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Protected Airspace for Circling Approaches To Expand

The FAA will begin publishing instrument approaches that use larger circling-approach airspace dimensions on May 2, addressing industry safety groups' assertions that the radii were "insufficient to contain large, jet transport airplanes during the circle-to-land maneuver," according to NBAA. This increase in circling protected airspace will provide improved lateral clearance from obstacles, while allowing additional maneuvering room to assist pilots in stabilizing the final approach and landing, the association noted. The lack of maneuvering room in circling approaches has led to an increased frequency of runway overruns after circle-to-land approaches, NBAA said. U.S. terminal procedures approach charts will have a "Negative C" circle icon, and Jeppesen charts a "Negative C" diamond icon, to identify circling minimums that use the new expanded circling area dimensions. Circling minimums without these icons still use the smaller circling area dimensions, NBAA said. Under the expanded minimums, circling radii could be up to 1 nm larger than they were previously. NBAA has set up a dedicated web page to explain these changes (

Source: Aviation International News AINalerts, 23 Apr 2013 (

FAA Changes Alternate Airport GPS Policy

A change in FAA policy that allows the use of GPS approaches at alternate airports should be welcome news for pilots. "Operators are now permitted to file a flight plan for a GPS approach at either the destination or an alternate, but not both," according to NBAA. The new policy took effect on April 4. Previously pilots could fly GPS approaches only at the destination airport. "Allowing operators to plan for GPS approaches at alternate airports provides more flexibility and will help alleviate delays," according to NBAA, which notes that the change is especially important in the context of looming sequestration cuts. The policy change, according to the FAA, is based "on research that demonstrated a satisfactorily low probability of a missed approach or diversion and an even more remote probability concerning loss of navigation." To take advantage of the new policy, aircraft must have GPS-based nav systems with fault detection and exclusion capability; pilots must perform a Raim prediction for the airport with the GPS approach and have the required knowledge and training; and the conventional approach at either the destination or alternate must be flyable without GPS.

Source: Aviation International News AINalerts, 9 Apr 2013 (

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