Action on Waas LPV Could Open Approval Floodgates

 - September 24, 2009, 11:54 AM

The FAA’s recent decision to permit Waas LPV upgrades of Universal Avionics FMS equipment under a basic field approval instead of an aircraft-specific STC could benefit thousands of Part 25 business jet operators, even if they don’t fly with Universal gear. The change, adopted after months of back-and-forth meetings between the FAA and the Tucson, Ariz. avionics maker, can shave what had been a months-long approval process down to just a few days. Seeking to capitalize on Universal’s successful groundwork, other avionics manufacturers now say they are pursuing similar approvals. “We have had preliminary discussions with the FAA about using field approvals for follow-on” Waas LPV approvals of NZ-2000 flight management systems, a Honeywell spokesman said. Rockwell Collins also said it is investigating a process for Waas LPV field approvals of its FMS units. Stevens Aviation of Greenville, S.C., performed the first field-approved Waas LPV upgrade of a Universal FMS on September 9 in a customer Learjet 31. Universal says more than 1,000 of its FMS units in service would be eligible for field approvals. The FAA so far has created more than 1,600 Rnav Waas LPV approach procedures, which have landing minimums similar to those of Category I ILS.