LPV -€ what'€s the hold up? (Part 2 - the aerodrome operator)

Written by: Philip Church
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In my last blog I looked at the potential issues that an aircraft operator needs to consider as part of any SBAS upgrade to equip the aircraft suitable for LPV approach procedures. The more of these procedures on the ground, the more the aircraft operators are able to justify the investment – in turn supporting the case for the aerodrome operator.

The case for the aerodrome operator implementing LPV is driven by one of two things:

1. Economics: either a business case driven decision due to demand or rationalisation plans, or

2. Regulations: a mandate from the CAA that all instrument approach runway ends should be provided with APV approach procedures in accordance with the ICAO General Assembly 37/11 recommendation.

The economic case varies according to existing aircraft equipage at the airport, its existing navigation infrastructure and landing aids. At larger aerodromes, the need for LPV implementation may not be justifiable given existing needs to provide ILS CAT II or III performance. However, LPV implementation in tandem with LNAV/VNAV does provide regional airports and smaller aerodromes with the opportunity to attract regional and business traffic. Implementation is also actively supported at the European level through the European GNSS Agency (GSA).

One particular economic opportunity for regional airports is the rationalisation of existing precision or non-precision approaches with joint LNAV, LNAV/VNAV and LPV approach procedures. This allows implementation of procedures that do not require six month or annual flight testing, as per ILS, or the maintenance of aerodrome-specific navigation infrastructure (e.g. ILS, VOR/DME, NDB). For one airport where Helios helped with the safety assessment, this cost saving was a key advantage of LPV which, combined with a migration plan, allowed a phased implementation catering for existing customers.

Whilst the regulatory environment focuses on existing instrument approach runways, this does not preclude the implementation of LPV procedures to non-instrument runways. These have some unique challenges including, from a safety perspective, integration of IFR and VFR movements possibly in uncontrolled airspace and potentially limited hours operations. However, it can also increase the safety of air taxi or business operations.

In recent years Helios has supported numerous regional airports with both business cases and safety cases. These have been used either as a tool to support internal investment or to support prioritisation of an aerodrome within national plans. For some we have managed the full implementation cycle either as a standalone solution or as part of wider airspace or airport masterplan changes.

In part 3 we will look at the ANSP perspective, including procedure design aspects and safety considerations.

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