Flight crews headed for Chicago Midway Airport (MDW) should pay special attention to the new Rnav (GPS) Z Runway 22L approach published February 6. The new procedure could increase the potential for conflict with smaller general aviation aircraft traveling along Lake Michigan’s western shoreline. The new RNP/GPS procedure will bring traffic across Chicago’s lakeshore just south of the downtown buildings for a straight-in to 22L.
The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) has partnered with the NextGen GA Fund to provide loans to general aviation aircraft owners and operators to help finance installation of NextGen equipment. The fund is managed by Nexa General Partnership, and the agreement will allow AEA member companies to offer access to loans when selling NextGen installations to customers.
Aspen Avionics signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NextGen GA Fund, a public-private partnership that will provide up to $1.3 billion in financing over the next 10 years for NextGen avionics upgrades in general aviation (GA) aircraft. The MoU provides the framework for Aspen and the fund to work together to promote the rollout of NextGen to the GA community.
Atlas Air’s internal investigation into how its crew landed a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter at the wrong airport last November has uncovered important factors explaining how the freighter, headed to Wichita’s McConnell Air Force Base, mistakenly landed at the smaller Jabara Airport, nine miles to the northeast of the air base.
The Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) last week publicly released the final report that its Flight Deck Automation (FDA) working group delivered to the FAA in September. The FDA group was established by PARC, which provides industry-led guidance for the FAA, to address the safety and efficiency of modern flight-deck systems for flight-path management, including energy-state management, for both current and future operational use.
Because air traffic controllers are increasingly making traffic separation decisions based upon an aircraft’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS) capability–or lack thereof–the FAA has begun updating aircraft equipment suffixes for traffic operating in U.S. domestic airspace. For instance, a GNSS-equipped aircraft may now fly a random route without the need for ATC radar monitoring, where previously radar was always required.
It is becoming more and more likely that in coming histories of aviation, the key major milestones will include the introduction of jet aircraft, the widespread adoption of satellite positioning and the arrival of required navigation performance (RNP). Jets and satnav are now irreplaceable elements that we take for granted.
Any of the 6,000 helicopters that annually use the helipad at Eurocopter’s facility in Donauwörth, Germany, will now find arrivals easier in poor weather with the recent certification of a GPS localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approach to the pad, one of the few in Europe certified for all-weather operations.
In 2008 Donauwörth became the first European helipad to introduce satellite-based Rnav (area navigation) specifically for use by rotorcraft.
American Airlines has spent some $400 million in the past few years to retrofit its existing fleet for the planned NextGen flight environment in the U.S. But at this stage it has not seen the operational benefits it had hoped for, according to the airline’s director of airspace modernization and advanced technologies.
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.
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