Fans Is Coming, and So Is Yet Another LOA

 - April 12, 2012, 4:00 PM

The upcoming mandate for the Future Air Navigation System (Fans) comes with a requirement that is sure to frustrate business aircraft pilots planning to fly North Atlantic tracks to and from Europe: a letter of authorization (LOA) to participate.

Not only will operators need to install datalink systems, but Part 91 operators will also need to apply to the FAA for an LOA covering pilot training, a maintenance program and operational procedures. This is similar to the LOA requirement for RVSM and raises the specter of yet more delays as overburdened FAA inspectors add another job to their pile of tasks.

Next February, the two center North Atlantic tracks between FL360 and FL390 become Fans-only. Fans will not apply to all North Atlantic airspace in 2015, but could be required in almost all MNPS airspace, not just the North Atlantic Track. Those without Fans capability will have to fly the northern “Blue Spruce” routes or alternate altitudes, according to Carey Miller, manager of business development for Universal Avionics.

That company’s UniLink UL-80X-series communications management unit recently received FAA TSO approval, part of a soon-to-be-STC’d Falcon 50 Fans package by Chicago Jet. The STC includes ICG’s ICS-220A Iridium satcom. Chicago Jet is also developing a Falcon 900 Fans package and will address other aircraft once that is certified. Chicago Jet will help customers obtain Fans LOAs as part of an installation package. “We want to deliver a complete package to make it turnkey simple,” said Chicago jet president Mike Mitera.