Southwest Pilots Begin Flying
RNP Efficient Procedures At 11 Airports
January 13, 2011 - Now ready for departure, Southwest Airlines' Pilots begin Required Navigation Performance (RNP) efficient flight procedures at 11 airports nationwide.
This major milestone is to reduce environmental impact
with a more efficient operation and to assist the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on NextGen
It is the culmination of a four-year project with partners Boeing, GE, and Honeywell. RNP is satellite-based navigation that brings together the accuracy of GPS (Global Positioning System), the capabilities of advanced aircraft avionics, and new flight procedures.
"RNP sets the stage for Southwest to continue doing its part to conserve fuel, improve safety, and reduce carbon emissions and Greenhouse gases, while simultaneously taking advantage of the high-performance characteristics that exist in an airline's fleet," said Captain Jeff Martin, Southwest's Vice President of the Operations Coordination Center. "The efficiencies RNP introduces help Southwest be a good neighbor while also maintaining our low fares."
Aviation?s flight management system TrueCourse is providing the
technology to enable Southwest Airlines? pilots to begin flying
Required Navigation Performance (RNP). TrueCourse is standard on
all Boeing 737 aircraft. RNP is a satellite-based navigation
that brings together the accuracy of GPS, the capabilities of
advanced aircraft avionics, and new flight procedures.
enables operators to fly the most efficient RNP operations
available,? said Chris Beaufait, president of Avionics for GE
Aviation Systems. ?Southwest is well equipped and is positioning
to lead the way in the expansive use of these approved routes
realizing fuel, emission and noise reductions.?
The TrueCourse flight management system controls the aircraft track to an accuracy of 10 meters (33 feet) and the time of arrival to within 10 seconds to any point in the flight plan. Benefits include the ability to fly shorter flight paths and idle-thrust descents which reduces fuel consumption, thereby lowering emissions and community noise levels. Software and hardware updates provide the latest technology to continue to meet the needs of the world?s evolving airspace requirements, offering safe and efficient improvements to aircraft operations and dispatch reliability.
Pilots and Dispatchers now follow these new efficient flight procedures
and enhanced avionics to fly specifically designed satellite-based
navigation approaches to many Southwest airports. The primary airports
with efficient RNP procedures include Amarillo, Birmingham, Boise,
Corpus Christi*, Los Angeles, Chicago Midway, Oakland, Oklahoma City,
West Palm Beach, Raleigh-Durham, and San Jose.
procedures designed at 11 Southwest airports, the Southwest's projected
savings is $16 million a year, with an anticipated savings of more than
$60 million per year once all Southwest airports have efficient RNP
procedures. "RNP is a significant step in the future for the NextGen Air
Traffic Control system," said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest's Executive
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "This milestone culminates
substantial efforts by our Company working with the FAA to position
Southwest as a leading participant in a modernized air traffic control
In addition to
modifying 345 Boeing 737-700s with new flight display software and
ensuring that all new aircraft are RNP ready, this cross-company effort
involving Technology, Maintenance & Engineering, and the
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