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Welcome to the GfL - „the safety maker in Aviation“

The consulting company Gesellschaft fuer Luftverkehrsforschung mbH (GfL) has been involved advisorily in the areas of flight operations, airport planning and ATM procedure planning since 1995. The management holds the title of expert for air traffic in Germany and as well as Austria. GfL offers a range of services primarily including advising and appraisal concerning safety assessments for airlines, ATC and airports, airport planning services, analysis of air space concerning DEP/ARR operations in the vicinity of airports and support within the scope of the approval of non-compliant infrastructure concerning EASA/ICAO. The profound consulting services regarding special matters of air traffic (law, environment, system engineering) in cooperation with our long-term partners complete our service portfolio.

GfL also offers ATM and airport software solutions: This includes operational safety management systems (SMS) for airports and airlines, special risk assessment tools for TMA areas as well as terminal and airside/landside fast time simulations for airport operations. We are proud to have successfully implemented and established our systems in our partners’ operations without any complaints for many years.

Are you interested in GfL’s areas of activity and looking for a challenging job? Please get in touch with us!

April 2019: Enhancement of the Compliance Management System at MUC Airport

Once an EASA certificate has been issued by the responsible approval authority as part of the initial certification process, the German airports and thus also Flughafen München GmbH (FMG) are required to provide and document continuous proof of compliance with the certification basis and the relevant requirements. This requires further development of the compliance management system at MUC Airport. GfL supports MUC with immediate effect in the conception of the competency check programs. The cooperation is long-term and currently agreed until 2021.


April 2019: Update of constructional restriction analyses at special-purpose airfield Hamburg Finkenwerder

GfL recently received an order from Airbus Deutschland GmbH to carry out an update of the investigations for the planned establishment of a constructional restriction area (so-called Bauschutzbereich, BSB) in accordance with § 12 LuftVG at special-purpose airfield Hamburg-Finkenwerder. Based on updated development plans, land parcels and wind power areas, a penetration and impact analysis is carried out with regard to the precision and non-precision approach procedures set up at the special-purpose airfield. This analysis step is intended to update the successive investigations that have been carried out since 2007 (see > News entry 2012 and > News entry 2007). Results are expected by the end of May 2019.


March 2019: DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung orders ETAS 2019 System Upgrade

GfL’s software ETAS (Enhanced Trajectory Analysis Tool) allows the precise calculation of fuel consumption for various jet and turboprop aircraft as well as pollutant emissions (e.g. COX, NOX, soot etc.) relying on radar data recorded aircraft trajectories. ETAS has become operational at Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS) headquarter premises in 2016. It hosts the system for actually five German airline users which cooperate as “Optimized Flying Working Group”. The group has now taken the decision to order the ETAS 2019 System Upgrade, allowing for even higher accuracy in fuel flow estimation for several aircraft-engine-type combinations. The Upgrade will become productive in summer 2019.


March 2019: GfL publishes methodology for determining external risks from helicopter flight operations at airports and helipads

The so-called external risk provides information on the potential hazards induced by flight operations resp. aircraft accidents for third parties not involved in air traffic (e.g. residents or employees of the airport environment). In order to determine the external risks caused by accidents with aeroplanes, GfL has been using a mathematical/statistical calculation model for about 20 years now. In the course of continuous developments, the model environment can now also be applied to helicopter flight operations. Here, flight operations take place both over a dedicated helicopter take-off/landing area (Final Approach and Take Off Area, FATO) and over runways (SLB), as is the case at airports without FATO for helicopters. FATOs, on the other hand, are installed at almost every hospital and are therefore particularly common in densely populated inner-city areas. Using the key model parameters of accident ratio, accident location and accident consequence, being parameterised from historical aircraft accidents and constantly updated, individual and group risks can be precisely calculated and compared with permissible limit values for final evaluation.

Download: > Articles


February 2019: Measurement of the properties of signal lamps at lighting laboratory in progress

Along the investigation of signal lamps for the identification of airport vehicles (e.g., follow me vehicles, rescue and emergency vehicles etc.) on behalf of German Airports Association ADV, the measurement of specific signal lamps in the lighting laboratory is currently being carried out (see > news entry November 2018) . Aim is to derive statements on central properties such as peak intensities, beam angles and flash rates. A special luminance camera is used as a measuring device for this purpose, which permits precise, spatially resolved measurements.

In total, up to nine signal lamps and a vehicle roof lightbar are being analyzed, having different types of light media (light emitting diode, flash tube, halogen lamp with rotating mirror) and housing/lens shapes. The signal lamps are provided by the manufacturers > Hänsch Warnsysteme GmbH and > HELLA GmbH & Co. KGaA being major distributors at German airports.


Januar 2019: Capacity and Ground Handling analysis for Leipzig/Halle Airport

At Leipzig/Halle Airport, DHL's freight and in particular express freight business continues to grow. The tactical and strategic intention of the airport company is not to restrict DHL's growth trend at Leipzig/Halle, but to promote it.

On the basis of the planned expansion of the taxiway system and the apron areas, the required stand space for DHL and the total stand space requirement for the current and forecast demand situation will be determined using an analytical approach. In addition, a location analysis will examine where further handling capacity could be planned with regard to optimised handling processes, also taking into account other freight service provider at Leipzig/Halle Airport. In a second step the long-term need for stand space at Leipzig/Halle Airport will be determined with a fast-time simulation by using the capacity of the independent RWY system.


January 2019: Safety assessment of runway holding points at Frankfurt/Main Airport to be continued and updated

GfL had already investigated in 2012, on behalf of Fraport AG, whether there were penetrations of the obstacle limitation surfaces (OLS) according to NfL I 328/01 respectively of the Obstacle Assessment Surfaces (OAS) according to NfL I 1/99 at runway holding positions imposed by aircraft during the waiting phase for roll-up clearance (see > here). Corresponding penetrations were determined. As a result, a risk assessment for safe and regular flight operations up to operating level III (CAT III) was executed resulting in risk mitigation strategies. Since then, the airport's plans have been supplemented to include further holding positions, which are now being investigated by GfL. The derivation of an EASA-compatible acceptable level of risk is however complex in such investigations. Results are expected in early summer.


December 2018: Fraport AG commissions GfL to continue cooperation along the Frankfurt/Main airport EASA certification process

The certification of Germany's largest airport in accordance with EASA requirements for airport infrastructure and operational and organizational structures has been supported directly on site by GfL experts since 2014 (see > here). Due to the complexity of the certification process and the personnel resources required for this, Fraport AG has now decided to continue this very successful and perennial cooperation until at least mid-2020. Regarding this, you can find an overview of our services in our flyer in the download area > here.

In this respect, GfL has been in possession of the permit for temporary employment (so called ANÜ) issued by the Federal Employment Agency since this year. This enables us to deploy our qualified employees directly on site in your company and to provide you with expert support in the area of EASA certification resp. the on-following EASA Compliance Monitoring, among other things. For further information on ANÜ and your individual solution, please contact us directly by telephone or e-mail.


November 2018: Further investigation of signal lamps on behalf of ADV

With the adoption of Regulation (EU) 139/2014 (Implementing Rule) based on Regulation (EC) 216/2008 (Basic Regulation) by the European Commission, common standards for the planning, operation and maintenance of safe airports are now envisaged, which must be implemented by all member states. On this basis, EASA’s guideline Certification Specifications (CS) and Guidance Material (GM) for Aerodromes Design (CS-ADR-DSN) contains requirements for the design of the airport infrastructure. This includes detailed specifications for the use and design of obstacle lights, and specifically also the marking of mobile objects (e.g. lead and follow me vehicles, rescue and emergency vehicles, etc.) with signal lamps (rotating beacons, flashing beacons, etc.). These must satisfy specific properties, e.g. with regard to peak intensities, colouring, beam angles and flash rates. In the course of the EASA certification of the German airports, it was found that the signal lamps meet the generally applicable European basic requirements for vehicle lighting according to ECE-R65, but that these differ from EASA-compliant signal lamps in terms of the above-mentioned properties.

In 2016, GfL already carried out analyses concerning this matter on behalf of the ADV (see > news entry October 2016). Now, on the order of ADV, extensive further investigations are to be carried out focusing solely on the properties of signal lamps. The initial focus is on the photometric measurement of a representative selection of luminaire types from different manufacturers currently used at German airports in a lighting laboratory equipped for this purpose. If significant differences to the EASA luminaire properties are identified, a safety assessment is subsequently carried out. It will then determine whether detected differences in lighting behaviour are relevant for flight safety or whether there is an Equivalent Level of Safety (ELOS). First results will be expected in February 2019.


October 2018: GfL represented at BADA User Group and Conference 2018

The Base of Aircraft Data (BADA) is a comprehensive flight performance data set prepared by the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL), which captures flight performance parameters and associated calculation rules in detail for the implementation of a flight performance model of numerous commercial aircraft types. The flight performance data are provided by the worldwide aircraft manufacturers under specific licensing conditions. The flight performance model was designed for the simulation and prediction of flight trajectories within the framework of air traffic controller training and is therefore ideally suited for the analysis and evaluation of environmental impacts of air traffic (e.g. pollutant emissions induced by fuel consumption) as well.

At this year's conference from 17 to 18 October in Cornwall (CAN), to which GfL was invited by EUROCONTROL, numerous well-known representatives from industry and research from all over the world were present. The current status as well as future developments and potentials with regard to the application of BADA were discussed in several lectures and discussion rounds (for further information see > here). The GfL contribution "Estimating aircraft emissions from radar tracks" focused on the implementation of BADA within the framework of our flight profile analysis tool Enhanced Trajectory Analysis System (ETAS) as well as current research activities in cooperation with the TU Dresden under the BMWi-funded project ProfiFuel (see also > news entry January 2017). ETAS enables the evaluation and assessment of flight-specific fuel consumption and resulting pollutant emissions and has already been in operation at Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS) since 2016 (for further information see > here).


October 2018: German Environment Agency (UBA) awards “Flight progress data as a basis for aircraft noise calculations” three-year-project to GfL

GfL was recently contracted by German Environment Agency (UBA) to conduct the research project “Flight progress data as basis for aircraft noise calculations”. The project’s aim is to investigate to what extent flight progress data (e.g. Radar- and Multilateration Data) are suitable to achieve aircraft noise calculations with higher precision compared to today’s regulatory standard (AzB). Besides the raw data’s preparation for determining complete flight trajectories, the development of a quality-assured calculation method including individual parameters specific to flight performance (essentially flight altitude and speed, thrust and aircraft mass) is a particular focus. In this respect, the knowledge gained during the development of our in-house fuel and emission calculation software ETAS (further information see > here) can well be used. Within the framework of this project, GfL is supported by TU Dresden’s Chair of Air Transport Technologies and Logistics, as a consortium partner, especially dealing with flight meteorology and flight profile optimization. Furthermore, the acoustic experts of Wölfel Engineering GmbH + Co. KG are part of the project team, having excellent experience in the field of aircraft noise calculation. In addition, the German ANSP DFS is involved in the project to support with data. Within a project run time of three years, we aim to develop a calculation method which may amend and specify the standard calculation methods used in Germany to date (in accordance with the German Aircraft Noise Act or AzB and AzD) and adapt it to the current state of knowledge.


September 2018: GfL delivers safety assessment concerning the partial runway renewal at Stuttgart airport

In the run-up to the planned renewal of runway 07/25 with simultaneous flight operations at Stuttgart airport in 2020, the competent authority Ministry of Transport Baden-Wuerttemberg assigned GfL to conduct a safety assessment (see news August 2018). The assessment focused on the infrastructural and procedural measures (e.g. adjustment of lights and markings) determined by Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH (FSG) being applied during the construction works. Within this scope, measures were inspected for EASA compliance as well as suitability and completeness regarding safe flight operations.

As a result, specific compliance measures were determined to remove infrastructural deviations according to EASA being found. Further on a comprehensive hazard analysis was conducted (main hazards: RWY overruns resp. undershoots, obstacle collision etc.) which based on empirical flight accident analysis, expert workshops and conclusions derived from RWY construction at other airports. In order to mitigate the risks which may result from these hazards, additional infrastructural and operational measures were specified (inter alia publication of shortened takeoff and landing distances at AIP, ATIS and NOTAM, provision of an construction site information system (online briefing tool) etc.). By implementing this set of risk mitigation measures, safe interim flight operations can be guaranteed even during the construction phases at any time.


August 2018: MV BW assigns safety assessment concerning the partial runway renewal at Stuttgart Airport

Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH (FSG) intends to partially renovate runway 07/25, especially in the area of threshold (THR) 05 and parts of adjacent taxiways from 2020 on. The aim is to replace damaged concrete slabs to bring back homogeneous physical characteristics and to reduce complex inspection and repair measures as well as FOD risks for operating aircraft. To minimize the economic effects, flight operations shall continue on the runway’s western part (THR 07) during the construction works. Therefore, the FSG developed several mitigation measures (e.g. adjustment of lights and markings) to enable safe flight operations. In this context, the competent authority Ministry of Transport Baden-Wuerttemberg assigned GfL to conduct a safety assessment regarding the temporary, infrastructural and procedural measures determined by FSG. It is intended to clarify whether these measures fulfil the relevant EASA specifications and safe flight operations as well as public safety can be guaranteed at any time. You can find further information concerning the construction project on FSG’s homepage >here).


July 2018: Düsseldorf Airport ordering GfL’s software “Airport Conformance Monitor”

Our database-supported software Airport Conformance Monitor is currently operated at the airports of Hanover and Braunschweig-Wolfsburg. The software allows controlling the EASA compliance concerning infrastructure, operation and organization and enables to log infrastructural modifications as well as procedural changes. After the implementation of our Safety Management Tool at Düsseldorf Airport, the airport operator decided to procure the ACM additionally. The system’s launch is scheduled for autumn 2018. Find out more about its functionalities > here)or contact us in order to get your tailored, individual system solution.


July 2018: Braunschweig Airport decides to order GfL’s Safety Management System

After intense analyses, our HTML Safety Management System (SMS) tool was able to convince Braunschweig Airport. The tool allows acquisition, management and auditing of safety-relevant events and processes according to EASA directives. At Braunschweig Airport the newest version 4.0 will be applied, especially allowing the support of mobile devices. Consequently, our SMS tool’s newest version will be operated at five international airports (Hannover, Dresden, Leipzig/Halle and Rostock). Find out more about its functionalities > here resp. contact us in order to get your individual system solution.


May 2018: Aeronautical study concerning flight operations at special-purpose airfield Iserlohn-Sümmern due to the installation of wind turbines – public presentation of GfL’s expert report

During the planning period concerning the installation of three wind turbine generator systems (WTGS) west of special-purpose airfield (SPA) Iserlohn-Sümmern, GfL conducted a safety assessment in order to examine the effects on safe flight operations caused by the penetration of obstacle limitation surfaces according to NfL I 92/13 (see news post February 2018). In this context our customer (project community consisting of Gelsenwasser and VSB) invites to an information event at Wilhelmshöhe Menden on June 5 June 2018 at 06:30 pm (see official press release > here). The main objective is to present and clarify the expert reports. Regarding this, a representative of GfL will be on the spot for explanation and dialogue.


April 2018: GfL delivers safety assessment concerning EASA compliance at Nuremberg airport to allow the operation of aircraft with higher ICAO code letter

The airport of Nuremberg (IATA code: NUE) obtained its EASA certificate for airport reference code (ARC) 4C in January 2018 (see > here). However, the airport FNG intends to occasionally handle larger aircraft with code letter D, E and F as well. Higher code letters imply additional requirements related to the airport’s infrastructure and equipment according to EASA CS-ADR-DSN which are not entirely fulfilled at airport NUE. To guarantee safe flight operations of specific reference aircraft with higher code letter nonetheless, GfL conducted an extensive safety assessment (see news entry September 2017). In this scope, a target vs. actual-comparison for all the guideline’s contents was performed followed by a detailed analysis and assessment of non-compliant movement areas in consideration of relevant aircraft design characteristics. The applied risk assessment method is based on ICAO Cir 305 Operation of New Larger Aeroplanes at Existing Aerodromes. Selected infrastructural and operational risk mitigation measures were derived and analyses and results were condensed in a comprehensive checklist.


April 2018: ETAS presented at the International ATM Conference China, Beijing

In the week of 20.03 the “2018 International Symposium on Air Traffic Management for Civil Aviation" was held in China, Beijing. CEO Hartmut Fricke was invited to give a Key Note on „Airport Challenges to Cope with Single European Sky Performance Targets“ as researcher from TU Dresden. In this note, we also presented our software ETAS which found particular interest from Air China. Air China is member of the Star Alliance Group and as such is highly motivated to compare every day’s flight efficiency of its fleet with the respective performance reached in Europe by e.g., Lufthansa. More than 250 guests from politics, Industry and research attended the event.


March 2018: New article about our in-house fuel and emission calculation software ETAS published in “Ingenieurspiegel”

GfL’s in-house developed software ETAS (Enhanced Trajectory Analysis System) allows the precise calculation of fuel consumption for jet and turboprop aircraft as well as pollutant emissions (e.g. COX, NOX, soot etc.) based on available aircraft trajectories, such as radar data. The software’s innovative character and its successful operational launch at German ANSP Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH encouraged us to present the software’s functioning, application and planned development to a professional readership within this year’s aviation edition of the journal “Ingenieurspiegel”. The article being released under the heading “Introduction of a calculation software at Deutsche Flugsicherung for monitoring of aviation’s fuel consumption and emissions to assess flight procedures” is available in German > here).
For further information concerning the software, do not hesitate to contact us!


March 2018: Airport Braunschweig-Wolfsburg decides to order GfL’s software Digital Aerodrome Manual (DAM)

With the entry into force of Certification Specifications (CS) and Guidance Material (GM) for Aerodromes Design (CS-ADR-DSN) by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on 6 March 2014 a harmonized pan-European guideline based on ICAO Annex 14 was implemented. Complemented by Regulation (EU) No 139/2014 new directives became effective stipulating common standards for the planning, operation and maintenance of safe airports. An integral part of the certification process is the aerodrome manual. GfL’s software solution DAM provides an appropriate outline and filtering function as well as document management including version controlling. DAM can be integrated into our Safety Management System (SMS) software module easily. By now our SMS software solutions are applied at several German airports.


February 2018: GfL delivers safety assessment concerning the reduced approach lighting system at airport Münster/Osnabrück

In landing direction RWY 27 (ILS CAT I) at airport Münster/Osnabrück (FMO) there is currently a simple approach lighting system (SALS) with an overall length of 420 m being non-compliant regarding the specifications for precision approach runways with an overall length of 900 m after EASA CS-ADR-DSN (see news September 2017). In order to guarantee safe flight operations despite of these deviations GfL conducted a detailed safety assessment according to EUROCONTROL’s recommendations. The related risk analysis was mainly based on extensive flight simulation test with certified airline pilots and supported by geometrical analyses of cockpit visibilities and obstacle clearance altitudes. Within specific scenarios, a huge amount of simulation data was generated and subsequently statistically analyzed to receive statements concerning flight path deviations, scattering of touchdown points and flight attitude parameters. Finally, it was found that the reduced ALS completely fulfils its primary function. For the purpose of safe flight operations and the ALARP principle specific risk mitigation measures were nevertheless derived.


February 2018: GfL delivers aeronautical study concerning flight operations at special-purpose airfield Iserlohn-Sümmern due to the installation of wind turbines in its vicinity

The company Energie- und Messtechnik/Windenergie GELSENWASSER AG plans to install three wind turbine generator systems (WTGS) west of special-purpose airfield (SPA) Iserlohn-Sümmern. It was noted that the obstacle limitation surfaces according to the national directive NfL I 92/13 are penetrated and the WTGS additionally affect the airspace used for approach and departure by small powered aircraft as well as glider tugs. In order to proof safe flight operations GfL conducted an aeronautical study (AS). Therefore, specific safety areas surrounding the WTGS were determined taking into account obstacle requirements and turbulences caused by the WTGS’ rotors. The resulting risks were analyzed by applying a four-step evaluation scheme in order to clarify the feasibility of critical flight trajectories leading to potential collisions. These steps contain the analyses of minimum requirements according to EASA CS-23 for powered aircraft and national directive NfL II 17/03 for sailplane towing with microlights, flight performance data pursuant to certified aircraft flight manual of the reference airplane operating at the SPA and finally GPS flight tracks provided by the SPA’s users. Because of detected violations within these steps, several risk mitigation measures were derived (especially implementation of a circuit / traffic pattern) within the risk assessment in order to guarantee safe flight operations at SPA Iserlohn-Sümmern.


January 2018: German Airports become EASA certified

By decree of Regulation No 139/2014 based on Regulation No 216/2008 common standards for planning, operation and preservation of safe aerodromes are stipulated. By 31st December 2017, all member states and in particular Germany had to implement these standards, especially concerning the guidelines issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). By now, the German Airports Association (ADV) announced that all German airports received their EASA certificate in due time (see > here).
We are very pleased to see our customers having been certified. GfL supported this partially quite complex certification procedures for various airports by e.g., conducting (equivalent level of) safety (ELOS) assessments to prove compliance for given infrastructural local specifics or the development of individual software solutions (e.g., our HTML SMS Tool, see > here and Airport Conformance Monitor (see > here). These supportive activities were partly carried out with GfL’s specialists on site over several years. As airports now have to monitor their compliance regularly, we stand to our customers and keep on assisting. Find out more about our relevant services! You may download our EASA flyer from the flyers area!


January 2018: Rostock Airport decides to order GfL’s Safety Management System

After intense analyses, our HTML Safety Management System (SMS) tool was able to convince Rostock Airport. The tool allows acquisition, management and auditing of safety-relevant events and processes according to EASA directives. At Rostock Airport the newest version 4.0 will be applied, especially allowing the support of mobile devices. Consequently, our SMS tool’s newest version will be operated at four international airports (Hannover, Dresden and Leipzig/Halle). Its delivery to Rostock Airport is scheduled for April 2018. Find out more about its functionalities > hier resp. contact us in order to get your individual system solution.


December 2017: GfL/TUD rolling out Vertical Profile Assessment Tool (V-PAT) to EUROCONTROL

Since 2015, TU Dresden, Chair for Air Transport and Logistics jointly developed with GfL the new V-PAT version under SESAR, now running as a JAVA application. As such, V-PAT is able to run on any operating system (Windows, Linux, MacOS X). Various metrics (e.g., time, altitude and fuel burn sampling of horizontal flight segments during CDO) were developed and implemented to assess flight trajectories in fast time using CCO and CDO as proxies for vertical flight efficiency (VFE). V-PAT is now capable of handling several thousands of flight trajectories in a single run and is able to assess the undertaking of VFE based upon the outcomes of the European CCO and CDO Taskforce1. VPAT has now been formally deployed to the Directorate Pan-European Single Sky, EUROCONTROL in Brussels. "I confirm that we are satisfied with the final deliverable and we thank you for the hard work put into the project by your team." says D. Brain, DPS/POL, EUROCONTROL (see for more details on related EUROCONTROL activities > http://www.eurocontrol.int/articles/continuous-climb-and-descent-operations).


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