By Russ Niles
, Editor-in-Chief | September 24, 2007
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Honeywell and Jeppesen recently completed a Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approach for Morristown, N.J. to show how such procedures can be developed for the use of business arircraft. RNP uses GPS and ground stations to provide precision guidance for aircraft flying into airports with congested airspace, difficult terrain and bad weather. Some airlines use the approaches, but Honeywell and Jeppesen believe business aircraft operators represent a major market for the technology. "RNP allows pilots flying the approach to use a more controlled continuous descent technique versus the traditional "dive and drive" method and offers lower minimums than the current GPS procedure," said a joint press release. Jeppesen is also part of an FAA experiment that could lead to more rapid RNP deployment.
Jeppesen spokesman Andy McDowell said the company is one of two chosen to develop RNP approaches for the FAA as a contractor so that the systems can be put into airports that want it faster. McDowell said the actual design and deployment of the approaches is straightforward but there are some legal and business issues to be dealt with. For instance, the RNP approaches will be public domain so the companies paying for their development will not be compensated, other than in the cost savings they'll realize by having more reliable access to the airport. There's also the question of whether liability will be assumed by the FAA after it has signed off on the new approaches.
Michael Kussatz, of Olathe, KS, captures the essence of grass roots aviation with this image of a Luscombe just waiting to go flying at a grass strip in Kansas. Click through to see our other submissions.