GE Study Identifies
Potential Navigation Improvements At Sun Valley Airport
By Mike Mitchell
November 7, 2011 - A GE study of airspace around Sun
Valley Airport has identified significant improvements
in airport access that could be achieved during periods
of inclement weather with the deployment of new,
advanced instrument approach procedures.
The study found that new procedures, using Required
Navigation Performance (RNP) technology, would allow
Bombardier Q400 passenger turboprops, like the ones
operated by Horizon Air, to operate at Sun Valley on
days of low ceiling and visibility that currently force
diversions and cancellations.
Sun Valley Airport (Friedman Memorial Airport) is a city-owned public-use airport located in Hailey, Idaho. The airport is operated by the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority under a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Hailey and Blaine County. It serves Sun Valley and the surrounding areas in the Wood River Valley.
The airport covers an area of 171 acres at an elevation of 5,318
feet above mean sea level. It has one asphalt paved runway
designated 13/31 which measures 7,550 by 100 feet.
addition to lowering decision heights and visibility
requirements for commercial carriers, new RNP procedures could
also provide benefits to general aviation and business aircraft
operators at Sun Valley, depending on aircraft type, crew
training and performance capabilities.
study findings, the deployment of new optimized RNP approach
paths would allow Q400 Turboprops to land at Sun Valley on days
during the year when weather conditions currently prevent them
from operating. Unlike other possible alternatives for improving
access at Sun Valley airport, the deployment of advanced RNP
procedures would require no additional ground infrastructure,
either on or off the airport property.
beauty of RNP is that it relies on performance characteristics
of the aircraft itself, incorporating GPS, advanced
instrumentation and computer-based navigation capabilities, to
define a very precise trajectory. The technology frees the
aircraft from the constraints of ground-based radio-navigation
infrastructureThat means we can continuously improve the
procedures without the need to add additional ground-based
equipment," said GE Aviation Technical Fellow Steve Fulton.
said GE Aviation Technical Fellow Steve Fulton.
RNP procedures are deployed, over time, they could be optimized
to further lower decision heights, reduce visibility
requirements, and allow RNP operations by multiple aircraft
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