New air traffic gear to boost aircraft safety


Since the beginning of this month air traffic in the Seychelles airspace and domestic traffic travelling to Praslin has been using the new navigational equipment, the DVOR (DopplerVHF Omni-Directional Range Equipment) which replaced the 15-year-old one at Grand Fond on Praslin.

This navigational aid is a short-range radio navigation system enabling aircraft to determine their position and stay on course by receiving radio signals transmitted by a network of fixed ground radio beacons, with a receiver unit.

Air traffic controllers use it additionally to other equipment such as the Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) to separate aircraft.

This project, fully funded by the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) and contracted to Thales Air Systems, started in November last year. It took two months to be completed as some existing infrastructure had to be refurbished while others started from scratch.

Following that, the equipment had to be flight calibrated and commissioned and became operational on February 1, 2013.
It is to be noted that while this project was on-going, aircraft used alternative means of navigation as well as procedures based on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

The DVOR is used by overflying traffic which comes within its range as an en-route aid but also serves as a terminal approach aid for flights into Praslin.

“It was a well-planned but delicate project which required attention to details, but we had a dedicated team, and even if we had adverse weather conditions and other minor complications we managed to complete the project on time,” said Pitter Elizabeth, SCAA’s telecommunication manager.

There are currently two DVORs in Seychelles, the other one being on South East Island near the airport.