Flying a business air plane outside the U.S. isn’t all work. It’s also an adventure that offers U.S. pilots a chance to see how the other half–or actually the other 90 percent of the world–lives. Let’s be serious: Americans are spoiled by our own version of the aviation industry, such as when it comes to working the ATC system. A last-minute trip appears in Atlanta and we file a quick flight plan from our iPhones.
North Atlantic Tracks
British air traffic management provider NATS has urged the country’s Civil Aviation Authority to give fast-track approval to a change in the standard instrument departures (SIDs) at London City Airport. The change, which could be adopted this summer, will formalize a wider initial turn after takeoff before aircraft rejoin the existing tracks.
Eurocontrol has again confirmed that reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace will be implemented in Europe starting January 24. The 1,000-ft separation standards will apply between FL 290 and FL 410, and non-RVSM-compliant aircraft will not be permitted at these altitudes.
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.
Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) is stepping up operating trials aimed at making greater use of both en route and terminal area airspace. New procedures being evaluated include the use of parallel offset tracks in place of radar headings alone; closer spacing of parallel routes with autonomous operations; and the use of precision area navigation (PRnav) procedures for terminal area control.
Sharp rises in the number of airline flights originating from airports in the U.S. and Europe are presenting FAA and Eurocontrol officials with some daunting challenges. Chief among these is the question of how to squeeze more capacity from airports and ATC route systems that in some places already seem stretched to the breaking point.
“Business aviation operators are becoming much more sophisticated about the ways they can use their airplanes outside the United States,” said Bill Stine, NBAA’s director of international operations and the man behind the curtain for the association’s annual International Operators Conference (IOC), held this year in San Diego.
A Boeing Business Jet heading to Geneva for the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in late May marked a notable milestone by becoming the first business jet to cross the North Atlantic using future air navigation system (FANS) technology to communicate with ATC.
The road to RVSM approval can be as smooth as a ribbon of freshly laid desert highway or as rough as a rock-strewn forest switchback.
The FAA recently established the WATRS Plus Web page to discuss issues related to the West Atlantic Route System (WATRS) Plus Airspace. On June 5 next year, the FAA plans to introduce a redesigned route structure and a reduced lateral separation standard in WATRS Plus Airspace.