FAA Changes Alternate Airport GPS Policy

 - April 9, 2013, 2:33 PM

A change in FAA policy that allows the use of GPS approaches at alternate airports should be welcome news for pilots. “Operators are now permitted to file a flight plan for a GPS approach at either the destination or an alternate, but not both,” according to NBAA. The new policy took effect on April 4. Previously pilots could fly GPS approaches only at the destination airport.

“Allowing operators to plan for GPS approaches at alternate airports provides more flexibility and will help alleviate delays,” according to NBAA, which notes that the change is especially important in the context of looming sequestration cuts.

The policy change, according to the FAA, is based “on research that demonstrated a satisfactorily low probability of a missed approach or diversion and an even more remote probability concerning loss of navigation.” To take advantage of the new policy, aircraft must have GPS-based nav systems with fault detection and exclusion capability; pilots must perform a Raim prediction for the airport with the GPS approach and have the required knowledge and training; and the conventional approach at either the destination or alternate must be flyable without GPS.