Mercy One helicopter emergency medical services at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, one of the first HEMS operators certified to fly Waas low-level IFR routes, including approaches to local hospitals, recently added a second Waas-capable Bell 429 to its fleet. These IFR routes keep helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from mixing in IFR airspace. Three of the hospital helipad approaches are Waas-based while another is an approach to a helipad in Stuart, Iowa, that is used as a rendezvous for helicopters and ground ambulances from surrounding counties.
Air traffic controllers are using advanced procedures to space aircraft closer together on takeoff and landing at major U.S. airports, making early progress toward a major goal of the NextGen ATC modernization effort: increasing airspace capacity.
Delta Air Lines has awarded Innovative Solutions & Support a $60 million contract to outfit its fleet of 182 MD-88s and MD-90s as well as several flight simulators with standardized glass cockpits.
The road to future communications, navigation and surveillance operations will not include any major technology upheavals in user requirements before 2020, according to projected roadmaps presented at ICAO’s Air Navigation Conference in Montreal recently. In fact, new technologies mentioned for each of the three regimes were usually described in terms of their potential future benefits, with no suggestion of their actual readiness for implementation.
The new Rnav SIDs for Chicago O’ Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW) airports scheduled for release last week were declared “technically unusable” until further notice after a potential problem was identified at the last minute.
Mid-Canada Mod Center of Toronto recently installed a Universal Avionics FMS upgrade in Advanced Aerospace Solutions’s Piaggio Avanti human-factors research platform. The new FMS allows AdvAero test pilots to fly LPV Rnav global navigation satellite system approaches. Other FMS features include dedicated direct-to function, FMS heading function, PVOR tracking, Vnav and user-defined holding patterns. The installation also added an LP/LPV monitor, which “provides monitoring and positioning information for Rnav (GNSS) approaches with LPV minimums,” according to Universal Avionics.
At ICAO’s General Assembly of world aviation nations in 2010, individual member states were requested to commit to national performance based navigation (PBN) implementation plans covering their en route and terminal airspace, plus approach procedures with vertical guidance (LPV/APV) for all their instrument runway ends–as primary or back-up for precision approaches–by 2016, with 70 percent completion targeted by 2014.
The Chicago Area Business Aviation Association’s ATC Executive Committee said last week that its regular sessions with the FAA’s local airspace and air traffic division personnel are again ready to bear fruit. A CABAA spokesman said the pieces are in place to release a number of new RNAV departures from Chicago-area satellite airports specifically designed for general and business aviation aircraft some time next year.
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.
Effective September 17, the FAA will implement new phraseology for aircraft departing via an Rnav SID at airports using simultaneous parallel-runway departures. Towers will now include the first SID waypoint in the takeoff clearance. For example, “Falcon 2GP, Rnav to (fix/waypoint), Runway 32 Left, cleared for takeoff.” The new procedure was designed to ensure crews have the correct procedure loaded in the aircraft’s FMS.