Airplane landing during winter storm

Why are active and passive Lufft Runway sensors always coupled at airports?

46 out of 50 (92%) landing approach accidents occur due to slippery runways (source: The Boeing Company). To prevent weather-related landing accidents, airports are equipped with Aviation Weather Observation System (AWOS) and Ice Detection Systems (IDS).

How to keep runway surfaces ice-free?

At airports, special chemical de-icing agents such as formic acid with a very low freezing point are used for winter services instead of the common road salt (sodium chloride, NaCl for short). Depending on the concentration, they lower the freezing point down to -60ยฐC. The IRS31Pro passive pavement sensor, however, is specialized in NaCl and cannot detect freezing point temperatures for alternative de-icing agents. In addition, the IRS31Pro calculates the road condition using the freezing point. This value would also be omitted at airports.

This is where the active ARS31 pavement sensor comes in. It determines freezing point temperatures independently of the de-icing chemical through active cooling and heating. And it is very easy to couple with the IRS31Pro.

Together, the sensors deliver the measured data (road surface temperature, water film height, freezing point temperatures, ice percentage, and friction) as open Lufft UMB protocol. In the IRS31Pro software configuration, there is a simple option to activate the ARS31Pro coupling. The ARS31 transfers the freezing point temperature value to the IRS31Pro with which it calculates the concentration of the de-icing agent. All following calculations are based on the measured value of the ARS31.

In the configuration it is important that the ARS31 surface sensor is queried first in order to reduce the response time. This ensures, that the IRS31Pro always uses the latest freezing point temperature value. If more than one ARS31 belongs to the UMB measurement network, it’s recommended to set a ARS-UMB ID via the Config Tool .NET (see picture 1).

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