September 2010 Issue

NPAs: Stable Or Not?

The WAAS-enabled LPV approach embraces constant-angle, stabilized descents while the old “dive and drive” method may offer greater utility.

Over the past few years the FAA has added new non-precision instrument approaches at a remarkable rate—thousands of procedures with names like LNAV and VNAV, and ILS-comparable LPV approaches—2208 LPV approaches alone. The common denominator among these relative newcomers to an instrument pilot’s nomenclature is their dependence on the wonders of GPS, in particular, Wide Area Augmentation System-based (WAAS) GPS. The primary benefit of a WAAS-enhanced approach is availability of a pseudo glideslope generated by the in-cockpit GPS navigator, bringing ILS-like vertical guidance where there’s no ILS.

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