Stapleford airfield planning GNSS approach

Stapleford airfield in Essex, home to the Stapleford Flight Centre and one of the busiest General Aviation airfields in the London area, has launched a consultation on a new GNSS ‘RNAV’ instrument approach to its 21L runway. The airfield, which sees extensive private and commercial flight training activity says that approximately 700 flights a year are expected to use the satellite-guided approach (out of approximately 40,000 annual movements). At present, Stapleford have ‘training only’ approach procedures based on the Lambourne LAM VOR/DME which is based on the airfield. However, this training procedure cannot be used as an actual instrument approach and the LAM beacon is scheduled to be decommissioned within the next two years.

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In July 2016, Stapleford Aerodrome became part of a European project co-funded by the European GNSS Agency. The objective of the project is to foster the design, development and implementation of satellite based instrument approach procedures at three small aerodromes in the UK. The project is being co-ordinated in the UK by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and aviation consultancy Helios, in partnership with Stapleford Airfield.

Stapleford say that the proposed RNAV approach will bring several benefits to the airfield, including:

  • Improved operational efficiency at the airfield allowing the recovery of Stapleford Flight Centre aircraft in deteriorating weather conditions.
  • Increased safety in deteriorating weather conditions by providing satellite-guided approaches to runway 21L.
  • Enabling Stapleford Flight Centre to continue to undertake instrument flight training at the airport.
  • Increased aircraft operations from training or as a result of enabling operations in weather conditions which would not be enabled today.

The consultation on the proposal can be found at:

and the airfield will be hosting a ‘drop in’ session for interested parties drop-in on Tuesday 13th February between 15:00 and 22:00. The consultation will run until 26th March. If the proposals are accepted, Stapleford expect the new approach to become operation in early 2019.

Author: Adrian Mahovics

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