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Wed, May 09, 2012

Required Navigation Performance Flight Paths Go Live In Brazil

Brazilian Aviation Leaders And GE Collaborate To Improve Air Traffic At Rio De Janeiro’s Santos Dumont Airport

Brazil’s first Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight procedures are approved for operational use, following a successful validation flight by GOL on May 5. The procedures will improve access and capacity at Santos Dumont Airport, while reducing fuel burn and carbon emissions for GOL and other approved airlines that fly them.

Brazil’s air navigation service provider DECEA designed the RNP procedures, with technical support and assistance from GE. Brazil’s aviation regulator ANAC validated and approved the procedures, while at the same time granting RNP operations approval to GOL. The first Brazilian airline to gain RNP operations approval, GOL expects to begin flying the procedures in its fleet of Boeing 737s in the coming months.

“This is a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to streamline its air traffic management system as it prepares to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016,” said Giovanni Spitale, general manager of GE’s PBN Services. “We congratulate DECEA, ANAC and GOL on this achievement - GE is proud to have played a role.” GE’s PBN experts supported the Brazilian stakeholders on the design, validation and deployment of the procedures and on GOL’s RNP operational approval.

Santos Dumont is a challenging flight environment because operators must navigate mountainous areas and complex airspace when arriving and departing the airport. In addition, there are 100,000 residents in the airport community who are affected by aircraft noise. DECEA designed a procedure with a continuous decent arrival (CDA) in order to reduce noise, operating minima and improve capacity. The procedures also will eliminate non-precision approaches and reduce the risk associated with controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) near the airport.

“Using RNP AR, the pilot can perform a precise and constant trajectory, reducing the minimum decision height,” said Adalberto Bogsan, technical vice president of GOL. “This provides better visualization of the runway, assuring a more safe and comfortable landing.”

The RNP procedures will substantially improve access to the airport by lowering operating minima (ceiling) from 1500 ft. to 300 ft. This reduces the need to execute missed approaches on days of poor weather conditions. DECEA’s procedures will have no interference with the current air traffic around Santos Dumont Airport and will improve air traffic flow management and capacity.

Performance-based Navigation (PBN) technology allows aircraft to fly precisely-defined flight paths without relying on ground-based radio-navigation signals. RNP procedures, an advanced form of PBN technology, can be designed to shorten the distance an aircraft has to fly en-route, and to reduce fuel burn, exhaust emissions and noise pollution in communities near airports. Because of RNP’s precision and reliability, the technology can help air traffic controllers reduce flight delays and alleviate air traffic congestion.



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