FedEx is first carrier to use LAAS for precision approaches

Washington DC
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FedEx Express has become the first commercial operator to perform precision landing approaches using local area augmentation system signals.

The cargo integrator began local area augmentation system (LAAS) precision approaches last month at its Memphis International Airport hub, using Rockwell Collins GNLU-930 Multi Mode Receivers (MMRs) fitted in a Boeing 727-200 freighter to receive signals broadcast by a Honeywell/Pelorus SLS-3000 satellite landing system installed at the airport.

Honeywell and Calgary-based Pelorus Navigation Systems have certificated their SLS-3000 unit to interim standards of LAAS operation and expect certification to full FAA and ICAO public use standards early in 2002.

Pelorus says the MMR-bearing FedEx 727-200F has performed more than two-dozen precision approaches to Memphis using the SLS-3000.

At present the airline is performing straight-in Category 1 precision approaches, but FedEx will continue flying LAAS approaches throughout this year to collect data supporting the implementation of more advanced precision approach procedures, as well as full certification and operational approval of the SLS-3000 for LAAS navigation.

“This is a major step in the program driven by private industry and in cooperation with the FAA to implement worldwide use of satellite navigation and landing technology,” remarks Pelorus chief executive Michael Beamish of the FedEx program.

“This program is demonstrating how SLS technology will lead to significantly more efficient use of airspace, enhanced safety with precision approach landings and reduced traffic congestion at the terminal.”

Beamish adds: “For large commercial operators like FedEx, this technology could result in operational savings of millions of dollars over the next ten years.”