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Increased operations of regional jets and smaller turboprop aircraft into smaller airports via previously little-used airway routes may result in additional demands on ATC, and may result in greater numbers of published RNAV/RNP procedures to mitigate the increased noise impact on local communities. In 2016, for instance, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism in Japan created a low-altitude RNAV route between Oshima Island and Hachijyojima Island. These routes are expected to become more commonplace over time, with a goal of the FAA being to implement RNAV throughout the National Airspace System. The FAA has already begun decomissioning surface-based navigational aids; many Non-directional Radio Beacons (NDBs) have been shut down, with a plan to do the same for VORs. In the absence of these options, RNAV/RNP use will become more common by necesity.

GNSS/RNAV packages with space based augmentation systems (SBAS ) receivers being installed in most current aircraft enable aircraft to meet requirements for operations down to RNP 0.3, including localizer precision with vertical guidance (LPV) operations down to 200’minimums, as well as RNP 1.0 missed approach procedures.
That means that aircraft such as the Cessna Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100/300, among other smaller equipped aircraft, are likely candidates for RNP approvals. Use of SBAS has increased navigation performance capabilities, and 197 new RNAV systems were implemented in the U.S. in FY 2016 alone. In addition, and separate from the transition to performance based navigation (PBN), ICAO has recommended states to equip for LPV precision approach capability also if instrument landing provisions exist, as a back-up capability

Potential hazard

New demands and unfamiliar procedures may create increased operational risk during transition to these new procedures, also because of the multitude of operational types and approach classifications many with slightly differing minimums and limitations.
RNAV/RNP procedures may permit descent to ILS-like minimums into airports not having infrastructure such as runway approach and centerline lights.
NextGen/SESAR hazard condition: Pilot must navigate to RNAV/RNP route. Associated human performance hazard: Pilot deviates from departure route or navigates to the wrong route without being able to cross verify.

Increasingly heterogeneous vehicles with varying capabilities could put strain on operating systems. GNSS integration in COM/NAV architecture : VHF jamming GPS with poor antenna cables hardening and nasty connectors creating GPS Flags, bad interfaces between GNSS receivers displays and A.P.

ATC requesting direct to other WP than published add workload and possibility of pilot’s errors.

Corroborating sources and comments

2014 – Projections of utilization:

RNAV departures

Now at about 25% of all Part 121 departures

Estimated to be about 80% of all Part 121 departures in 2033

STAR arrivals

Now at about 28% of all Part 121 arrivals

Estimated to be 70% of all Part 121 arrivals in 2033

Sawyer, Michael, Ph.D., Berry, Katie, Ph.D., Blanding, Ryan, NextGen Human Hazard Assessment Report, TASC, Inc., Washington, DC, November 2010


A Safety Risk Management Panel (SRMP) met in March 2012, to evaluate potential hazards, assess risk, and develop mitigation strategies, as necessary, pertaining to the use of 3600’ spaced runways found within the National Airspace System (NAS). The results of the GPS required RNAV/RNP analysis are being provided to the SRMP with the intent of having this capability included in final Safety Risk Management Document (SRMD). (Dated 2016, this press release from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism announces the creation of a low-altitude RNAV route exclusively for smaller aircraft. The route guides airplanes between Oshima Island and Hachijyojima Island.) (2017 update on RNAV. Wide-Area Augmentation Systems for GPS have increased its proficiency for navigation, and 197 new RNAV systems were implemented in FY 2016 alone. The goal is to implement RNAV throughout the National Airspace System.)

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