Published on July 27th, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer


North Runway Navaid Calibration

Last week a Diamond DA62 (G-VNAV) from Flight Calibration Services Limited (FCSL) was noted making approaches to the new North Runway at Dublin Airport. The company specialises in flight calibration / inspection / validation / checking for the full range of aircraft radio navigation aids, including Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) to Cat III and primary / secondary radar systems. A number of new approach procedures will need to be commissioned before the runway can enter service. In January 2021, the Irish Aviation Authority signed a contract with FCSL to Flight Check all their Navaids Country-wide including Dublin, Shannon and Cork Airports.

The automatic flight inspection system (AFIS) consists of airborne equipment fitted in the aircraft and a ground-based Precision Reference System (PRS). The AFIS includes features such as temperature and calibration monitoring, self-diagnosis and automatic log keeping. Data collection and analysis is automatic and comprehensive with synchronous position and event marking.

The track flown by the DA52 during the calibration flight. Via

Detailed analysis colour plots are produced in real-time as each flight inspection progresses. The plots are later reproduced from the collected data on the ground. The real-time data can also be transmitted to a remote terminal for ground engineers to monitor during the flight inspection (a useful feature during commissioning work). The AFIS system comprises airborne equipment and a ground-based Differential GPS (DGPS) system, which is located at a convenient pre-surveyed position at each airport. The ground equipment is normally sited away from aircraft manoeuvring areas to minimise any operational disruption.

The AFIS airborne equipment comprises a small lightweight unit housing the specialist navaid receivers, GPS receiver, data collection computer, telemetry transceiver and an operator laptop. The AFIS also includes a separate pilot’s head-up display to assist with guidance and awareness. The AFIS equipment uses its own SBAS system to determine the aircraft’s position in space within 20mm accuracy and to ensure accurate and repeatable results.

The pilots head up guidance display provides the pilots with situational awareness and accurate guidance during the inspection runs. Each profile run is preprogrammed into the system and can be selected by either the flight inspector or the pilots using the touch screen interface. The laptop computer provides the flight inspector with all the real-time inspection and positioning data. The flight inspection software runs in a user-friendly Windows environment using multifunction facilities with the data presented in a clear and precise graphical format.

Photos by Paddy Kilduff

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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