In 1994 Steve Hickok began the initial flight tests that led to development and implementation of the first FAA-approved GPS Rnav helicopter instrument approaches.
Horizon Air on December 30 became the first scheduled-service passenger carrier to operate a flight using wide area augmentation system (Waas) technology. Equipped with dual Universal Avionics UNS-1Ew flight management systems, Horizon’s only Waas-capable 76-seat Bombardier Q400 carried out the trailblazing mission on a flight from Portland to Seattle.
Certain head-up guidance systems produced by Rockwell Collins can now be used to fly to lower Category I ILS approach minimums after the company last month obtained a special authorization from the FAA’s flight technology and procedures division.
The recent spate of accidents in helicopter offshore oil operations has thrown safety research programs–many of which have long been under way–into the spotlight. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is working on improving the safety of offshore helicopter operations through research into satellite-guided approaches–which would rely on Egnos, Europe’s Waas counterpart–and, in case of ditching, a side-floating concept.
Chicago Jet Group, located at Aurora Municipal Airport, has gained an STC for installing dual Universal Avionics UNS-1Fw and UNS-1Lw flight management systems in the Dassault Falcon 50. The STC includes approval for 3-D coupled Waas GPS (Rnav) and localizer performance with vertical guidance approaches (LPV).
The verdict has been in for a long time: a stabilized approach is an essential part of a safe landing.
The verdict has been in for a long time; stabilized approaches are an essential part of a safe landing.
The FAA recently issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO 09011) to provide guidance for Part 121 and 135 operators about the importance of using a constant angle of descent when conducting nonprecision instrument approaches. It issued the alert because a Part 121 operator conducting a nonprecision approach at night in IMC failed to control the descent rate and subsequently crashed short of the runway.
Bombardier last month said its Global business jets have gained European operational credit for approaches to a 100-foot decision height when pilots use infrared enhanced-vision systems (EVS) and head-up displays. The approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency follows similar endorsements from Transport Canada and the FAA.
Entities that build private approaches, departures and airways for helicopters have an obligation to maintain them, cautions Steve Hickok, who is now into his second decade of developing special Rnav/GPS helicopter IFR approaches for U.S. and foreign clients.