The OPTIMAL (Optimised Procedures and Techniques for Improvement of Approach and Landing) project is an air/ground co-operative project.


The aim of the OPTIMAL project is to:
  • define new/enhanced operational procedures for approach and landing for aircraft and rotorcraft, using advanced navigation functions and enhanced ATM, in order to increase capacity, efficiency, and safety, and decrease noise exposure;
  • assess, in full-scale/real-size, the near-term approach and landing procedures and functions (airborne and on ground); and
  • study and experiment longer term functions (airborne and on ground).
The following procedures will be considered for aircraft:
  • (Advanced) continuous descent approach;
  • Localiser performance approach with vertical guidance (LPV) based on SBAS (Satellite-Based Augmentation System) or ABAS (Airborne-Based Augmentation System);
  • GBAS (Ground-Based Augmentation System) CAT-I procedures;
  • Required navigation precision (RNP)-area navigation (RNAV) straight-in, curved, and segmented procedures;
  • Microwave landing system (MLS) straight-in procedures; and
  • Procedures using an enhanced vision system (EVS).
Both steep/curved/segmented IFR approaches and SNI (simultaneous non-interfering) IFR approaches, based on GBAS and SBAS, will be considered for rotorcraft.

Generic procedures will be developed but particular airports will, as well, be considered. Specific detailed procedures will be developed for Malaga, San Sebastian, Toulouse, Bremen, Frankfurt, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Milan Malpensa. Analytical studies, fast-time and real-time simulations, and flight tests, will be performed.


The OPTIMAL project is partly funded by the European Commission in the 6th European Framework Program. The OPTIMAL consortium is composed of -

8 airborne industrials:
  • Airbus France (who is also the co-ordinator of the project)
  • Eurocopter France
  • Eurocopter Germany
  • Thales Avionics
  • Agusta
  • Smiths Aerospace
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Airbus CE
1 ground industrial:
  • Thales Air Systems
7 research/education centres:
  • DLR
  • NLR
  • University of Liverpool
7 ATS (air traffic services) providers/consultants:
  • Isdefe
  • AENA
  • ENAV
  • LVNL
  • GMV
  • DFS
and 1 SME (subject matter expert):
  • Davidson Ltd
The OPTIMAL project started in February, 2004, and finished in October, 2008.


EEC participation

The EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre (EEC) will provide:
  • input from other projects related to new advanced procedures;
  • expertise for the definition and the development of the operational concepts;
  • a safety study and simulation; and
  • expertise for the aircraft and rotorcraft procedures definition.
The EEC will also elaborate the recommendations of the project.

Expected results

Several kinds of results are expected from the project, some of which will be made public, while others will remain restricted.

It is expected that the main results that will be made public are:
  • a consolidated/revised operational concept for Europe;
  • guidelines and recommendations as to how to build advanced approach procedures to increase capacity, safety, and efficiency, and to decrease environmental impact;
  • a set of generic procedures and their associated operational requirements (for the airborne domain and ground tools);
  • a set of detailed approach procedures for the particular airports considered in the project; and
  • a significant contribution to the normalisation and standardisation of procedures, as well as of airborne and ground systems, consolidated by the assessments performed by the project.
The results that will be restricted will be:
  • an Airbus enhanced airborne architecture;
  • a generic system architecture for future rotorcraft; and
  • advanced validated ATC tools and ground equipment.

For More Information

If you would like more information, contact:
Frédérique Ayache
or have a look at the OPTIMAL web site:
  HTML http://www.optimal.isdefe.es
Last validation: 24/11/2008