Air navigation services support switch to sustainable energy 

In a press conference yesterday, the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) reported on an agreement to improve the compatibility of the radio navigation infrastructure needed for safe aviation and wind energy. The set of measures adopted is based on findings from the research projects WERAN and WERANplus carried out by the National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB), in which DFS, the German air navigation service provider, also participated as a partner. 

The following statement was made by Friedrich-Wilhelm Menge, Chief Technology Officer at DFS: 

"DFS is already playing its role in the transition to sustainable energy, leading the way with its own initiatives. Since 2002, we have decommissioned 17 omnidirectional radio beacons (VORs), and another 20 or so will follow by 2032 as part of the switch to satellite navigation. Conventional VORs, which are more susceptible to interference from wind turbines, are being replaced with more robust Doppler VORs (DVORs).  

Since summer 2020, we have also added our approval to well over 90 percent of all applications for wind turbines in the protection zones of our DVORs. This approval rate is thanks to a calculation formula for potential interference from wind turbines that was developed together with the PTB in the WERANplus research project. 

We will also incorporate more of the current findings of the project and, where operationally possible, implement them so that we can facilitate a noticeable increase in the number of wind turbines as early as in summer 2022. In addition to a new calculation formula for conventional VORs, these results include the new higher bearing error tolerance as well as a higher tolerance of our monitoring systems. 

The PTB has also shown that a novel methodology for calibration flights to determine interference from wind turbines supports the reductions in the size of the protection zones around DVORs. We are aiming for a timely implementation." 

Media contact: 
Ute Otterbein 
Tel.: +49 (0)6103 707-4162  

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 2021. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,200 air traffic controllers guide more than three million flights through German airspace in peak years, up to 10,000 every day. The company operates control centres in Bremen, Karlsruhe, Langen and Munich as well as control towers at the 15 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. DFS is working on the integration of drones into air traffic and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom. Other subsidiaries include R. Eisenschmidt GmbH, which markets publications and products for general aviation, and Kaufbeuren ATM Training GmbH (KAT), which provides training for military air traffic services personnel. The joint venture FCS Flight Calibration Services GmbH offers flight inspection services.