AOPA is encouraging the FAA to begin charting new area navigation (RNAV) routes that can be used by GPS-equipped aircraft. But the association also reminded the agency that many GA aircraft aren't yet equipped with IFR-certified GPS receivers and will continue to rely on ground-based navigation systems (VORs, ILS, etc.) for some time to come. These aircraft must not be negatively affected by a transition to RNAV routing. And AOPA noted that if implemented correctly, RNAV routes could have many benefits for GA pilots.
The comments were made when responding to a proposed rule change that would enable the FAA to begin charting RNAV routes for IFR operations. The regulatory proposal would add the new RNAV routes to the existing airway system in the United States.
AOPA said that new RNAV routes could have many benefits, including lowering minimum enroute altitudes along current airways where the minimum altitude is artificially high due to poor navaid performance, increased ability to transition through Class B airspace, and increased access to special-use airspace where current navaid locations limit airway options.
"It is essential that the FAA implement these routes so today's GPS-equipped aircraft can take advantage of them," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA director of advanced technology. "But the FAA should chart the routes so general aviation pilots flying without GPS are not adversely impacted by them."
AOPA participates aggressively in the implementation of widespread RNAV to ensure benefits increase and provide more incentives for general aviation aircraft owners to install GPS navigation equipment.