Regular readers will know it’s an article of faith for me that improved air traffic management is the only way that aviation is going to improve its environmental act to any meaningful extent in the near future. Part of that needs to be the widespread adoption of what’s called required navigation performance (RNP) techniques. And it’s starting to happen.
One of the biggest RNP programmes underway is the one at Southwest Airlines. They’be been a bit reticent about talking about it, but now, rather more characteristically, they’re shouting about it. RNP is a wee bit complicated – but not that bad really, you just have to concentrate. Southwest has put together a nice presentation here explaining what’s going on.
Their partner in all this is probably the world leader in RNP – Naverus. They have a great series of case studies on their site which really do show what the concept is all about. Start with the story that launched it all – the remarkable tale of how Naverus founder Steve Fulton, then an Alaska Airlines pilot, demonstrated at Juneau, Alaska how emerging navigation techniques could change the world. We really need to do more of this.