Airbus eyes A318 steep landings

 - November 27, 2006, 6:31 AM

Airbus’ A318, and the A318 Elite executive version, are undergoing approval to make 5.5-degree steep approaches, such as that used into London City Airport. The steep approach approval, which included flight trials by the A318 into London City in mid-May, will enable the type to fly into airports that are constrained by surrounding obstacles or restrictive noise limits.

London City Airport is just six miles east from the UK capital’s financial district, and even closer to the Canary Wharf business district. The landing distance available at London City airport is 4,330 feet (1,319 meters).

According to Airbus, A318 steep approach certification is planned for the “coming months,” following extensive flight trails with a testbed. The approval will cover the Airbus A318 powered by both Pratt & Whitney PW6000 and CFM International CFM56-5 engines.

Changes to the aircraft include fitting the A318 with a “steep approach” button in the cockpit and the use of some spoilers as airbrakes to generate the steeper glidepath angle. Additionally, the airliner’s Vref approach speed will be increased by eight knots and its enhanced ground proximity warning system and traffic collision avoidance system will be modified to eliminate “nuisance calls” during the steep approach procedure.