The FAA, continuing to remove redundant and underutilized ground-based instrument approaches from service as new technology comes on line, has announced the fate of 125 of 198 procedures it had listed as candidates for cancellation.
According to a final rule published Oct. 17, 59 of the 125 instrument approaches will be canceled, with 66 either retained based on comments from system users, or determined to be duplications of approaches already addressed. The rule takes effect Nov. 10.
The announcement leaves unresolved for now the status of 73 procedures. The FAA said it might reevaluate the retained approaches under the ongoing review known as the National Procedures Assessment (NPA) initiative.
In a previous stage of the NPA, the FAA last November eliminated 334 instrument procedures, but backed off its original intention to cancel up to 736 procedures.
“Removing identified ground-based NDB and VOR SIAPs is an integral part of right-sizing the quantity and type of procedures in the National Airspace System (NAS). As new technology facilitates the introduction of area navigation (RNAV) instrument approach procedures, the number of procedures available in the NAS has nearly doubled over the past decade. The complexity and cost of maintaining the existing ground based navigational infrastructure while expanding RNAV capability is not sustainable,” the FAA noted in the newly published rule.
AOPA, serving on an RTCA study committee, helped draft the approach cancellation criteria published by the FAA in June 2014.
The association also is heavily engaged with the FAA as the agency pursues another NextGen initiative to establish a VOR Minimal Operational Network that would allow IFR aircraft to navigate in the event of a GPS outage, said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic.
“AOPA continues to work closely with the FAA to ensure that pilots have all-weather access to airports and an efficient en route navigation structure,” he said. “As the FAA decommissions VORs and legacy procedures, we are working closely with our FAA counterparts to ensure the transition to Performance Based Navigation is smooth for general aviation.”