GE Publishes Second Public RNP Procedure In U.S., Plans Third

 - May 16, 2011, 7:37 AM
RNP-capable aircraft can fly approaches within a tight, linear containment area in rugged terrain and low-visibility conditions, reducing track miles.

GE Aviation published its second “public-use” required navigation performance (RNP) approach procedure in the U.S., now available for operations into Deadhorse Airport, Alaska. The company is developing a third public-use RNP procedure at Dallas Love Field as part of an air traffic management trial there.

All properly equipped aircraft can fly public-use RNP approaches published in the Standard Airway Manual, as opposed to “tailored” procedures designed for and available only to sponsoring operators. The FAA has authorized only GE Aviation and Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen among all third-party companies in the U.S. to design public-use RNP procedures.

The community of Deadhorse serves as a staging point for Prudhoe Bay and North Slope oil operations. Alaska Airlines and Era Aviation operate at Deadhorse Prudhoe Bay Airport, which accepts about 190 arrivals per week, including air taxi and general aviation operations.

Compared with existing area navigation (Rnav) arrival procedures, GE Aviation said, the newly available RNP procedures will save qualified operators up to four track miles. The RNP procedures will enable aircraft to land during low-visibility weather conditions that previously would have prevented them from landing, on average, 26 days a year. Participating aircraft must be dual equipped with flight management systems, flight director, multimode receiver or GPS receiver and capable displays.

GE Aviation Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) Services, formerly Naverus, designed its first public-use RNP approach at Bradley International Airport outside Hartford, Conn., first used by an American Airlines flight from Dallas on Aug. 26, 2010. Jeppesen has designed a public RNP procedure to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Ga., validated with help from NetJets. The company is working with the FAA to develop procedures in Seattle and Denver. 

GE Aviation now participates in a “mixed equipment” trial, funded under the FAA’s Systems Engineering 2020 program, which will produce another public-use RNP procedure at Dallas Love Field. The trial incorporates use of the Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) decision support tool by air traffic controllers to sequence aircraft in terminal airspace. GE plans to take part in a live trial of the new RNP and airspace procedures late this year or early next, said Steve Fulton, GE Aviation technical fellow.

Fulton helped pioneer RNP as an Alaska Airlines technical pilot in the early 1990s and later co-founded Kent, Wash.-based Naverus in 2003. GE Aviation acquired Naverus in November 2009.