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NextGen Goal:
Performance-Based Navigation
RNAV and RNP Evolution Through 2025
Provided by the FAA
Global Support
The Next Generation Air Transporta- • Trajectory-Based Operations
tion System (NextGen) is the Federal Avi- • Arrivals/Departures at High-Density The aviation community is pursuing the
ation Administration’s (FAA) plan to Airports benefits of PBN through the implementa-
modernize the National Airspace System • Flexible Terminals and Airports tion of RNAV and RNP-based air traffic
(NAS) through 2025. Through NextGen, • Optimized Profile Descent routes and instrument procedures. In
the FAA is addressing the impact of air These advances in aircraft capabilities March 2007, the International Civil Avia-
traffic growth by increasing NAS capacity and air traffic system operations support tion Organization (ICAO) completed the
and efficiency while simultaneously im- the transition to performance-based oper- PBN Manual which involved collabora-
proving safety, reducing environmental ations, including RNAV and RNP. tion with technical and operational experts
impacts, and increasing user access to the from several countries. The ICAO PBN
NAS. To achieve its NextGen goals, the
What Is RNAV?
Manual provides a long-anticipated global
FAA is implementing new Performance- RNAV enables aircraft to fly on any harmonization of RNAV and RNP re-
Based Navigation (PBN) routes and proce- desired flight path within the coverage of quirements – a leading priority of the avi-
dures that leverage emerging technologies ground- or spaced-based navigation aids, ation stakeholder community worldwide.
and aircraft navigation capabilities. within the limits of the capability of the To promote global awareness and under-
What is Performance-Based
self-contained systems, or a combination standing of the new Manual, FAA and the
of both capabilities. As such, RNAV air- European Organization for the Safety of
craft have better access and flexibility for Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL), with
PBN is a framework for defining per- point-to-point operations. the ICAO PBN Program Office, have pre-
formance requirements in “navigation sented seminars throughout the ICAO Re-
specifications.” PBN framework can be
What Is RNP?
gions. All of the10 planned seminars were
applied to an air traffic route, instrument RNP is RNAV with the addition of an completed as of December 2008.
procedure, or defined airspace. PBN pro- onboard performance monitoring and
vides a basis for the design and imple- alerting capability. A defining character-
mentation of automated flight paths as istic of RNP operations is the ability of RNAV and RNP specifications facili-
well as for airspace design and obstacle the aircraft navigation system to monitor tate more efficient design of airspace and
clearance. The two main components of the navigation performance it achieves procedures which collectively result in
PBN framework are Area Navigation and inform the crew if the requirement is improved safety, access, capacity, pre-
(RNAV) and Required Navigation Per- not met during an operation. This onboard dictability, operational efficiency, and en-
formance (RNP). RNAV specifies the monitoring and alerting capability en- vironment. Specifically, improved access
routes, while RNP specifies the perfor- hances the pilot’s situation awareness and and flexibility for point-to-point opera-
mance criteria. Once the required perfor- can enable reduced obstacle clearance or tions help enhance reliability and reduce
mance level is established, the aircraft’s closer route spacing without intervention delays by defining more precise terminal
own capability determines whether it can by air traffic control. area procedures. They also can reduce
safely achieve the specified performance Certain RNP operations require ad- emissions and fuel consumption.
and qualify for the operation. vanced features of the onboard navigation RNAV procedures can provide benefit
As NextGen continues to evolve, com- function and approved training and crew in all phases of flight, including departure,
mitments such as those formerly detailed procedures. These operations must receive en route, arrival, approach, and transition-
in the Roadmap for Performance-Based approvals that are characterized as Spe- ing airspace. For example, Standard Ter-
Navigation have been incorporated into the cial Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization minal Arrivals (STARs) can:
NextGen Implementation Plan. In fact, Required (SAAAR), similar to approvals • Increase predictability of operations
several NextGen solutions are dependent required for operations to conduct Instru- • Reduce controller/aircraft communi-
on RNAV and RNP implementation as en- ment Landing System Category II and III cations
abling technology in the NAS, including: approaches. Continued on page 18 • Heli-Expo 2010 Preview Issue 17
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