By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Free traffic and weather information can now be provided to pilots in seven new terminal areas, the FAA Safety Team announced recently. To receive these in-flight services, aircraft must be equipped to use ADS-B and to display traffic information. The new services are available for Fairbanks, Alaska; Lansing, Mich.; Pasco, Grant County, and Yakima, in Washington; Waterloo, Iowa, and Youngstown, Ohio. More details about the services can be found online. The FAA also said recently it has published more than 3,000 new WAAS approaches, which make it possible for pilots to fly instrument approaches using GPS.
More than 60,000 aircraft are certified to use WAAS, the FAA said, which means they are capable of using Performance Based Navigation (PBN), a key component for the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System. The use of PBN frees aircraft from the old "highways in the sky" that are dependent on ground-based beacons, allowing for more direct and fuel-efficient routes. It also provides options for avoiding bad weather or unexpected air traffic congestion. WAAS first was made operational in 2003.