Seattle-based Horizon Air said it became the first scheduled passenger carrier to operate revenue flights using GPS Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) approach procedures.
Equipped with dual Universal Avionics UNS-1Ew flight management systems, Horizon Air Flight 2014, a 76-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop, departed Portland, Ore., on Dec. 30 for arrival at Seattle-Tahoma Airport. This was the first regional airline passenger flight with certified, WAAS-enabled FMSs providing guidance for a WAAS approach procedure. Later that day, a second Horizon flight became the first Part 121 passenger flight to complete a WAAS Localizer Performance with Vertical (LPV) guidance approach procedure.
Horizon Air, sister carrier of Alaska Airlines, is upgrading its fleet of 40 Q400s with Universal’s WAAS-enabled FMS. FAA supplemental type certificate approval for installation of the UNS-1Ew system in the Q400 was issued on Nov. 23. The STC is owned by Canard Aerospace Corp., Shakopee, Minn., which provided certification services and design engineering for the Horizon Air project.
“Horizon Air has long been committed to innovation and technical excellence, and we're particularly proud to be spearheading the use of this new technology, which holds the promise of benefiting many thousands of customers in years to come,” stated Jeff Pinneo, president and CEO.