June 14, 2010
By Thomas A. Horne
RNP approach to Palm Springs Internationl is an example of the new approaches. Click image to enlarge.
Gulfstream Aerospace has earned Required Navigational Performance-Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization (RNP-SAAR) for its large-cabin airplanes to fly new GPS-based RNP approaches to accuracies within 0.1 nautical miles. RNP-SAAR requires both GPS and inertial reference systems to fly approaches that permit navigation near high terrain, and to lower landing minimums.
RNP-SAAR requires both GPS and backup inertial reference system guidance, as well as special crew training. Gulfstream airplanes must be equipped with the latest upgrade—dubbed Certification Foxtrot—of the company’s PlaneView avionics. PlaneView is Gulfstream’s brand name for the Honeywell Primus Epic-derived avionics suite.
This RNP 0.1-nm approval follows Gulfstream’s 2007 approval to fly RNP 0.3-nm approaches.
“In general, RNP-SAAR procedures increase operational efficiency by providing better accessibility to airports located in either traffic-dense areas or where terrain or man-made obstacles adversely affect approach minimums when using traditional instrument approach standards,” said Jake Howard, Gulfstream’s senior experimental test pilot.
A good example of this precision capability are new approaches to Palm Springs International in Palm Springs, Calif., where RNP-0.1-nm-approved airplanes can fly through valleys to more accurately align with runways—while still maintaining safe clearance from the surrounding terrain.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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