LVNL donates 12 navigation beacons to air traffic control Zambia

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Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) has donated 12 navigation beacons that have become obsolete in the Netherlands due to the increasing use of satellite navigation, to Zambia Airports corporation limited (ZACL). With this donation, LVNL is helping to further increase flight safety in Zambian airspace and ensure that high-quality materials are reused.   

"The navigation beacons have served well for many years, have been excellently maintained and are far from reaching the end of their technical lifespan," said Dave Vrielink, team leader at the Communications, Navigation, Surveillance and Infrastructure Department and initiator of the donation. "I am extremely happy that these navigation beacons - thanks to the mediation of the AviAssist Foundation - are now going to have a second life in Zambia. That gives a good feeling." It contributes to the circular economy and reduces our footprint. The AviAssist Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the safety of air traffic in Africa.

In Zambia, this type of navigation beacon (non directional beacon) has been in use for some time. This means that technical personnel on site are familiar with the operation and maintenance of these beacons. In recent months, LVNL has decommissioned the beacons,  dismantled them and packed them for transport. The beacons recently arrived in Lusaka and are now being installed at ten locations around the country.

In the Netherlands, we have a robust nationwide network of different types of navigation beacons. The use of satellite navigation, where aircraft navigate to and from runways using a GPS signal from satellites, is now the norm here. This reduces the need for physical beacons on the ground, which saves in energy use and maintenance costs. Ground-based navigation beacons will continue to be used so that aircraft unable to navigate on satellite navigation can continue to navigate safely. Also, in the event of satellite navigation failure, these beacons serve as one of the backup systems.

The development of satellite navigation is being partly financed by the Connecting Europe Facility.