The Importance of WAAS/LPV

Don’t Let Less Than Ideal Conditions Ruin Your Approach
John Crabtree of Elliott Aviation, Avionics Manager
www.elliottaviation.com

Sometimes, one experience can change your entire perspective on flying. A few years ago, a Hawker 800 pilot relayed a story to me about WAAS LPV. The pilot had been requesting WAAS/LPV in their aircraft but had been denied his request because the aircraft owner saw it as a high cost with very little value. One business trip from Nashville to St. Louis changed the value seen in LPV.

The aircraft owners were flying in for a very important business meeting and planned to land at Lambert Field but the ILS was down and there was a very low ceiling. This forced the aircraft to divert to an airport many miles away. Meanwhile, the owner witnessed a Cirrus land right after their missed approach.

Because it was an unplanned arrival at a very small FBO, they had to wait for a car to become available and drive nearly an hour out of their way, missing their meeting. Needless to say, the owner was very upset that his mid-sized jet could not get into an airport while he witnessed a small piston aircraft land with ease. The owner scheduled a WAAS LPV system installation the following day.

WAAS (wide area augmentation system) and LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) is a system that uses satellites and ground-based radio systems to enhance GPS signals for the entire flight path of the aircraft, including approaches that can get you down to 200 feet. From an approach standpoint, the FAA’s most recent update (November 15, 2012) shows LPV approaches at 1,519 airports including 1,307 LPV’s to non-ILS airports. This flexibility can get you closer where you want to go.

Other benefits include cutting distances between airports, saving time and fuel because the aircraft does not have to follow routes based on ground based systems alone. It also allows safer flight at low altitudes because older system equipment is often blocked by terrain or elevation changes. Simply put, WAAS will get you to where you want to go faster, safer, and often times with less fuel.

John Crabtree oversees over 30 avionics technicians at Elliott Aviation’s headquarters in Moline, IL. Crabtree has 28 years of avionics experience that started in the US Navy where he was an Avionics Technician. He has worked on avionics systems with Gulfstream, Standard Aero and Hawker Beechcraft Services. As part of John’s current duties, he is leading one of the most successful avionics retrofit programs in history, Elliott Aviation’s industry-leading King Air Garmin G1000 retrofit program.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).