UPS Goes NextGen

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The FAA last month granted operations approval for the software package SafeRoute, which works with the electronic flight bags being installed on UPS-operated 757, 767 and 747-400 aircraft. The company expects to have six aircraft flying with electronic flight bag/SafeRoute software by Jan. 21 and 55 by year-end. But the first operational flight is scheduled sooner -- for the week of Jan. 14. Flight operations using the system will be ramped up gradually from one per week as controllers and crews gain experience with the technology. The system uses ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast) to provide pilots with the ability to help manage spacing and provide next-generation continuous descent arrivals (CDA). "The ability for us to configure the aircraft for landing consistently at the same place all but eliminates the missed approaches, overtakes and breakouts that make the system unstable," said Captain Karen Lee, director of UPS Flight Operations. It should also provide for more efficient operations, when it comes to noise, fuel burn and emissions.

Incorporated into a NextGen airspace scenario, the package would provide cockpit crew with a designated tube of airspace that would act as an express lane from flight altitudes to the runway. The result will be a reduction in an aircraft's noise footprint by 30 percent, reduced emissions (down by 34 percent) and reduced fuel burn of 40-70 gallons per flight. UPS worked for more than ten years to develop the system and now has FAA approval to use the technology set.