A runway overrun protection system (ROPS) option will be available from next year, tackling what as become the primary air transportation safety issue. ROPS is an avionics solution that compares aircraft energy state and landing performance against the runway end throughout the short final approach to the aircraft’s eventual stop. It issues warnings to pilots on final approach, if the runway length from the projected touchdown spot is too short, aiding them in making the decision to go around.
Once the aircraft has touched down, ROPS warns if heavier braking and reverse thrust are required to stop the aircraft within the confines of the runway. ROPS represents a major contribution to increased safety, and will be fitted as standard to the A350XWB airliner, and available as a retrofit to all Airbus aircraft. It is also being offered to other manufacturers.
While the safety enhancement aspect of ROPS cannot be overlooked, there is also a cost-saving implication. Yesterday at the show, Willis Aerospace, an aerospace insurance broker, announced that underwriter Starr Aviation would recognize the benefits of ROPS in its assessments for aircraft insurance. While such policies are considered on a case-by-case basis, the insurance savings would be expected to recoup the cost of fitting the ROPS option within “three to five years.”