NDB Approaches Cut Back

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Is the nondirectional beacon (NDB) going the way of the Dodo? Well, not quite, but its extinction is closer with an FAA program to weed out underused NDB approaches around the country so it can spend more money developing GPS-WAAS approaches. Now, there are some airports that still rely heavily on NDB approaches and the FAA isn't going to mess with those, according to AOPA. However, it is going to try and find those NDBs that dutifully send their signals to nowhere because there are better alternatives available. "Most new aircraft aren't even equipped with an ADF receiver," AOPA notes in its release. AOPA says it has polled its members and most have no problem with NDBs being shut down where alternatives exist. The FAA recently sent letters to 430 airport managers asking if they have redundant NDBs and noting that it can't afford to add more GPS approaches unless it gets rid of some of the old stuff. "To meet the public's demand for WAAS-capable RNAV procedures, the FAA must manage the growth in the number of instrument approach procedures by eliminating redundant ground-based procedures," AOPA said.