New Takeoff, Landing Procedures at Charleston

JB Charleston, S.C., implemented new approach and descent procedures effective Thursday that are intended to reduce noise, fuel costs, and emissions. Lt. Col. Stan Davis, a Reservist with the 317th Airlift Squadron at Charleston, tested “optimized descents in civilian aircraft” data collected by professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology over a two-year period flying C-17 simulation flights. The result was the Optimized Profile Descent—a joint effort by the Defense Department and the Federal Aviation Administration, first broached during a July 2008 conference. “Historically, pilots have been instructed to approach the airfield using a stair-step approach while communicating with several air traffic control centers,” Davis said in a release. “This new procedure allows pilots to fly descent profiles using idle thrust based on current conditions, reducing the amount of fuel consumed.” The program established four corridors of airspace around Charleston providing pilots “the flexibility to descend at any gross weight on a predetermined track guided by waypoints,” according to the release.