A new approach to flying has found a way to make aircraft landings cleaner and quieter. According to reports by Wired, airports in Scandinavia are leading the way in the development of this new process.
The most carbon emissions, as well as the most noise, produced by commercial aircraft occurs when the plane is landing. That is, if the aircraft is landing using the traditional stepped approach.
The stepped approach involves reducing thrust as the plane begins its decent, increasing thrust to level off and continuing this process until the plane lands on the ground. The stepped approach is widely practiced at most airports; however the acceleration and deceleration required to complete the task burns lots of fuel and creates noise.
The continuous descent approach not only cuts noise levels but it conserves fuel and decreases the plane’s carbon emissions. It doesn’t require equipment or new technology or large expenditures, but it does require air space – something many airports don’t have.
Stockholm Airport is one of the many Scandinavian airports which allow airplanes to use continuous descent. The airport has plans to increase the number of continuously descending planes to 30 a day. Other airports, in Gothenburg, Malmo and Umea, also plan to use continuous descents during off-peak hours during the next three years.