AOPA is asking the FAA to take action to make Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) instrument approaches available at airports nationwide. WAAS corrects and enhances GPS signals to allow instrument approaches with ILS-like minimums at airports where installing an ILS is impractical.
In a letter commenting on proposed changes to the standards for airport design, AOPA asked the FAA to take a series of specific actions to promote the proliferation of WAAS approaches.
"AOPA believes the FAA should take steps to support the rapid and efficient implementation of WAAS nationwide," wrote Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "We feel it is imperative that the FAA identify and remove any policies or artificial barriers that would discourage the use of WAAS for low minimums approaches."
In the letter AOPA asked the FAA to educate airport managers about the availability and value of WAAS approaches, conduct a nationwide study to identify runways that are now eligible for WAAS approaches, and perform an end-to-end review of airport standards to ensure that they meet the minimum criteria for safe operations.
"Safety of general aviation pilots and their passengers is paramount," Dunn wrote. That's why AOPA has supported WAAS since the program's inception in 1995. WAAS first became available to pilots with equipped aircraft in July 2003, and the signal has since been improved to provide even tighter navigation tolerances.
August 11, 2004