opened in 1960 with a 1800 m runway so I doubt it was designed from the outset with A380s in mind.

Unfortunately some of the world's most important airports are not getting a 'do over' like Dubai got starting in 1998, which is what I think you are referring to. Also the do-over happened quite a bit earlier in EK's growth spurt so it was easier to accomplish. I can't see such an A380-centric do-over happening at LHR or LAX any time soon. As we know the next step for Dubai is an all new airport and places like LHR and LAX aren't going to have that kind of opportunity for the foreseeable future.

Quoting astuteman (Reply 9):
Detractors of the type, though, will only ever see the snapshot of capability at time now and extrapolate that as the future.

I suppose, but this article is mostly about LHR and it's hard to see LHR's capability changing any time soon. Even if the Airport Commission comes out for a new runway at LHR the report only will happen next year and no one knows when its recommendations will be acted on if ever, given the cost and the politics of the situation.

Quoting SKAirbus (Reply 15):
Yet another A380-bashing thread! They're are relentless!

Fortunately this thread is not a bash fest, IMHO. The A380 is causing operational issues just like 747 and Concorde did in their days. It's interesting to see how the system is adjusting to cope with it (or in the case of taking four years to crunch the turbulence data, not coping with it).
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col
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:25 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 28):
Fortunately this thread is not a bash fest, IMHO. The A380 is causing operational issues just like 747 and Concorde did in their days. It's interesting to see how the system is adjusting to cope with it (or in the case of taking four years to crunch the turbulence data, not coping with it).

The problem is that today you do not have the people with the drive to sort simple issues, the people who see a problem as an opportunity, fix it and get it done. Everybody is jobs worth, you only need to look at the runway situation at LHR, then you see total jobs worth at a very high level. There is an engineering solution for the 380, like there was for the 747, just needs a bit of gumption.
 
OldAeroGuy
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:37 pm

Quoting zeke (Reply 21):
Time to reduce the separation requirements.

Only if the wake vortex data says it's safe. It appears those numbers are still being crunched.

Quoting astuteman (Reply 9):
It's always been clear that A380's were going to pose operational difficulties due to their size.
I genuinely believe it is one of the fundamental reasons why it's potential has not been realised.
But over time, this will change as both airports and operating procedures adapt.

The danger to the A380 though is the speed of airport adaptation. It's a slow process, not under the OEM's control. It may leave the A380 vulnerable to technical innovative on new competitive aircraft that don't have the same operational constraints.

We've been discussing this on A.net for 14 years now. In another 10 or so, it should be a bit clearer.
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redflyer
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:04 pm

Quoting astuteman (Reply 9):
I genuinely believe it is one of the fundamental reasons why it's potential has not been realised.
But over time, this will change as both airports and operating procedures adapt.

The problem with that statement is that, like any other market driven change, airports will adapt only if the A380 becomes a ubiquitous sight at an airport. As long as she's a niche aircraft the pressure to change anything will remain with Airbus and not with the airport authorities. Otherwise it will be like the tail wagging the dog.

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 30):
The danger to the A380 though is the speed of airport adaptation.

Not the only danger, but definitely another added danger to the ones she already faces in the market.

[Edited 2014-09-04 07:05:45]
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B777LRF
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:35 pm

The cynic in me say's there's nefarious reason why it's taken 4 years to crunch a bit of vortex data, particularly as they went to great efforts simulating all kind of encounters. Perhaps another CATIA incompatibility issue?

In a similary cynical vain, I cannot help to notice that it's once again AW&ST displaying their 'wasn't made here' approach, and am frankly finding their persistent digging for any Airbus related issues a bit boring. If they did it equally to all OEM's, fair cop, but there's more than just a bit Fox News about that outlet.

All jokes and snide innuendo aside, it is plain for everyone with a tape measure and a bit of imagination why a place such as LHR presents certain problems. Not just to the operation of a single aircraft, but of course when that single aircraft is the sole occupier of it's very own airport code, that adds another dimension to the issue. But let's look at this fairly, shall we?

From the very beginning LHR has been ear marked as one of the major congregation sites of the A380. Airbus said so, the airlines said so, LHR management said so themselves. But can LHR management frankly say they made all the investments they could to accommodate the aircraft? No, they bloody well can't. They'd much rather build more shopping malls and parking areas than widen a taxiway. Their defense is that the law won't allow them mixed mode runway operations, or to extend the facility by an additional runway. Trouble is, they don't have a fair point in either of those arguments. Mixed mode operation is a political hot potato, albeit not nearly as hot as the construction of a 3rd runway in Hounslow or West Drayton. And LHR management has known all along they cannot count on either to solve their problems.

If realities are starting to creep up on LHR, well, tough luck. You knowingly failed to implement the necessary infrastructure improvements, and this is the kind of shyte that brings along.
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redflyer
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:32 pm

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 32):
But can LHR management frankly say they made all the investments they could to accommodate the aircraft?

If there is a financial incentive to do so I'm sure they would have done it by now. That's the whole point I was making in my post at Reply #31. They are not going to invest the millions in GBP just to accommodate one aircraft type that comprises a relatively small percentage of LHR's total annual movements. But as I understand the issue, it's not just the taxiways it's also the fact that with just two runways, both of which are at near capacity, there is a long mandatory delay in clearance when an A380 comes through. I've seen this myself - whenever I fly out of LHR I head up to Terminal 4's observation deck and there is a long delay behind each A380 before the next aircraft. Until the financial paradigm changes, meaning far more A380 movements bringing along with it the increase in associated fees and passenger revenues, there isn't going to be a huge push to change the airport's infrastructure.

Airbus built the A380 to blend in as much as possible with existing airport infrastructure, and I think that was a big selling point they used. And I'm sure if their rosy market predictions had come to pass this would be a moot point right now because airports would in fact have felt compelled to make changes to seamlessly accommodate the airplane. Unfortunately, the market for this airplane has never panned out and the odds are looking like it never will. So making infrastructure changes for just one airplane type may not make a lot of sense.
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PW100
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:29 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 28):
Unfortunately some of the world's most important airports are not getting a 'do over' like Dubai got starting in 1998, which is what I think you are referring to. Also the do-over happened quite a bit earlier in EK's growth spurt so it was easier to accomplish. I can't see such an A380-centric do-over happening at LHR or LAX any time soon
Quoting Revelation (Reply 28):
I suppose, but this article is mostly about LHR and it's hard to see LHR's capability changing any time soon. Even if the Airport Commission comes out for a new runway at LHR the report only will happen next year and no one knows when its recommendations will be acted on if ever, given the cost and the politics of the situation.

Well, to be fair, LHR has been doing just that since starting design on Terminal 5, many many years ago. Just check out the LHR charts, or just have a look at satellite photos in Google Maps or Bing Maps. It is quite obviously clear that Terminal 5 satellites have been built with code F aircraft in mind - not only in terms of inter-satellite taxiway width, gate/stand length (heck, it could accept 90m A380 super SUH), but also runway parallel taxiway spacing. This process has continued on the south side on the inter-runway complex and was more or less completed with the new Terminal 2 pier with 4 A380 stands a couple of years ago already.

Now that the Terminal 2 satellite has been completed, attention is now shifting to the reconstruction of the north side of the inter-runway complex. Terminal 1 and its European pier will be demolished, making room for a new set of new twin-parallel taxiways to be constructed with code F metrics in mind. Once this is completed in a coupe of years, I think that 95% of A380 airport movement problems will have been solved (strangely, the AW&ST article does not mention this . . . makes one think).

Yes, LHR has been somewhat slowish with code F upgrades (not unlike many British large infrastructure projects, I might say), but it has not caused big problems; it still pretty manageable. And I guess, from an investment point of view (with a lot of priorities asking for a lot of cash), this was and is a fairly sensible approach.

Another project that will be welcomed by NATS and the A380 operators and community in general, is the Mixed Mode project. Mixed Mode use of LHR runways will alleviate, if not completely remove, the concerns with reduced runway capacity caused by wake vortex concerns.
I do not know the exact status of the project, but I would be surprised if Mixed Mode is not going to be offered as an “interim solution” until new London runway capacity is in place as per the Airport Commission recommendations. Maybe not a full swing Mixed Mode, but certainly some level of mixed mode to offset A380 wake turbulence concerns.
That added with the increased opportunity to bank A380 flights with increased A380 numbers will also mostly address those concerns.

So in general I do not share all the negative conclusions supposedly based on the AW&ST article.
I observe that the AW&ST article is factually fairly correct; all statements are pretty much correct and can not be denied. However the careful choice of words, the way sentences are grouped, sort of forces the uninformed reader to draw negative conclusions on A380 operations (feeding the what Astuteman vigorously refers to as A380 distracters). That negativity is further increased by not giving credits to all the work that has already been performed, and the work that is currently in process - let alone future work that is a little further away.

It is pretty ignorant, unbalanced, ridicules to think that LHR infrastructure will freeze at a stand-still status quo, and at the same time extrapolating current (or even former) A380 operational problems to the future for increased A380 movements without giving credit to the infrastructure improvements. Going on the A380 operational history at LHR over the last 7 years, one can only conclude that LHR has adapted pretty well. There is no reason to believe that that will change going forward.

Rgds,
PW100
Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"
 
bharathkv
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:44 pm

One thing we can find out is if similar operational issues came about in the 60s & 70s when 747s were introduced. I am quite sure such operational issues will go away as A380s become more popular and airports world-wide start adopting it.
 
vv701
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:51 pm

Quoting col (Reply 1):
Also thought that LHR normally made the 380 approach on the Southern runway, so reduced taxi time and were looking into mixed mode operation to make better use of the runways?


Mixed mode operations have environmental issues so are problematic to adopt even though they would likely increase capacity (in terms of total movements).

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 3):
why use the northern runway for the A380 at all?


Because they current swap runways for arrivals and departures at 15:00 hours to give noise relieve to those living under the flight paths wuith the runway used for morning arrivals one week used for departures the following week.

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 3):
why not only grouping A380, but all super heavy and heavy frames on one runway?


This is addressed already.

I carried out a study in May 2008 in the early afternoon at LHR. I reported it here on a-net but cannot now locate the thread.

Basically here are the main findings:


Over a period of 3 hrs 38 mins 26 secs 136 aircraft landed on LHR 09L

Of these 136 aircraft 91 were single aisle (L for lights), 45 twin-aisle (H for heavies)

The average separation when an L followed an L was 75.1 secs.

The average separation when H followed an L was almost exactly the same at 75.0 secs

The average separation when an L followed an H was almost twice as long at 133.9 secs

The average separation when an H followed an H was significantly shorter at 100.1 secs

On only nine occasions did a singe H arrive sandwiched between two Ls.

On as many as ten occasions two Hs landed consecutively.

On three occasions three Hs arrived consecutively.

On one occasion as many as five Hs arrived consecutively.

Although only 45 Hs (33 per cent of all arrivals) arrived in the review period as many as 20 (44 per cent) followed another H. Only 24 Ls (26 per cent) followed an H. There was one occasion when as many as eleven Ls landed consecutively, a second with ten consecutive L arrivals and a third with nine.

It is therefore clear that ATC were using the two stacks to the west of LHR to separate Ls from Hs so that as many Hs as possible landed consecutively without disrupting the flow of arrivals.
 
StTim
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:57 pm

LHR is in the middle of a major redevelopment. As someone above pointed out it is a very small footprint and a very busy airport. As such any redevelopment must be phased. First we had T5 creating the remote piers (a la Altalnta) then we have had T2 and next it is T1. It will take time.

T4 is the worst due to its location. With the benefit of hindsight T4 should have been at the other end of the airport to T5 in a similar location.
 
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jetblastdubai
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:30 pm

Quoting B747400ERF (Reply 12):
Time separation is just the amount of minutes spacing you need between heavy jets and other jets. On takeoff, landing, and flight. Radar is used to keep the minutes distances.

That statement is not only incorrect, but it's literally impossible to comply with. You cannot measure time with radar.

Quoting dreamflight767 (Reply 13):
I guess that is the difference between the FAA and NATS separation requirements.

Actually, the FAA rules and the ICAO rules are exactly the same with regards to longitudinal separation for arriving and departing IFR aircraft. The one exception is opposite direction heavy departures. The problem is with the many different local agencies/countries in the EU that make their own local rules or interpretations of ICAO 4444 and they can differ. We had a lot of UK staff at my last ICAO facility and they also used the ICAO 4444 Chapter 5 (non-radar) rules for departures and Chapter 8 (radar) rules for arrivals. (The 4444 is equivalent to the 7110.65) The problem with using Chapter 5 rules, there is no listed "heavy behind heavy" separation or "A380 behind A380" separation listed so my previous ATC facility determined that there was NO minimum required other than departure runway separation. The time separation might be a UK-originated thing and the GCAA adopted it.

It's simple to use radar to determine initial departure separation by using pre-determined distances on the scope.

ICAO 4444 Chapter 5 excerpt:

5.8 NON-RADAR WAKE TURBULENCE LONGITUDINAL SEPARATION
5.8.2.1.1 The following minima shall be applied to aircraft landing behind a HEAVY or a MEDIUM aircraft:
a) MEDIUM aircraft behind HEAVY aircraft —2 minutes;
b) LIGHT aircraft behind a HEAVY or MEDIUM aircraft — 3 minutes.

5.8.3 Departing aircraft
5.8.3.1 A minimum separation of 2 minutes shall be applied between a LIGHT or MEDIUM aircraft taking off behind a HEAVY aircraft or a LIGHT aircraft taking off behind a MEDIUM aircraft

ICAO 4444 Chapter 8 except:

8.7 USE OF RADAR IN THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SERVICE
8.7.4.4 The following wake turbulence radar separation minima shall be applied to aircraft in the approach and departure phases of flight in the circumstances given in 8.7.4.4.1.
8.7.4.4.1 The minima set out in 8.7.4.4 shall be applied when:
Preceding aircraft…..Succeeding aircraft
Wake turbulence radar separation minima
HEAVY HEAVY 7.4 km (4.0 NM)
HEAVY MEDIUM 9.3 km (5.0 NM)
HEAVY LIGHT 11.1 km (6.0 NM)
MEDIUM LIGHT 9.3 km (5.0 NM

8.7.4.4.1 The minima set out in 8.7.4.4 shall be applied when:
b) both aircraft are using the same runway, or parallel runways separated by less than 760 m
 
col
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:25 pm

Quoting VV701 (Reply 36):
Mixed mode operations have environmental issues so are problematic to adopt even though they would likely increase capacity (in terms of total movements).

Environmental issues? What difference does it make if a few 380's land and take off from the Southern runway instead of the Northern one. The 380 is like a 146 on steroids, it is pretty quiet, would just block out the sun for a little longer, wait, we are talking about UK, so should stop rain as it flies over.
 
RickNRoll
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:43 pm

Quoting redflyer (Reply 33):
If there is a financial incentive to do so I'm sure they would have done it by now. That's the whole point I was making in my post at Reply #31.

There is a financial incentive in maximising profit and putting of work until they have to do it. They are already expecting a lot more A380 movements in the future, according to projections. They will do what it takes to maximise profit, which means only spending on that CAPEX when it suits them, not anyone else.
 
Planesmart
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:02 am

Quoting GE9X (Reply 7):
Not if you account for growth.

If the aircraft size scheduled is synchronised with the actual growth in passengers, and if the separation between super and heavy, and super and medium, is as at present, then the status quo will result. Or even an improvement allowing for aircraft efficiency gains.
 
Planesmart
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:12 am

Quoting VV701 (Reply 36):
Although only 45 Hs (33 per cent of all arrivals) arrived in the review period as many as 20 (44 per cent) followed another H. Only 24 Ls (26 per cent) followed an H. There was one occasion when as many as eleven Ls landed consecutively, a second with ten consecutive L arrivals and a third with nine.

It is therefore clear that ATC were using the two stacks to the west of LHR to separate Ls from Hs so that as many Hs as possible landed consecutively without disrupting the flow of arrivals.

Great research, and sound conclusions. Process flow maximisation, is about the diameter of the pipe, cable or whatever (theoretical maximum), and how anomalies and disruptions are minimised (practical maximum).

The Goal by Goldratt and Cox used to be popular reading for ATC apprentices and road designers.
 
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zeke
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:19 am

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 30):
The danger to the A380 though is the speed of airport adaptation. It's a slow process, not under the OEM's control. It may leave the A380 vulnerable to technical innovative on new competitive aircraft that don't have the same operational constraints.

The 77W, A346, 747-8 and 77X have/will have similar problems. I think this is your 10th A380 flame fest in CivAv.

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 32):

The cynic in me say's there's nefarious reason why it's taken 4 years to crunch a bit of vortex data, particularly as they went to great efforts simulating all kind of encounters.

Not only simulations, they actually did a lot of flight testing.

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 32):
In a similary cynical vain, I cannot help to notice that it's once again AW&ST displaying their 'wasn't made here' approach, and am frankly finding their persistent digging for any Airbus related issues a bit boring.

I unsubscribed during KC-X process, the crap that being published and lapped up by US readers was shocking. Now a few years on, the A330MRTT is in service with a number of countries.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
vv701
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:59 am

Quoting col (Reply 39):
What difference does it make if a few 380's land and take off from the Southern runway instead of the Northern one.


Mixed mode arrivals / departures for LHR have been recommended in the recent past as a change to mixed mode would increase the number of available slots. However it has been rejected by the British government as the current alternating system provides those living under the flight paths to 27L and 27R with a quiet period every day either from 06:30 to 15:00 or from 15:00 onwards. Mixed mode, even for just the 380, would infringe this current rule.

Here is what the local council, the London Borough of Hounslow, says about mixed mode on its web site:


'Mixed mode means allowing planes to land and take off on the same runway at the same time. It would enable Heathrow to increase its capacity by 60,000 planes a year. Introducing mixed mode will mean:

'◾an extra 1,000 plus planes flying in and out of Heathrow every week


'◾planes flying overhead all day every day


'◾no more quiet periods


'Mixed mode is the biggest immediate threat facing residents because it could lead to a drastic impact in the quality of our daily lives almost overnight. Heathrow could double its capacity in a decade. This would mean that the number of planes that fly in an out of Heathrow could rise from 471,000 per year to 540,000 per year and the number of passengers passing through airport every year could increase from 67 million to 70 million.'


The above, although current, is also out of date. Last year the number of passengers at LHR was well over 70 million. But it gives you a flavour of how many think.

Of course the government could change its mind about mixed mode. But they certainly will not even consider doing that until after the Davies Airports Commission report is published next summe. Then the government's focus will be directed towards more significant issues. These will include a third LHR and second LGW runway. Only if any such recommendations are rejected either by the report or by the government is it likely that more minor changes like mixed mode will be considered.

Here it might be worth mentioning that when 09L and 09R are in use 09R can be used for mixed mode arrivals/departures but is actually exclusively or almost exclusively used for departures. This is because there is a legally binding agreement, again for environmental reasons, that there will be no departures from 09L. Note that apart from a rather large residence used by Queen Elizabeth and the surrounding Windsor community, there is very little development to the west of Heathrow . The legal binding agreement about 09L departures is because of the noise produced by departing aircraft that disturbed residents living close to where the third runway is now proposed.
 
OldAeroGuy
Topic Author
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:27 am

Quoting zeke (Reply 43):
The 77W, A346, 747-8 and 77X have/will have similar problems.

I believe you are trying to mis-lead A.net readers. My comments were on the increased wake vortex separation requirements of the A380 causing operational issues at LHR. The 773ER, A346, 748, and probably the 779 all fit in the Heavy category while the A380 is in the Super category. The A380 wake vortex separation issues at LHR described in the article do not apply to Heavy category airplanes.

Quoting zeke (Reply 43):
I think this is your 10th A380 flame fest in CivAv.

If linking a factual article describing real world issues constitutes a flame fest, I fear for the quality of discussion on A.net. A major part of the article was direct quotes from the NATS general manager at LHR. Was he flaming the A380 or not telling the truth?

[Edited 2014-09-04 20:31:06]
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
col
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:33 am

Thanks VV701, British Government, say no more....All ahead stop.
 
col
Posts: 1707
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 2:11 am

RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:29 am

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 45):
If linking a factual article describing real world issues constitutes a flame fest, I fear for the quality of discussion on A.net. A major part of the article was direct quotes from the NATS general manager at LHR. Was he flaming the A380 or not telling the truth?

If he quoted averages then there would be no news. I am sure there are some times given out by the NATS guy which are worse case scenario. I have been on many A380's from AKL, SYD, MEL, SIN, HKG, PEK, LHR, CDG and some of the numbers don't seem right, especially for LUT. There are solutions to the issues, but LHR is a basket case in itself and a clueless UK Government does not help. What does amaze me is that the NATS guys tells us of 60 x 380's per day by 2030, but they have no plan for that, they can't plan for that?????. Getting this information about what will happen in 15 years is a planners dream, I just do not get the negativity at LHR about everything. Stop wasting money on Commissions and just sort the issues with real planning from people who know what is needed.
 
astuteman
Posts: 7060
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:32 am

Quoting fcogafa (Reply 24):
You can't get away from the fact that A380s reduce capacity at Heathrow

Oh I think you can...

Quoting Revelation (Reply 28):
I suppose, but this article is mostly about LHR and it's hard to see LHR's capability changing any time soon

It's important to recognise that the article IS about LHR. It's equally important to recognise that the article IS about LHR's capability changing. Soon? Changes are happening now.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 28):
Wiki is telling me that DXB was opened in 1960 with a 1800 m runway so I doubt it was designed from the outset with A380s in mind

I guess I was referring to the new one

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 30):
The danger to the A380 though is the speed of airport adaptation. It's a slow process, not under the OEM's control. It may leave the A380 vulnerable to technical innovative on new competitive aircraft that don't have the same operational constraints

nice to read in the article then, that the airports are being adapted  
Quoting redflyer (Reply 31):
The problem with that statement is that, like any other market driven change, airports will adapt only if the A380 becomes a ubiquitous sight at an airport

Again. It's reassuring to note, then, that adaptations ARE being made.

Quoting redflyer (Reply 33):
If there is a financial incentive to do so I'm sure they would have done it by now

Again, reading the article is a worthwhile activity. It describes changes being made and those planned.

I'll offer my thanks to yourself, Revelation and OAG for confirming my earlier assertion   

Rgds
 
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zeke
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RE: A380 Operational Issues At LHR

Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:06 am

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 45):
I believe you are trying to mis-lead A.net readers.

Not at all, the article talks about various operational issues, including taxiway arrangements. All of the aircraft I mentioned have ground taxiway and parking bay restrictions. The problem they mention "Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 on the north side of the airport" applies to all code E & F aircraft, there is not enough room from Bravo to pier 4a and pier 4 to allow large aircraft to pass behind.

From the AIP

"Code E, taxiway to stand, or taxiway to object, separation of 47.5 m is not met on the following taxiways. Minimum
clearance is 42.5 m. Taxiway Bravo from Foxtrot to Juliet. All of Taxiway Foxtrot. Taxiway Sierra from reporting point SY6 east to Whiskey. Taxiway Sierra between reporting point SY6 and Taxiway Z to the south is 37 m."

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 45):
The A380 wake vortex separation issues at LHR described in the article do not apply to Heavy category airplanes.

What specific "issue" are you referring to, they have greater spacing in trail, however you can take an aircraft off immediately after one has landed and vice versa. There is no reason why they cannot send the A380 departures to the landing runway, and arrival to the departures runway.

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 45):
I fear for the quality of discussion on A.net.

Other CivAv Threads started by yourself......this is the third CivAv A380 wake vortex thread that you have started.

"A330/A340 Low Delivery Rate"
"Kingfisher Sells Remaining A345's"
"A380 Sales-Delivery-Backlog History"
"A380 Future Production Rate"
"A330/A340 Production/Delivery Rate Puzzlements"
"A380 As A Casino"
"A330/340 2007 Production Rate Questions"
"A380 Vortex Separation - No Near Term Change"
"What Is The A350XWB Market Area?"
"New A388 Mtow?"
"Will The A380 Certify In 2006?"
"A380/GP7200 First Flight?"
"Richard A.'s A350 Strategy Comments"
"A380 Pre-mature Wing Failure Recovery"
"Any Resolution Of A380 Wake Vortex Issue?"
"A380 Structural Options After Static Test Failure"
"A340-600 Fuel Management Incident"

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 45):
A major part of the article was direct quotes from the NATS general manager at LHR.

As noticed by myself and others AW&ST have a tendency now to selectivity quote, and promote US manufacturers. All the way through the 787 development and the KC-X the article were so misleading relating to those issues. Just because something is published, does not mean it cannot be questioned, the target audience of the magazine would have very little exposure to the way LHR operates.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News

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