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Operating cost (to the airport) of VOR DME NDB or ILS, and LPV?

This is often given as the reason for shutting them down (or wanting to).

Can anyone offer any real figures?

Folklore (hearsay) suggests a VOR/DME costs around 100k/year. That includes a service contract with a 3rd party company, maintaining an access road to it where applicable, and reportedly running some sort of telephone data link for periodically recalibrating it.

Folklore (hearsay) suggests an NDB or a DME located at an airport costs around 10k/year and most of that is the service contract.

ILS I have no idea but probably at least twice that of a DME, plus you have the expensive calibration flights which must cost at least 10k/year.

On top of that, in the UK, there is the astonishingly stupid frequency tax, but I can’t find any reference as to what has happened to it. It was thought to have died in 2008 but it has come back. The original proposal was 300k/year for a VOR, for example.

In Europe you also have the approach lighting requirement but that is the same (in Europe) for an LPV approach as for an ILS so there is no saving there unless you want to really cripple the airport’s capability.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The airfield where I am a club member had a perfectly serviceable NDB which the CAA came to test. The man that came said it had to be shut down because as it was an old “valve” driven variety he did not have the equipment to carry out certain tests.
The mind boggles but despite the beacon operating within the designated parameters, so I am informed, it was shut down. So perhaps the costs may be artificial in some circumstances. And yes the idiot “tax” also had a bearing (pardon the pun) on the shut down decision.

UK, United Kingdom

Is there a list of the tax rates somewhere? All I can find are some old proposals. I do recall 8.33 frequencies being a lot cheaper than 25k frequencies.

The man that came said it had to be shut down because as it was an old “valve” driven variety he did not have the equipment to carry out certain tests.

Presumably they considered taking legal action?

Does the airfield have unpublished / private instrument procedures? If not then the NDB is of no value to the airfield. If yes, they will lose IFR AOC flight business. However AOC (charter) flights need a licensed airfield anyway AFAIK

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

What’s the value of an NDB or VOR DME approach over an RNAV approach? The latter should be much cheaper. I’d get rid of my beacon ASAP.

A UK airport needs to pay for the approach survey and design. Of the order of 30k, reportedly.

Also most AOC operators – especially of the type flying to smaller airfields – are not qualified for GPS approaches.

Will the German DFS design an RNAV approach for you free of charge?

Last Edited by Peter at 13 Feb 14:38
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Here at my airport, the ILS maintenance contract was much less, probably on the order of $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Spare parts were provided by the FAA and were kept with the system. A typical outage would last 2 to 3 days. The service outfit had to travel about 150 miles to get to our location and probably based their pricing on 4 outages per year. The real cost of the system is the installation of the Approach lights and runway – taxiway lights. For our airport it was a $1,500,000 project, 90% paid by federal funds with the remaining portion paid by the local government. Approach lights are not a requirement for LPV procedures in the US, but to get the lowest minimums they are, although this mainly affects the visibility. There are other criteria, runway length, parallel taxiway, and runway markings. An example of a nearby airport with a single runway, non precision markings, no approach lights, has an LPV to runway 6 with a DH of 200 feet and 3/4 mile visibility. Runway 24 has an LPV and the DH is 250 feet and visibility of 1 mile. The big expense for the airport was the survey which I estimate cost $100,000 of which the 90/10 cost split applies.

KUZA

Also most AOC operators – especially of the type flying to smaller airfields – are not qualified for GPS approaches.

I don’t know if that is funny or sad. Pretty sure such restrictions do not exist here, how else would you land when the ILS/VOR is inop?

Will the German DFS design an RNAV approach for you free of charge?

I know the airfields have to pay some money for the procedure, it might only be the yearly calibration flight or more.

how else would you land when the ILS/VOR is inop?

You can’t, if the conditions are sub VFR. You have to divert.

That’s how IFR works

That is one reason why one checks airport Notams, even for IFR.

I don’t know if that is funny or sad

Probably a consequence of most of the smaller operators being run on a minimum budget. It’s like me not wanting to spend 20k on a GTN750 – to fly to the (how many?) airports which have LPV but don’t have ILS.

Last Edited by Peter at 13 Feb 15:01
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

There was a low-power NDB at LKHK Hradec Kralove. Now it is no longer on the charts but still active and used by the local flight school for IR training. As I am told, the operating costs in its current state are close to zero, but would be a lot higher if it were to be published – solely because of calibration flights.

LKBU near Prague, Czech Republic

The last minor airfield to “go IFR” with a GPS approach in Germany was Hassfurt (EDQT), last September. I don’t remember if they published the total costs associated with that, but I assume that – among approach design, surveys, tree cutting, test flying, runway works, runway lights, legal and consulting fees, DFS fees and other stuff – the total number would be unbelieveable to most people here.

As aconsequence, IFR will simply never come to airfields which don’t have a certain number of movements or a certain attractivity for either AOC or business flights (in the example above, the cities of Schweinfurt and Bamberg, both decent economical centres, are both 20 kilometres away and didn’t have an “own” IFR airport so far).

Last Edited by boscomantico at 16 Feb 07:37
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany
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