Fri, Oct 22, 2010
Industry Partnerships Support Flight Infrastructure System
The FAA is now receiving preliminary data from Wide Area
Augmentation System (WAAS) operational demonstration projects set
up over the last two years with seven firms representing a cross
section of the aviation industry. This initial data confirms that
the use of WAAS avionics reduces fuel consumption and flight time,
enables more direct en route navigation, and increases safety.
The WAAS Government Industry Partnerships allow the FAA to
identify, develop and implement greater applications for WAAS in
the National Air Space. In addition, these projects help to
establish the requisite criteria for aircraft equipage, flight test
and evaluations, and data collection. Most importantly, these
projects support the FAA’s development of an en route and
terminal flight infrastructure system utilizing satellite based
Firms participating in these demonstration projects are:
- Flight Service Providers AAG Vertical.
- Air Frame Manufacturer Bell Helicopter.
- Regional Airline Cape Air
- Emergency Medical Helicopter CareFlite.
- Major Regional Carrier Horizon Air.
- Fractional Ownership of Business Jets NetJets.
- Cargo Operator Northern Air Cargo.
Mike Kelley, chief pilot for Northern Air Cargo, said,
“Flights are more repeatable and predictable using WAAS
navigation. The WAAS-based Initial Approach Fix requires less time
and fuel than Instrument Landing System approaches.”
A cost saving example from Northern Air Cargo shows an average
fuel savings of 809 pounds flying Boeing 737s on the
Anchorage-Barrow route in Alaska. Assuming five roundtrip flights
per week with fuel at $2.25/gallon, the savings realized from WAAS
utilization adds up to $138,000 per year. Time savings amount to as
much as 7% in the Northern Air Cargo demonstration project; and
variability in flight was reduced by 20%-50% over non-WAAS flights.
Fuel on-board was reduced from 3% to as much as 8% using WAAS
The FAA plans to enter additional partnerships, according to
Dave Peterson, Operational Implementation Manager of the Global
Navigation Satellite System program. “Some major airlines
have expressed interest in participating,” he said.
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