Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Flight Services, has collaborated with Denver International Airport (DEN), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other stakeholders to design and deliver RNAV RNP (area navigation with required navigation performance) based arrivals for DEN. The collaboration brings the benefits of Performance Based Navigation – increased runway throughput; reductions in aircraft fuel burn, greenhouse gas emissions and minimized noise footprints – to the Denver area.
Performance Based Navigation is the foundation of the FAA’s NextGen modernization program, Europe’s SESAR programs and other future air traffic management concepts, which will alleviate much of today’s delays on the ground and in the air. Working with DEN, the FAA, airlines and others, including authorities from Centennial Airport and Rocky Mountain Regional Airport, Jeppesen has designed new arrival procedures that will expedite the flow of traffic arriving at DEN. The new procedures reduce pilot and controller workload and increase aircraft operational efficiency, while at the same time make DEN more neighbor-friendly.
RNAV differs from traditional navigation, whereby aircraft navigate from beacon to beacon or are given vectors (steered) by air traffic control, by allowing aircraft to fly a course within a network of navigation beacons or waypoints. RNP specifies a minimum level of onboard navigational performance monitoring and alerting. RNAV and RNP specifications facilitate more precise lateral and horizontal aircraft routing, and enable aircraft to descend from altitude without intermediate level offs, greatly reduce fuel consumption and aircraft noise emissions. All phases of flight operations stand to benefit from RNAV RNP through:
- Reduced fuel burn through continuous descents
- Reductions in miles flown
- Reduced pilot / controller communications
- Increased lateral and vertical predictability of operations
RNAV and RNP also make it easier for the air traffic system to handle and recover from weather and other problems, which today can cause massive, system-wide disruptions.
“Performance Based Navigation is one of the pillars upon which NextGen and SESAR will be built, but these future air traffic management systems cannot be implemented by government alone,” said Jeppesen president and CEO Mark Van Tine. “Successful implementation requires cooperation and collaboration by numerous stakeholders, as was the case with this project. I am proud that Jeppesen played a lead role in helping DEN continue to improve operational efficiency.”
Each of the participants came to the project with specific objectives: DEN’s primary desire was to increase its ability to efficiently handle arriving traffic, while at the same time minimizing environmental impacts of traffic growth. The FAA’s goal was to improve safety and efficiency and lessen controller/pilot workload, and airlines wanted to reduce the number of miles flown while operating in the Denver terminal area.
“Denver International Airport is one of the least delayed, most efficient airports in the national Airspace System, and these evolutionary flight procedures enable us to meet increased demand in the future while minimizing aviation’s environmental impacts,” Kim Day, Aviation Manager for Denver International Airport said. “Through collaboration with Jeppesen, the FAA, airports, industry leaders and the public, Denver’s skies are opened to continued growth and increased performance.”
Jeppesen helped bring all the parties together to ensure that the project accounted for all airspace users, RNP- and non-RNP capable alike, and delivered procedures controllers would willingly issue and pilots would willingly accept and fly. Draft procedures, created by Jeppesen’s staff, which includes both experienced procedure designers as well as veteran air traffic controllers, were then charted and coded for stakeholder evaluation, iteration and further refinement.
These new RNAV RNP arrival procedures will be fully implemented December 3rd. From initiation to completion, the project was completed in less than 24 months.
For more than 75 years Jeppesen has made it possible for pilots and their passengers to safely and efficiently reach their destinations. Today this pioneering spirit continues as Jeppesen delivers transformational information and optimization solutions to improve the efficiency of air, sea and rail operations around the globe. Jeppesen is a subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Jeppesen corporate information is available online at www.jeppesen.com.