WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (August 26, 2010) – Naverus, a part of GE Aviation, and American Airlines today announced the successful completion of a commercial airline flight at Bradley International Airport, using the first-ever public flight path in the United States created by a private company. Known as Required Navigation Performance (RNP), this flight procedure is a core component of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) NextGen airspace modernization effort and is like a ‘highway in the sky’ that ensures the aircraft adheres to a precisely designed, predetermined path. RNP enables significant improvements in fuel efficiency, airline productivity and airspace efficiency as well as reductions in aircraft emissions and community noise impact.
"The State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation, and Bradley International Airport are proud to be part of this cutting-edge technology at New England's second largest airport," said Eric N. Waldron, A.A.E., ACE, Bradley's Administrator. "Thank you to GE Aviation, American Airlines, and our partners at the Federal Aviation Administration for bringing this additional safety feature to Bradley which benefits everyone, most especially our customers."
“Today’s flight marks a significant milestone both in the history of our company and in the development of advanced navigation procedures in the U.S.,” said Naverus General Manager Steve Forte. “We showed how third-party navigation providers, like Naverus, and airlines, like American Airlines, are working with the FAA to accelerate improvements to our national airspace system.”
“Over the next 20 years, airspace and airlines around the world will fundamentally change from how we operate today,” said Capt. Brian Will, American’s Director – Airspace Modernization and Advanced Technologies. “This new procedure is a critical step to help implement NextGen modernization. American Airlines, which has long been a pioneer with RNP and RNAV, is very excited to work with Naverus and usher in a new era for U.S. aviation.”
The inaugural flight using the newly approved approach to Bradley International Airport’s Runway 15 was American Airlines Flight 1916, which arrived from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at 12:10 p.m. today. Capt. Will was at the controls of the Boeing 737-800, which carried as a passenger GE Aviation Systems Technical Fellow Steve Fulton, a long-time champion of RNP who developed the world’s first RNP flight paths in the mid-1990s.
Naverus has deployed more RNP procedures around the world than any other non-governmental entity, and is the first third-party procedure designer to publish a public RNP procedure in the U.S. under FAA guidelines. In Canada, China, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and now, the United States, Naverus RNP procedures are in regular daily use.
“Naverus RNP flight paths are an important part of a larger GE effort that is pioneering new ways to optimize aircraft operations from gate to gate,” said Steve Fulton, technical fellow for GE Aviation Systems. “Other components of this effort include advanced features of GE flight management computers, like the one aboard the American Airlines flight today, which allow pilots to fly RNP paths and enable them to select pre-designated arrival times at runways and even at exact points along the route.”
Additionally, GE is working with the FAA and other regulatory bodies and navigation service providers around the world to develop the capability for aircraft to share optimized flight trajectories with air traffic control in real time and to ‘negotiate’ modifications to those trajectories when necessary. This will ultimately allow airlines to plan each and every flight to operate on the most efficient flight path with the least possible environmental impact.
Navigational and operational capabilities such as these will make air traffic management more efficient by helping airplanes plan more direct routes, decreasing airspace congestion, saving fuel and reducing commercial aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Without new RNP flight paths and other essential upgrades, FAA estimates that by 2015 the current air traffic control system will be unable to handle the 50 percent increase in airplanes and passengers expected over the next decade.
RNP procedures can provide different benefits, depending on their design. Naverus specifically designed the Bradley Airport RNP approach to provide pilots with continuous vertical guidance to Runway 15 while allowing them to land when the cloud ceiling is as low as 350 feet above the ground. Prior to the new RNP approach, the existing instrument approach procedure for the runway provided no continuous vertical flight guidance and was of no benefit when cloud ceilings were lower than 1,000 feet above the ground. It’s anticipated that the new RNP approach will improve the utility of Bradley’s Runway 15 and provide pilots and controllers with additional navigation flexibility during periods of adverse weather or winds.
About Bradley International Airport
Bradley International Airport is the second largest in New England and serves an extensive geographic area, as its customer base covers the entire Northeast including Western Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. According to the most recent economic impact analysis, Bradley contributes $4 billion in economic activity to the state of Connecticut and the surrounding region, representing $1.2 billion in wages and 18,000 full-time jobs.
About GE Aviation Systems
Naverus Inc., part of GE Aviation Systems, is a global leader in the development and implementation of Performance-based Navigation, including RNP, and is working with aircraft operators and air traffic management providers in China, South and Central America, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Europe to implement PBN solutions. Learn more about Naverus at: www.naverus.com.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. www.ge.com/aviation