So long to 216 NDB approach procedures

July 7, 2005

So long to 216 NDB approach procedures

On July 7, 216 NDB approaches will no longer exist. The FAA decommissioned them after careful coordination with AOPA and the aviation community. "And that's a good thing," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA director of advanced technology, "because it means the FAA can stop spending money on something few use and will have more funds for GPS-WAAS approaches to general aviation airports."

In fact, once the remaining obsolete NDB procedures are decommissioned later this year, the FAA will free some $8 million a year to use on more modern technology. That's because the agency will no longer have to spend money to repeatedly flight-check the approaches, maintain equipment, and update charts. (The FAA has NOT turned off any NDBs, however.)

AOPA and AOPA members helped the FAA decide which NDB approach procedures to cancel, by identifying procedures that duplicated other approaches or were no longer being used.

The FAA proposed decommissioning a total of 479 procedures, (the next set of procedures will be decommissioned in September). AOPA told the agency that 60 NDB approaches should be saved because they provided the lowest minimums or because they were important to members in the area. The FAA retained 35 of the 60 but offered no rationale for canceling the remaining 25.

AOPA will go back to the FAA on at least five of the approaches the FAA plans to cancel because they deliver better access with lower minimums than the remaining approaches at the affected airports.

The 216 NDB approach procedures will be officially decommissioned at 0901Z July 7 when the new editions of U.S. terminal procedures ("approach plates") become effective. The remaining 228 procedures will be decommissioned when the next set of terminal procedures becomes effective September 1.

July 7, 2005