|Photo courtesy GE Aviation
GE Aviation instituted two performance based navigation (PBN) procedures at two different terrain constrained airports this week.
First, the GE designed PBN flight paths were validated at Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport in the Sichuan Province of China. In this first public PBN project initiated by a Chinese airport, the paths will be available to all approved aircraft operators. Air China, China Eastern and Sichuan Airlines are the first three airlines that will fly the flight paths. Also, this week, Brazil's first Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight procedures are approved for operational use, following a successful validation flight by GOL on May 5.
PBN technology allows aircraft to fly precisely defined flight paths without relying on ground-based radio-navigation signals. Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures, an advanced form of PBN technology, can be designed to shorten the distance an aircraft has to fly en-route, and to reduce fuel burn, exhaust emissions and noise pollution in communities near airports, GE said.
In China, GE said the precise PBN paths will allow it to navigate around the steep terrain and poor weather conditions often found in the region. "Safety, efficiency and service reliability are top priorities for our airspace customers," said Mr. Zhu, deputy general manager of the Jiuzhai airport. "The PBN paths will help us to better ensure their needs are met, while streamlining our airspace operations."
In Brazil, the country’s air navigation services provider DECEA designed the RNP procedures, with technical support and assistance from GE. The first Brazilian airline to gain RNP operations approval, GOL expects to begin flying the procedures in its fleet of Boeing 737s in the coming months. "This is a significant milestone in the country's efforts to streamline its air traffic management system as it prepares to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016," said Giovanni Spitale, general manager of GE's PBN Services. "
GE said the RNP procedures will improve access to the airport by lowering operating minima (ceiling) from 1500 feet to 300 feet. This reduces the need to execute missed approaches on days of poor weather conditions. "Using RNP AR, the pilot can perform a precise and constant trajectory, reducing the minimum decision height," said Adalberto Bogsan, technical vice president of GOL. "This provides better visualization of the runway, assuring a more safe and comfortable landing."