Significant milestones often make one wonder about the length of time. On the one hand, it feels like the Global Reporting Format (GRF) was launched just yesterday. On the other, it feels like an eternity has passed.
Whatever we may feel, it has now officially been over a year since GRF was implemented. As you may know, our products have exceeded GRF standards even before GRF was implemented, and we have played a significant role in getting many airports GRF compliant. The goal of this article is to provide a brief status update as to where the global aviation community currently stands in terms of GRF.
Moventor and feedback from customers globally
Of course, GRF legislation being so close to our core business, we have been keeping a very rigorous watch over the implementation process and feedback gained from it. Although implementation has been in general a success and the feedback positive, there still are some issues we would like to note.
Firstly, some airports have either not implemented GRF or only partially implemented it. It’s therefore important to expect that Slippery Wet #3 and Standing Water #2 may not be reported in some places. Secondly, there are some other communication challenges as well. Although the self-chosen goal of GRF is harmonizing safety, there are some very significant issues. To add to the issue of varying degrees of partial implementation, there are also national differences between the way in which information is communicated. This is the reason our Global Runway Reporting (GRR) software has to generate up to five different SNOWTAM messages. Our customers have also reported dangerous situations with RWYCC #5 around the world. RWYCC #5 is currently seen too optimistically. 99% of our customers still use friction testers, especially for up- and downgrading, and of course for the mandatory slippery wet monitoring.
Additionally, it seems that the oversight of ICAO or EASA has been spotty at times. Of course we understand and appreciate that legislators have lots of other things to do as well, but it still seems that a little added oversight would’ve gone a long way. Our global customers have reported that content in the Automatic terminal information service (ATIS) hasn’t always been clear. The expectation was that EASA/ICAO would align ATIS messaging by making rules, but it seems that there is still progress to be made in this area. Additionally, our customers have reported a limited amount of inquiries by ICAO and EASA about how things have been going.
The Specially Prepared Winter Runway (SPWR) certification process is also more difficult than it needs to be, and it’s not achievable with reasonable effort in its current form.
GRF in Finland
Similarly to the global situation overall, implementation of GRF in Finland was in general a success. Some airports have been upgrading a lot, some have been downgrading. This is due to a lot of variation in winter conditions around Finland, from the arctic snowy conditions of Ivalo airport to the more central-European Helsinki Vantaa airport. All things considered, our GRR software has performed exceedingly well.
Some specific issues we have encountered here is incorrect validation of SNOWTAM due to issues with Eurocontrol. This issue likely will be fixed only later this year. This causes delays in downgrade reporting, since they have to be processed or rejected manually.
Predictions made before GRF implementation forecasted that RWYCC values will polarize to 0,1 and 5,6. As expected, if no upgrades or downgrades were done, the RWYCC polarized as expected. Almost 40% of airports downgraded, and about a tenth upgraded. Especially since #5 is very optimistic on RCAM, as illustrated by the dangerous close calls abroad, it was downgraded a lot. As a result, nominal RWYCC #2 and #4 reports are missing completely in the entire country.
Last winter Finnish airports used airplane data for judging slipperiness. In 2023 our brand new Alert software will be implemented, which will generate reports if the airplane senses a slipperier runway than the reports indicated. This will give us tools to improve our products even further, and make sure landing strips stay safe.
What Do the Pilots Think?
Pilots have been happy with the way GRF has been handled at airports. They have had to deal with some inconveniences, as all parties have. One of the specific issues for pilots is the fact that the airplane measurements do not comply with RCAM, so the incoming information has to be adjusted before feeding it in. Additionally, in fault situations, performance has to be manually calculated.
Thankfully there are solutions for these issues in the market, such as our GRR software that generates one value (Take-Off Significant Contaminant), that erases the problem. While these solutions will work even with planes where brakes aren’t used in all landings, such as ATR planes where the propellers generate so much resistance already, if brakes aren’t used the airport will get no data from the landing planes. These data would be required, for example, to apply for SPWR.
In conclusion, GRF implementation has gone quite well, especially in proportion to the significance and breadth of the implications of GRF. Even then, airports still have the responsibility to make sure their airport is as safe as possible, and compliance with international standards is one critical element. This is what we do at Moventor. We make your journey towards full GRF compliance much easier. With our integrated hardware and software products, you’re on your way to a much easier and effortless future.
Contact us today to get started!