A series of pilot programs are beginning to generate data the US FAA hopes will confirm what it says are "dramatic savings in fuel, reductions in flight times and less variability in navigation." As part of a government/industry partnership, NetJets has agreed to equip 10 aircraft based at Teterboro, New Jersey with WAAS/LPV avionics. The fractional provider will train its pilots, dispatchers and maintenance personnel on the equipment and advanced navigation procedures, says the FAA.
Data from NetJets program, when operational, will be compared to similar information coming from seven operators taking part in operational demonstrations over the past two years. "This initial data confirms that the use of WAAS avionics reduces fuel consumption and flight time, enables more direct en route navigation, and increases safety," says the FAA.
Companies included Bell Helicopter, Horizon Air, Cape Air and Northern Air Cargo. Northern Air Cargo says using WAAS could save $138,000 per year for one aircraft on a weekly route in Alaska, provide time savings of as much as 7% and reduce variability in flight by 20-50% over non-WAAS flights. Fuel on board was reduced from 3% to as much as 8% using WAAS navigation, says the company.