RNAV Approaches

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RNAV Approaches

Post by jorklind » 13 Feb 2009, 17:38

Hey all,

I have a question about RNAV approaches, mainly because I tried one of these approaches on my last flight (probably not at the best time to try this, because I was just a little above the landing minimums for the approach).

I guess I just have a hard time getting RNAV in my head. Are these approaches just like a localizer? In which case I would just program my GPS or FMS with the fixes and flight a strait shot between them, using the altitude constraints on the chart to help plan my vertical profile down to the runway?

Also, out of curiosity - how common is it for an airline to use an RNAV approach? At my company, the flight followers are told not to rely on the crews to be able to perform RNAV approaches.

Kyle Bjorklund (314)

Part 135 flight follower, Part 121 aircraft sales.

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Re: RNAV Approaches

Post by ljdriver » 13 Feb 2009, 18:15

You're pretty much correct. Shooting a VOR/RNAV/LOC are all very similar. You have horizontal guidence and a series of stepdowns to a MDA.

The one thing you cannot do is manually enter the fixes into GPS or FMS that does not have terminal procedures installed. Same for RNAV SIDs/STARs. The current database must be installed and the GPS itself must be IFR approved.

As for RNAV apps at the airline level, right now not so much. (This might change with WAAS) Unless you are going into a smaller C or D airport you're always gonna take the ILS. The company I fly for is a 135 charter and we go into a lot of tiny airports the airlines never even heard of, and we do alot of RNAVs/VORs.

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Re: RNAV Approaches

Post by RatherBFlyin » 14 Feb 2009, 06:30

I won't say an airline would never do it, but it is extremely unlikely. If there is an ILS available, that is the first option they would take. However, there may be times when the weather is too low for a visual approach, and the winds are such that an approach to an ILS-equipped runway just isn't feasible. In that case, an RNAV or VOR approach may be the only option. If the crew is prepared for the approach, an RNAV approach really isn't much more difficult than performing an ILS approach (I've done RNAV approaches on a couple of my recent flights). You just have to keep the various altitude limits in mind as you proceed along the approach.

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