HAI Convention News

Hickok devises SNI approaches into NYC area

 - March 19, 2007, 8:17 AM

Stephen Hickok of Hickok & Associates, Orange Beach, Ala., announced on Thursday that the FAA performed a successful flight inspection on February 23 of the company’s design for the first helicopter simultaneous noninterfering (SNI) instrument approach in a complex airspace system.

Hickok designed five procedures for the greater New York City area under an initiative sponsored by both the federal government and industry that will allow helicopter IFR procedures into Manhattan heliports while fixed-wing and airline traffic continue to fly uninterrupted to La Guardia (LGA), John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and Newark Liberty International (EWR) airports.

The lead carrier on the new approaches will be Cablevision (CSC Transport) of Bethpage, N.Y., which operates its S-76 fleet several times each day into Manhattan.
Hickok is discussing these procedures at Heli-Expo Booth No. 2524.

The FAA is working on a process to allow operators other than Cablevision to gain approval. It planned to brief the HAI flight operations committee here at Heli-Expo. The complex development required coordination with the FAA performance-based aviation rulemaking committee  and was sponsored by the FAA Rnav/RNP group. The FAA AFS-400 organization was also involved for oversight and approval authority, and the FAA AVN group for a quality review and flight inspection of the approach packages. In addition, the FAA Eastern Region all-weather office and N.Y. Tracon took part.

“New York City was a tough challenge,” summarized Steve Hickok. “Not only is it one of the most obstacle-rich environments in the country, it also has one of the most complex airspace systems.”

Industry white papers and concept studies suggest that simultaneous noninterfering approaches can de-conflict mixed traffic and potentially add to the efficiency of both fixed-wing and rotorcraft operations. They can do this by eliminating delays for helicopter operators waiting to be sequenced into a fixed-wing air traffic control pattern and avoiding speed reductions necessitated for fixed-wing aircraft operating behind rotorcraft.

Hickok said a host of parties will benefit from the first five new SNI procedures in the complex space, beginning with helicopter operators in the Northeast who can now fly with more frequency in all weather. He also said air traffic control will gain increased capacity and airlines will enjoy a reduction in delays and costs previously experienced when sharing the pattern with sequenced helicopters. In addition, first responders such as Homeland Defense and law enforcement can now leverage all-weather capabilities into Manhattan to plan an emergency response.

Hickok & Associates recently completed development and won FAA approval of 19 IFR approaches, including procedures for CareFlite of Grand Prairie, Texas, and United Technologies of Farmington, Conn.

Hickok also developed two WAAS precision approach procedures for NASA at Langley, Va., as well as flight trials and demonstrations related to NASA’s small aircraft transportation system in Danville, Va. The company is conducting flight testing in helicopter visual segment evaluation for the FAA’s technical center.

Hickok has completed instrument approach procedures and CFR Part 77 airspace studies in Gulf Shores, Ala.