Airbus and Honeywell work to reduce A320 required navigation performance values

Washington DC
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A software update for the Honeywell flight management system will allow Airbus A320 operators to reduce the values of required navigation performance.

RNP approaches allow an aircraft to fly along a precise, pre-defined 3D path tailored to reduce delays and cut fuel burn and emissions.

Some operators currently use an RNP value of 0.3nm (0.5km), which means the pilot must have the appropriate information to observe and control the aircraft's position in a box of airspace twice that size. Reducing the values could create the possibility for tighter flight tracks that help fuel savings and efficiency.

Honeywell vice-president marketing and product management Chad Cundiff says the company is releasing a software load that would allow for a value of 0.1nm for the A320, and it will also eventually be available on Gulfstream 450/550/650 business jets.

airbus-a320-winglets
 © Airbus

The update on the A320 will enhance the aircraft's mode sequencing logic and tracking capabilities. Cundiff says the 0.1nm value for the A320 has been certificated, and an entry-into-service programme covering testing is scheduled to start with several key customers in April. Certification of the lower RNP value for a specific operator will follow.

Cundiff says the software release improves the operation of the flight management system for RNP special aircraft and aircrew authorisation (RNP-SAAAR) flights.

The company's own corporate flight department based in Morristown, New Jersey is approved for RNP-SAAAR, and has packages available for business jet operators aiming to establish RNP operations. Elements include equipage, procedures design and operational approval.

Honeywell is also readying for an upgrade later this year to its enhanced ground proximity warning system, with a stabilised approach monitor that detects if an aircraft is too high and too fast on approach. The company may make an announcement about the upgrade at the Paris air show in June.