Is ILS, aviation’s trusted friend for the past half century, now seeing its last days? Probably not. Some observers believe it has many years of life ahead of it, yet newer technologies are slowly entering the scene, in such diverse settings as Norway’s fjords, Heathrow’s jam-packed runways, the icy wastes of Antarctica and at several major U.S. hubs.
Instrument landing system
CESSNA CARAVAN 208B, ROCKFORD, ILL., DEC. 17, 2002–At 10:51 p.m., Caravan N277PM crashed while on the ILS approach to Runway 7 at the Greater Rockford Airport (RFD). The pilot was killed and the airplane was destroyed. The Part 135 nonscheduled flight, operated by Planemasters as Flight 1627, was transporting cargo for UPS and was operating in IMC on an IFR flight plan, from Decatur Airport (DEC), Ill.
A little known FAA policy statement, dated June 1 of this year, stands to dramatically change the helicopter industry as we know it. Helicopter pilots and manufacturers have long known the unique capabilities of rotorcraft, but have always been obligated to follow regulations and policies set forth and to operate in airspace designed for the much more prevalent fixed-wing aircraft.
The FAA is proposing numerous revisions to instrument flight rules and procedures to reflect technological advances intended to “facilitate the transition from ground-based navigation to new reference sources,” principally GPS and enhanced vision systems. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) cuts a 60-page swath through the Federal Register, affecting Parts 1, 71, 91, 95, 97, 121, 125, 129 and 135.
L-3 Avionics Systems, the former Goodrich subsidiary that produces the well known Stormscope and Skywatch lines of cockpit safety systems, last month introduced a new class-B terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) that the company said will have a list price of $12,500.
It is no secret that the FAA in the last several months has been forced to shelve a number of important ATC modernization projects. But now a blunt assessment by Department of Transportation inspector general Kenneth Mead accuses the agency of misjudging the technological maturity of the canceled programs and failing to gauge their true costs.
An easy day of flying is not hard to define. Passengers arrive on time, good weather translates into few delays and everything on the airplane works the way it was intended. Identifying a difficult day is a bit more challenging. Is it when the crew shoots a localizer approach to minimums at night with thunderstorms all around?
One of Eurocontrol’s senior navigation managers says the business aviation community should be acting now to prepare for the introduction of the EGNOS (European geostationary navigation overlay service) augmented satellite approach and landing system.
Dassault Falcon 900, Rifle, Colo., March 23, 2007–Falcon N129KJ sustained substantial damage when it overran the 7,000-foot-long runway at Garfield County Regional Airport at night in VFR. The crew had the runway in sight on the downwind leg and before reaching the final approach fix for the ILS approach to Runway 36.
The obstacle clearance panel (OCP), a group of experts in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is designing more suitable IFR procedures for helicopters, taking advantage of new navigation equipment. Under the proposed rules, scheduled to take effect in the fall of next year, precision guidance on low-level routes to so-called points in space will become common.