Airbus’ innovative Runway Overrun Protection System (ROPS) is proving its usefulness in daily airline service around the world, and will be further enhanced with additional functionality based on operational experience.
Introduced on the A380 in 2009 – and now available on all in-production Airbus aircraft types – ROPS is the only certified system to alert pilots when the runway length could be exceeded while landing, which is a leading cause of accidents in the global airline industry.
ROPS continuously monitors an aircraft’s position and calculates the distance needed to safely stop on the runway in dry and wet conditions. If the determined stopping distance is longer than the available runway length, ROPS triggers visual and oral alerts – either on final approach to landing or during the post-touchdown rollout.
“With ROPS, pilots receive simple alerts – and are provided simple procedures to perform – helping them to take the right actions at the right time during the critical phase of landing,” explained Thomas Lagaillarde, ROPS Programme Head in the Airbus Customer Services department.
Operational experience has already demonstrated the system’s value on several occasions. Lagaillarde said a ROPS alert enabled A380 pilots to make a “go-around” during approach after increasing tailwinds created a potential for runway overrun. In another situation, pilots received a ROPS alert to use maximum braking and thrust reverse for a safe stop on an icy runway because the aircraft had been in a non-standard configuration after landing.
More than 30 airline customers already operate ROPS-equipped jetliners or have selected it for new production aircraft and in retrofit, with bookings for 1,500-plus systems to date. The system’s advantages are increasingly recognised by the international air transport community, including insurance coverage advantages provided for ROPS-equipped aircraft, Lagaillarde added.
In further augmenting ROPS’ capabilities, Airbus will enable pilots to input additional contaminated runway conditions (standing water or compacted snow, as examples). In addition, Airbus is working to correlate even more accurate data on airports as baseline data for ROPS’ calculations, reinforced by the company’s acquisition of Navtech – a leading global provider of flight operations solutions.