Horizon Air has received FAA approval to fly instrument approaches to required navigation performance (RNP) 0.1 standards in its Bombardier Q400s equipped with Universal Avionics UNS-1Ew flight management systems. The UNS-1Ew Waas/SBAS FMS enables Horizon pilots to fly stable 3-D flight paths to touchdown at airports in the Northwest U.S. that have published RNP approaches, but now to lower RNP 0.1 minimums. Compared to traditional but non-RNP approaches, the RNP approaches have been shown to save time and fuel.
Air traffic control
No one who flies has ever questioned the safety benefits of a stabilized final approach, whether it’s in VFR or IFR weather. Most airline and business aviation operators define a stabilized approach as one in which the aircraft is properly configured–on airspeed and on altitude–no closer to the ground on final than 500 feet. Anything else essentially demands a missed approach–a go-around in pilot vernacular–or at least it should.
The FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization program faces long-term technical risks and still uncertain acceptance by airspace users. But after a decade in development, NextGen could be stalled by a nearer-term threat: substantially reduced funding from Congress. In June, the House appropriations committee released transportation funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2014 that would reduce the FAA’s capital funding account, which supports NextGen programs, to its lowest level since 2000.
The FAA claims the NextGen Air Transportation System initiative is progressing, according to its recently issued NextGen Implementation Plan report, which projects a reduction in delays of 41 percent by the end of the mid-term implementation period in 2020.
Several decades ago there was an advertisement with three elderly ladies in a fast-food joint. They look at a burger and ask, “Where’s the beef?” One panelist at a NextGen symposium hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) International and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) in late June suggested that selling NextGen to the end users may present a similar perception problem. “Where is the hype?” he asked. “I just don’t see the hype.”
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released its report last week on the near collision between a Cessna Citation X and a Gulfstream V in NavCanada-controlled airspace on March 8 last year. Both aircraft, level at 43,000 feet and cleared on opposite-direction courses along J16, passed within one mile laterally and just under 1,000 feet vertically of each other near London, Ontario.
Standard separation required 2,000 feet vertically and five miles laterally.
Jeppesen’s newest iPad app, Mobile FliteDeck VFR, is now available for U.S. pilots flying in the continental U.S. The VFR version of Mobile FliteDeck is designed both for flight planning and in-flight navigation, with data-driven navigation information and access to Notams and text and graphical weather data.
Ten years into the NextGen ATC modernization effort, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration faces ongoing cost, schedule and technical risks in achieving its objectives of managing increasing air traffic more efficiently, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT) inspector general’s office.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration expects to formulate a standard by 2016 that will permit unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to interoperate with manned aircraft using an “electronic means” to see and avoid potential collisions, according to the executive leading the FAA’s effort to introduce UAS into the airspace system.
The FAA recorded 1,150 runway incursions in the 12-month period ending September 30 last year across the U.S., and 18 of them were classified as “A” and “B,” the most serious of the four incursion categories. Some 772 of those incursions were pilot-induced.