Hamburg Airport meets highest safety standard ICAO GRF with OTT HydroMet systems

Control vehicle at Hamburg Airport

A new guideline standardizes the assessment of runway conditions at airports. The international Global Reporting Format (ICAO GRF) helps pilots to better assess conditions on the runway. Hamburg Airport is the first German airport to meet the safety standard with an innovative solution from OTT HydroMet.

To increase air traffic safety, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued a new directive. As of August 2021, European airports must report and assess weather-related runway conditions in detail throughout the year. Globally – apart from the Federal Aviation Administration FAA, which is sticking with the similar TALPA system in North America – ICAO GRF will apply from November 4, 2021. Previously, such reporting was only required as part of winter maintenance.

ICAO GRF supports pilots in assessing runway conditions

With the new requirements, airports are obliged to report runway conditions that are even wet due to rain and every time they change. The new GRF reporting system is intended to provide pilots with a more reliable assessment of the aircraft’s safe performance during takeoff and landing. GRF standardizes the way runway conditions are communicated to pilots. Hamburg Airport is the first airport in Germany to use a new system that automatically records runway conditions.

To further increase air traffic safety and implement the new regulations, Hamburg Airport has purchased a series of Lufft MARWIS mobile road weather sensors together with ViewMondo software. Hamburg Airport is the first airport in Germany to work with this innovative system from OTT HydroMet. In addition to Hamburg Airport, Milan Bergamo Airport in Italy also uses this combination.

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,” says Dirk Behrens, Head of Aviation at Hamburg Airport. “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.”

The Lufft MARWIS mobile road weather sensor uses special LED lamps to determine the road surface condition following an optical measurement principle. It collects data on road temperature, moisture, water film height, snow and ice layer depth. This information is fed into the ViewMondo software. Adapted to the requirements of airports, 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. Here, 6 stands for dry and 0 for wet ice. Further information includes the of the water film height or snow and ice depth as well as the degree of coverage in the respective third.


How the MARWIS + ViewMondo package works

The software ViewMondo has been adapted for this very purpose. It compiles the SNOWTAM report after the completion control run. The responsible employee can then adapt it and add further information or forward it directly to air traffic control, which in turn is in constant contact with the pilots.

The interest in the package of MARWIS and ViewMondo is great, reports Steven Marks, who as Sales Manager at OTT HydroMet is responsible for the DACH region. “Our solution combines several advantages at once,” Marks explains. “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.”

Do you have questions or feedback regarding this innovative runway monitoring solution by OTT HydroMet? Get in touch with our experts!

Image: Hamburg Airport

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