Airbus has achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of its Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) for the Airbus A320 Family, allowing for today’s delivery of the first A320 Family member featuring ROPS – an A319 to American Airlines. American has elected to equip all of its A320 Family fleet with Airbus’ ROPS. This on-board cockpit technology increases pilots’ situational awareness during landing, reduces exposure to runway excursion risk, and, if necessary, provides active protection. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified ROPS on the A320ceo (current engine option) Family in August of this year.
Runway excursions are the number one cause of commercial aviation accidents in the world. The patented Airbus ROPS system computes minimum realistic in-flight landing and on-ground stopping distances and compares them to available landing distances in real time. The system combines data on weather, runway condition and topography, and aircraft weight and configuration. Depending on the resulting analysis, ROPS may prompt immediate callouts and alerts for pilots, assisting the crew in the go-around decision-making process and/or the timely application of stopping means on touchdown.
“We work every day to make the already safest mode of transportation in the world even safer, and we’re proud that the authorities and our customers realize the great advantages ROPS brings to commercial aviation,” said Yannick Malinge, Airbus’ Senior Vice President and Chief Product Safety Officer. “This latest certification and delivery marks a key landmark for this pioneering technology.”
“For more than 85 years, our top priority at American has been safety of our customers and our people,” said Capt. John Hale, Vice President – Flight for American Airlines. “We are proud to be the worldwide pioneer of ROPS on our A319 and A321 aircraft. Certification by the global authorities of commercial aviation is a testament to their belief in this system and the multi-tiered benefit it will bring to our airline as well as the industry.”
ROPS was first approved by EASA on the A380 in 2009, and to date is currently in service or ordered on most of the worldwide A380 fleet. In 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended to the FAA that it “actively pursue with aircraft and avionics manufacturers the development of technology to reduce or prevent runway excursions and, once it becomes available, require that the technology be installed” (A-11-28). ROPS is part of the A350 XWB’s basic configuration. In addition, Airbus is working to make ROPS commercially available for aircraft from other manufacturers. Yet another benefit of the system is one outside of safety – airlines save money by reducing their insurance premiums for all aircraft featuring ROPS.
It was announced earlier this month that the Airbus team responsible for the design and implementation of ROPS has been nominated as a finalist for an Aviation Week Laureate Award, with the winner to be named in March 2014.