DFS: Supporting the future of air traffic and the future of energy in Germany

DFS, the German air navigation service provider, is starting construction of an omnidirectional radio beacon in Sarstedt, Lower Saxony, which had originally been planned for 2020. The modern facility is more robust against interference from wind turbines than conventional radio beacons. A new assessment methodology to assess this interference will also facilitate the approval of wind power projects across Germany.  

In June, DFS will be starting construction of a new Doppler VOR beacon (DVOR), a radio navigation aid for aircraft, at a site in Sarstedt. DFS estimates that the construction will cost around €1.5 million and last five months. This means that the new DVOR Sarstedt can go into operation in the 1st quarter of 2022 at the latest. It replaces an interim solution housed in a container set up at the same location. This conventional radio beacon (CVOR) is more sensitive to interference from wind turbines. Where it can, DFS is actively replacing CVORs with the more robust DVORs. Five facilities have already been upgraded.  

New assessment methodology means less conflict 
Since June 2020, DFS has been using the assessment methodology refined in cooperation with the PTB – the National Metrology Institute of Germany – to more exactly determine the effect of interference from wind turbines on the ground-based navigation infrastructure of DFS. The improved forecasting quality of the new methodology means that more wind turbines can be approved in the protected area of navigation aids than was previously possible. "The new scientific findings of the National Metrology Institute of Germany establish that the erection of more wind turbines does not necessarily lead to an increase in the interference on navigation facilities. The exact effect can be better predicted using the new formula," explains Dr Morten Grandt, Head of Navigation Services at DFS.  

Within the protected area of the Sarstedt navigation aid, almost 120 wind turbines have been approved. There are approximately 2,100 wind turbines within the protected areas of DFS omnidirectional radio beacons all over Germany. So far, the method can only be used for Doppler omnidirectional radio beacons. For conventional navigation facilities (CVOR), DFS is expecting proposals for a new assessment methodology in the spring, which will then be quickly put into practice. 

DFS launches pilot project with regional planning authorities 
DFS is also involved in a pilot project in the region around Hannover, the capital and largest city in the German Federal State of Lower Saxony, and with the district of Nienburg/Weser. The objective is to include air traffic control issues in spatial planning to improve the process for granting planning permission for wind turbines in the region. "In the pilot project, the planning authorities, the German Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services and DFS are developing procedures which can be used as a basis for assessing the compatibility of wind turbines and air traffic control facilities in regional spatial planning at an early stage," explains Dr Grandt. The district of Nienburg/Weser has already used the results for its 4th amendment to the regional spatial planning programme, which is to be published in the spring. Five priority areas are to be identified in it.   

Media contact: 
Anja Naumann 
Telephone: +49 (0)421 5372-116
E-mail: presse@dfs.de 

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,600 employees as at 31 December 2020. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Before 2020, around 2,200 air traffic controllers guided up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, more than 3 million movements every year. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 16 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. R. Eisenschmidt GmbH is another DFS subsidiary which markets publications and products for General Aviation. Kaufbeuren ATM Training (KAT) is responsible for training military air traffic services personnel. DFS has been working on the integration of drones into air traffic since 2016 and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom.