A technical committee under the auspices of RTCA will begin working in March to update and refine the airspace and avionics specifications needed to perform four dimensional (4D) navigation in US and European airspace.

By June 2013, the government and industry group dubbed RTCA special committee 227, co-chaired by Boeing senior technical fellow Dave Nakamura, is to publish updated minimum aviation system performance standards (MASPS) and minimum operational performance standards (MOPS) for 4D navigation, a capacity- and efficiency-boosting practice whereby an aircraft arrives at a certain waypoint at a precise time.

The MASPS will provide the information the FAA needs to develop airspace and operational concepts while the MOPS give avionics makers a minimum set of requirements for developing equipment that will meet the standards, both for the US next generation air transportation system (NextGen) and for the European airspace modernisation programme (SESAR).

The updated documents, MASPS and MOPS for required navigation performance for area navigation, were last published in 2003. "While these operations provide a significant benefit in the NAS, lessons learned from [performance based navigation] implementations, advances in the PBN conceptand improved avionics technology date these standards," said RTCA in announcing the committee on 23 January.

Included in the work products will be updates on navigation procedures including RF legs, fixed radius transitions, RNP holding, lateral offsets and time of arrival control, said RTCA, adding that the group is to develop accuracy requirements, error budgets and required operational characteristics of the practices as a function of flight phase.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news