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Hawaii T-routes established

On February 27 the FAA published the final rule on Hawaii’s first low-altitude area navigation (RNAV) terminal transition routes, also known as T-routes.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

It’s been four years since the FAA published the notice of proposed rulemaking on these routes, which will facilitate the movement of aircraft among the Hawaiian Islands and promote efficiencies to current and future RNAV operations. The final rule will go into effect on May 16.

AOPA worked closely with the FAA to craft the routes, and recommendations made on behalf of general aviation pilots were largely adopted into the final rule. Additionally, during the T-route design process AOPA hosted webinars with low-altitude operators and pilots to get a well-rounded perspective on what the final T-routes should look like.

The entire T-route project was completed with significant collaboration between stakeholders, air traffic controllers, and local pilots. The goal was to establish four T-routes that would take into consideration mountains and navaids to offer more direct routes, fuel savings, and simpler clearances for pilots flying in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

“Due to mountainous terrain, and the location of navigational aids and radar sites, several routine routes between airports in the 50th state require higher altitudes and diversions costing aircraft owners time and money and decreasing safety by sending aircraft farther offshore than necessary,” said AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer Bill Melohn when the NPRM was first published. “With the arrival of ADS-B, and the new T routes, shorter and safer routes between islands are now possible, and will benefit the entire flying public.”

The new routes in the final rule establish more direct paths between islands, adjust routes based on strong trade winds, and accommodate single-engine aircraft that need to stay within gliding distance of the shoreline.

Lillian Geil
Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.

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