Cat III Runway Visual Range System at Newcastle Airport

Posted on 8th April 2015 in News

Newcastle International Airport recently became the first airport in the UK to achieve Category III status for the use of forward scatter meter runway visual range equipment. This significant achievement was made by NATS and AGI Ltd using Biral VPF730 forward scatter sensors.

The ability of a runway to operate in reduced visibility conditions is determined by the installed landing equipment and is ranked from Category I to III, with Category III representing the lowest visibility condition.

Traditionally runway visual range installations have used transmissometers to determine visibility along the runway. These large devices are costly to purchase, install and maintain which can be a limiting factor when considering upgrading to Category III operation. Forward scatter meters, or FSMs as they are often called, have been demonstrated to have comparable visibility measurement performance to transmissometers but are much smaller, have less onerous maintenance requirements and are considerably less expensive.

Forward scatter meters have other advantages including the ability to measure visibility from 10m to 75km and the reporting of present weather conditions. These features allow forward scatter meters to supply data both for runway visual range (RVR) assessment, METAR reports and general meteorological forecasts.

Biral offers a comprehensive range of forward scatter sensors all of which meet the essential requirements for use in Category III runway visual range assessment systems. Our sensors are also used in road transport, offshore and wind energy applications as well as meteorological monitoring networks and research worldwide.

To find out more about our sensors visit or telephone our sales team on +44 (0)1275 847787.

If you would like to know more about the Newcastle Airport installation visit the NATS Press Release