Assessing runway conditions at airports has now been standardized, thanks to a new guideline. The international Global Reporting Format (ICAO GRF) allows pilots to easily evaluate runway conditions. With the help of an innovative solution from OTT HydroMet, Hamburg Airport is the first German airport to meet this safety standard.
Image Credit: Hamburg Airport
To improve air traffic safety, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) released a new directive. Implemented in August 2021, European airports must now report and thoroughly evaluate weather-related runway conditions all year round.
ICAO GRF took global effect from November 4th, 2021 – with the exception of the Federal Aviation Administration FAA, which complies with the TALPA system in North America. Previously, such reporting was only necessary as part of winter maintenance.
ICAO GRF Supports Pilots in Assessing Runway Conditions
With the updated requirements in place, airports have an obligation to report all runway conditions and every time they change, even when wet due to normal rain showers. The updated GRF reporting system is meant to offer pilots a more detailed assessment of the aircraft’s safe performance during takeoff and landing.
GRF standardizes the way runway conditions are broadcast to pilots. Hamburg Airport is Germany’s first airport to implement a new system that records runway conditions automatically.
To better improve air traffic safety and apply the new regulations, Hamburg Airport has acquired a series of Lufft MARWIS mobile road weather sensors in combination with ViewMondo software.
As the first German airport to work with this system from OTT HydroMet, Hamburg is pushing the boundaries of innovation: Milan Bergamo Airport in Italy also utilizes this hardware/software combination.
Airport Milan Bergamo uses the mobile road weather sensor Lufft MARWIS, too. Image Credit: OTT HydroMet
The mobile road weather sensor MARWIS turns vehicles into driving weather stations by detecting several critical road and runway weather parameters.
Image Credit: OTT HydroMet
Hamburg Airport Establishes Itself as a Technological Pioneer
We are very pleased that we, as Hamburg Airport, are at the forefront of using this new technology. Aviation safety is always a top priority. The new reporting system gives pilots even more detailed information about the condition of the respective runways, so that takeoffs and landings can be optimally geared to this.
Dirk Behrens, Head of Aviation, Hamburg Airport
The Lufft MARWIS mobile road weather sensor incorporates sophisticated LED lamps to establish the conditions of the road or runway following an optical measurement principle. Data is collected in relation to road temperature, moisture, water film height, snow and ice layer depth, etc. This information is then transmitted into the ViewMondo software.
Adapted to the demands of an airport, ViewMondo provides the SNOWTAM report, as outlined and formatted in compliance with ICAO GRF: Each third of the runway is separately evaluated and assigned a number that stipulates the runway condition.
For example, 6 stands for dry, and 0 represents wet-ice. Additional information includes water film height or snow and ice depth as well as the overall degree of coverage in the respective third.
Immediately after a control run, the ViewMondo software creates a condition summary for every single third of the runway. Image Credit: OTT HydroMet
Based on the MARWIS' measurements, ViewMondo delivers the SNOWTAM report, as prescribed and formatted according to ICAO GRF: Each third of the runway is considered separately and assigned a number that describes the runway condition. Image Credit: OTT HydroMet
How the MARWIS + ViewMondo Package Works
The software ViewMondo has been modified for this exact purpose. It obtains the SNOWTAM report after control run completion. The employee in charge can then add further information for adjustment or simply forward it directly to air traffic control, which is always in direct and constant contact with the pilots.
Interest in the MARWIS and ViewMondo package is high, reports Steven Marks, who, as Sales Manager at OTT HydroMet, oversees the DACH region.
Our solution combines several advantages at once. The award-winning MARWIS is easy to attach to and demount from a vehicle. ViewMondo vividly processes and visualizes the collected data and automatically generates the ICAO GRF compliant report. In critical weather conditions, this package serves as a useful and quick decision-making tool for airport professionals.
Steven Marks, Sales Manager, OTT HydroMet (DACH Region)
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by OTT HydroMet. Lufft is one of OTT HydroMet's strong brands for professional environmental monitoring.
For more information on this source, please visit OTT HydroMet.