Have you ever wondered what the correct angle of descent is for a commercial airliner? Well, it's three degrees. The pilot is able to maintain that angle precisely by observing an array of four lights positioned along the left side of the runway.
Known as a Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), this light array enables the pilot to accurately gauge his approach angle at just a glance. If two of the lights appear white and two appear red, he knows that he is on the correct glide slope. If there are more red lights than white, the airplane's approach is too shallow, and if there are more white lights than red, its approach is too steep. Airports are introducing more and more technologies like this to help ensure flight safety.
In 2010, Tokyo International (Haneda) Airport opened its Runway-D, which employs approximately 50 special dehumidifier units. The units are installed in the runway and taxiway to prevent corrosion of the steel jacket platforms over which part of the runway was constructed. The system is designed to resist corrosion for more than 100 years. Measures are also underway to prevent bird strike, which can cause serious problems for aircraft, including crashes. The risk of bird strike has been increasing, and last year there were about 1,700 incidents nationwide in Japan. Some airports are now using radar systems to constantly track the position of birds, and speakers that emit the same distress calls the birds make when caught by their natural predators.
Improvements are also being made to ensure safe take offs and landings in variable weather conditions. Through efforts like these, airports are introducing new technologies on a daily basis, providing increased safety and comfort to travelers around the world.
Buoyed by rich subterranean resources and a prosperous livestock industry, Mongolia's economy continues to grow. In May 2013, MC and its partner Chiyoda Corporation reached an agreement to construct Mongolia's New Ulaanbaatar International Airport. The airport will be located on the plains approximately 50 kilometers southwest of Ulaanbaatar, the nation's capital city. This is a region where temperatures can plummet to as low as minus 40 degrees in the winter. The plan is to construct a number of airport facilities, including a terminal capable of servicing two million passengers per year and a runway that can accommodate large-model aircraft. Drawing from its experience developing similar airport projects in Kenya, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan, MC is keen to leverage Japanese technologies and contribute to economic growth in Mongolia.
Article appeared in Asahi Shimbun's "GLOBE" feature of July 21, 2013