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.
A surge in pilots requesting RVSM flight levels or operating in RVSM airspace (FL290 to FL410) without the required authorization prompted the FAA to issue Information for Operators (InFO) 12001, which emphasizes flight-planning responsibilities when conducting these operations. “In the first 15 days of November, 35 IFR operations were filed incorrectly,” the FAA said in the document.
Innovative Solutions & Support continues its aggressive certification schedule of reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) equipment for a wide range of business and regional jet aircraft.
With the anticipated publication this month of an NPRM in the Federal Register, the FAA is laying the groundwork for implementation of domestic reduced vertical separation minimums (DRVSM) in U.S. airspace between FL 290 and FL 410 in December 2004.
The FAA is considering a Boeing proposal that eventually could replace 18 different kinds of instrument approaches with a single, ILS-like procedure. Based on required navigation performance (RNP) and area navigation concepts, the new RNP Rnav approaches would use the aircraft FMS to create procedures that eliminate stepped or non-precision approach paths.
A Lufthansa Boeing 737 recently became the first aircraft to use Mode S capability to transmit its radar identification (flight ID), without the use of secondary surveillance radar (SSR) code. Rod Marten, who oversees mode-S operations at Eurocontrol, said that air traffic controllers typically assign a four-digit SSR code to a target on the radar screen then manually correlate the aircraft information with the electronic flight plan data.
November 21 marks the start of reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) in China’s airspace from FL291 to FL411. That differs from RVSM in much of the rest of the world, where the airspace stretches from FL290 to FL410. China selected the odd flight levels because its military, which controls the country’s airspace, uses metric flight levels.
Effective February 20, the /F suffix for aircraft equipped with single FMSs has been revised to account for advanced Rnav equipment.
AOPA wrote a letter to the FAA last week saying that if a new policy outlined in Advisory Circular (AC) 90-100A is allowed to remain as it is currently written, more than 25,000 GPS users will not be able to use the unit as a substitute for DME or Rnav procedures.
Effective September 1, operators will be required to use a new set of flight plan aircraft equipment suffixes to indicate advanced navigation capabilities. According to an FAA notice published last week, either J, K, L or a newly defined Q is to be used to specify advanced RNAV and RVSM capabilities. Pilots should continue to use a W to indicate RVSM capability only.
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