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Recent incidents at Dallas Fort Worth Internatinal Airport (DFW) and Las Vegas McCarrean International Airport (LAS) airports underscore the need for continued vigilance when flying area navigation departure procedures (RNAV SIDs). NBAA has become aware of incidents where business aviation operators have been involved in a pilot deviation from the procedure, requiring air traffic control (ATC) to intervene. In at least one instance, a Pilot Deviation has been filed. It is imperative that operators review and understand the procedure and ATC clearance prior to departure and ensure the aircraft is flown in accordance with the procedure and ATC instructions.
Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) Departures
There continue to be deviations for aircraft flying RNAV SIDs off the ground at DFW and some other airports in the National Airspace System. General Aviation flights account for approximately 20% of the RNAV pilot deviations at DFW while comprising less than 2% of total operations at DFW. Although the overall number of RNAV pilot deviations is a low percentage, these errors are occurring at a critical phase of flight and the situation needs to improve.
Dallas Fort Worth Air Traffic Control has offered the following information and requests the following actions of operators:
- Remind your crews that loading the correct information in the FMS is absolutely critical to maintaining the safe and efficient use of RNAV off the ground procedures.
- Remind your crews that flying the entire RNAV track with "ILS" type precision is vitally important to maintaining separation with adjacent tracks using the RNAV departure procedures.
- If the FMS fails after departure or if there is any indication that the aircraft is going to turn towards the other departure runway complex without ATC authorization, continue flying runway heading and inform ATC that you need a vector. Under no circumstances should the aircraft turn toward the other runway complex without ATC authorization.
- Effective Friday, January 15, 2010 at DFW airport, the tower controllers will be retaining the departure aircraft on tower frequency a little longer than in the past. This is to allow the tower controller more time to ensure that each aircraft track is in conformance with their assigned clearance/route of flight.
In response to the recent spike in RNAV track anomalies at DFW, American Airlines has developed a pilot bulletin for dissemination. The purpose of the bulletin is to reemphasize the importance of flying the procedures with precision. While some of the information provided in this American Airlines information bulletin is not applicable to aircraft operations conducted under parts 91 or 135, the concepts in the bulletin are critical. Individual Standard Operating Procedures may have to be modified to accommodate the characteristics of specific avionics equipment.
For further information on this topic specific to Dallas Fort Worth, contact:
Traffic Management Officer
DFW Tower/TRACON/Metroplex District Traffic Management
Las Vegas (LAS) STAVV Departure and Pre-Departure Clearances
There have been instances where a pilot has received a Pre-Departure Clearance (PDC), but does not read and/or check the entire clearance for any amendments. When this happens, the pilot then flies the wrong departure procedure placing the aircraft in a potentially dangerous situation.
This is extremely prevalent with aircraft "not flying the STAVV departure when departing runway 25L/R." On the STAVV departure, the aircraft should make a right turn shortly after departure. The tower and radar air traffic controllers expect the aircraft to turn right and plan accordingly for separation purposes between aircraft.
Imagine the controllers reaction when the departure suddenly turns left towards another aircraft! The result is a Pilot Deviation and sometimes the pilot is charged with a Pilot Deviation with a Loss of Separation. In the ensuing investigation, the pilot usually discovers that there was an amendment to his/her clearance and that they had not read the PDC completely.
Las Vegas Air Traffic Control requests the following actions of operators:
- Immediately get word out to crews to read the entire PDC, looking for any change or amendment. If the crews have any questions, they can call Clearance Delivery and request clarification of the clearance they received.
- Consider primacy in the human factors equation. Many operators have "canned" departure clearances that are in the ZLA Host Computer Data Base. The crews may be pre-briefed (while still in the in ops area) on the departure procedure (DP) that they can expect (i.e., TRALR Departure). Since they are now "conditioned" for that clearance, when they see the DP in the PDC that they were to expect (i.e., TRALR), they stop looking any further even though the clearance has been amended. Las Vegas ATC has noticed that this happens quite often when they have changed from one runway configuration back to a 19/25 configuration.
For further information on this topic specific to Las Vegas, contact:
J. Scott De Hart
Traffic Management Officer
Las Vegas District
NBAA Access Committee Guidance on RNAV Departure Procedures
While it is acknowledged that not all RNAV procedures and database codings will result in consistent, identical, precise and repeatable ground tracks, the most important concepts for "RNAV off the Ground" operations are:
- Standard Operating Practices (SOPs) should ensure that the crew has loaded the correct runway, Standard Instrument Departure (SID) and SID transition.
- During takeoff and departure, crews should arm/engage lateral navigation (LNAV) as soon as Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) limitations permit and then follow the flight director (FD) guidance. Never hand fly the procedures.
- The ONLY time manual intervention should be required is the case of an inadvertent, gross deviation toward a parallel runway. For example: the aircraft appears to be tracking toward a fix associated with the parallel runway (see note number 1)
- During LNAV operations, manual intervention should never be used to correct for drift. Follow the LNAV guidance.
Even in conditions of strong crosswind, the differences in ground tracks between airplanes whose flight management systems (FMS) employ VA vs. CA legs will not be sufficiently different to require manual intervention - i.e., loss of separation will not be an issue provided the correct runway, SID and transition have been loaded into the active route. Generally speaking, the VA legs are relatively short. Crews should continue to follow the LNAV FD guidance throughout the procedure.
NBAA continues to work with Industry and FAA toward the goal of developing RNP procedures with better, more repeatable flight tracks.
Philadelphia International Airport RNAV SID Implementation
Four runway specific RNAV Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) will be implemented on April 1, 2010 at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). A pre-implementation telcon for these procedures will be conducted by the FAA on March 24th at 10:00 AM EDT. The call in number is (404) 305-7351 and the access code is 4586. Operators with terminal RNAV capability on their aircraft that fly in and out of PHL are encouraged to participate in the call.
The FAA has released the following additional information on the RNAV SIDs implementation at Philadelphia International Airport.
FAA GENOT 09001 Operation on U.S. Area Navigation (RNAV) Routes, Standard Terminal Arrivals, and Departure Procedures
The FAA published General Notice 09001 which contains updated guidance on the pre-departure receiver autonomous integrity monitoring (RAIM) prediction required when TSO-C129 global positioning system (GPS) equipment is solely used to satisfy the area navigation (RNAV) requirement to fly U.S. RNAV routes, RNAV STARs and RNAV DPs subject to FAA Advisory Circular 90-100A. Until June 30, 2009, pre-departure RAIM prediction is not required for any RNAV route conducted where ATC radar monitoring is provided or the procedure is noted "Radar Required." Effective July 1, operators filing RNAV 1 routes (Q & T), RNAV 1 STARs and RNAV 1 DPs will need to perform a RAIM prediction as part of their preflight planning.