Steve Hickok is understandably proud of the work his company has done to bring safe and reliable GPS-enabled lateral navigation (LNAV) and localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches to helicopter operators across the U.S. In fact, every helicopter Waas LPV approach approved since 2008 has been developed by Hickok & Associates (Booth No. N6204.)
The second greatest shock to pilot Jim Huddleston and his co-captain after their Learjet 45 struck some trees during a night approach at Saratoga Springs (5B2) in July 2008 was that an almost obscure gray arrow symbol on the GPS Runway 5 approach plate apparently did not live up to expectations.
The AgustaWestland GrandNew light twin has been certified to conduct Rnav (area navigation) satellite-based approaches with vertical guidance to LPV (lateral precision with vertical guidance) minimums. It thus can perform approaches at speeds as low as 45 knots and glidepath angles as high as 9 degrees, with ILS-equivalent minimums–without ILS infrastructure. Europe has begun implementing LPV approaches, which are already common in the U.S.
With demonstrated benefits of reducing track miles, mitigating noise and lowering fuel burn and emissions, performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures are being adopted on a worldwide basis. But 15 years after Alaska Airlines flew the first procedures, widespread implementation of PBN is uneven and its benefits largely unrealized.
The FAA issued Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) CE-11-16 to highlight an issue identified by Garmin that could affect aircraft flying certain instrument approaches.
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.
Sandel Avionics is adding new WAAS approach annunciations to its 4-ATI electronic primary navigation display, the SN4500, with a software update available next month. The Vista, Calif. manufacturer of plug-and-play EFIS replacements for legacy electromechanical attitude-director and horizontal situation indicators said the SN4500 will then annunciate the type of WAAS approach that is armed.
The FAA flipped the switch on its wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) at 12:01 a.m. on July 10, potentially opening up thousands of runways at 5,400 public-use airports for near-precision approaches in both lateral and vertical guidance modes.
The FAA plans to start introducing instrument approaches using its Wide Area Augmentation System on July 10, bringing much higher levels of accuracy, signal availability and approach performance to GPS-based satnav. WAAS avionics now entering the market herald the end of today’s “dive and drive” nonprecision approaches, replacing them with two new procedures.
Before GPS, approach classifications were cut and dried–they were either precision (ILS) or nonprecision approaches. But as pilots move into the future, they will need, before considering an approach into an “obstacle-rich environment,” to first navigate through an acronym-rich environment of new terminology to decide how to reach the threshold.
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