As of September 25, the number of GPS-based wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) instrument approach procedures in the U.S. surpassed the number of ILS approaches. “This is clearly a turning point for aviation and the way pilots navigate,” the FAA said in a statement announcing the milestone.
WAAS LPV approaches with vertical guidance are now located at 833 airports, and the total number of WAAS procedures now numbers 1,333. The FAA’s goal is to install 500 new WAAS approaches per year on all runways that qualify for WAAS procedures.
While the implementation of WAAS procedures has proceeded rapidly since WAAS was commissioned in 2003, the business jet market has been slow to equip the fleet to make use of the new approaches. Jets such as the Cessna Citation Mustang (and soon-to-be-certified Embraer Phenom 100) with Garmin’s G1000-based avionics suite can fly WAAS approaches, as can airplanes equipped with Universal Avionics’ WAAS-capable “w” FMSs. But most of the bizav fleet will have to wait for WAAS-capable FMSs before they can use this growing capability.