Three little letters could make significant difference in the way you fly before terribly long. Required Navigation Performance landing approaches, or RNP, allows aircrafts to fly precisely-defined trajectories. The technology is pegged to satellites, and when its employed pilots don’t have to use outdated ground-based radio-navigation systems.
RNP isn’t some esoteric technology that interests just engineers and aviators. It can make your life greener and more efficient. So says a new report from GE. Highways in the Sky focuses on 46 mid-size airports across the country. Were RNP deployed to these airports the report concludes airlines could cut flight time, save millions in fuel costs, and slash carbon emissions. Specifically, Highways in the Sky says on an annual basis airlines:
- Could save 747 days of flight time – a little over two years.
- Could save 12.9 million gallons of jet fuel. That’s 527 round-trip flights from New York to Los Angeles.
- Could conserve 274.6 million pounds of CO2. That equates to the amount of carbon absorbed every year by 1.38 million trees.
“We are facing serious global challenges as air traffic increases and our skies become more and more congested,” says Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems.
Echoing the attitude of many aviators, American Airlines Captain Brian Will says the GE study “clearly demonstrates the tremendous benefits realized through satellite-based navigation.” Will, the director of Airspace Modernization and Advanced Technologies at American, says safety is an added benefit of the satellite-pegged set-up. He says RNP “reduce[s] radio transmissions,” and that eases controller workload.
It’s not as if RNP is pie-in-the-sky. Its benefits are right there on the plate. Australia is already implementing RNP at 28 airports Downunder. It expects airlines employing the procedures will save almost 86 million pounds of jet fuel per year.
GE’s PBN Services is a major designer and manufacturer of Performance-Based navigation systems.
Story by Jerry Chandler
(Image: Shai Barzilay)