The FAA has released a road map for performance-based navigation that will enable pilots to use Rnav and RNP procedures in all phases of flight in the National Airspace System by 2020, leaving only a minimal network of ground-based navaids in place. In the near term (2003 to 2006), the first set of public Rnav and RNP guidelines will be implemented as the FAA continues to work on more widespread operations.
Required Navigation Performance
Two recent ATC conferences underscore the various points of view about the most efficient ways to implement the next generation of air transportation, either gradually, taking advantage of today’s technology, or all at once in 2025.
According to NBAA, the implementation date for the FAA’s En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program has been postponed from this Thursday, June 5, until June 29 to prevent conflict with the start of a new charting cycle and the transition to the West Atlantic Route System (WATRS).
Although WAAS LPV (lateral precision with vertical guidance) approaches have been popping up at airports around the U.S. at an impressive rate, only a handful of business jets are approved to fly the procedures. That’s because most flight management systems don’t yet support the new type of approach and some airplanes might not be approved to do so without costly upgrades.
Honeywell’s corporate flight department recently applied for FAA authorization to perform Required Navigation Performance Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization Required (RNP SAAAR) operations on the company’s PlaneView-equipped Gulfstream G450 and G550.
Boeing has installed the following eight new technologies in its 737-900 Technology Demonstrator:
For a glimpse into aviation’s future one need look no farther than Seattle Boeing Field, the home of a specially modified Boeing 737-900 outfitted with an array of experimental avionics and flight controls. For much of the spring Boeing has been inviting select groups of airline representatives aboard its technology demonstrator for flights to Moses Lake Airfield in Central Washington to showcase the cutting-edge systems.
Technology Partnership Canada (TPC), a government-run supplier of high-tech research grants to Canadian companies, has awarded Thales Avionics Canada $9.9 million to develop fly-by-wire flight controls, enhanced vision systems (EVS) and required navigation performance (RNP)-based cockpit equipment for business jets and regional airliners.
At press time, the FAA’s GPS local-area augmentation system (LAAS) appeared to be hanging in the balance while agency officials were attempting to determine whether there really was a firm industry need for the system.
In one of her first speeches as FAA Administrator, Marion Blakey promised that her five-year term will be driven by data and hard numbers, be consistent across all FAA regions and offices and emphasize the agency’s role in international aviation.