Performance-based navigation

Air navigation in continental airspace has transitioned from conventional ground-based radio navigation aids to performance-based navigation (PBN). The shift to PBN enables:

  • more direct routes along a flight path
  • more efficient take-offs and landings.

PBN also results in reduced:

  • fuel burn
  • aircraft emissions
  • airport and airspace congestion.

Performance-based navigation specifications

You should fly ATS routes, terminal procedures, and instrument approach procedures to the following standard PBN navigation specifications where available. This includes:

  • routes in oceanic control area (OCA) – RNP 4 where capable, otherwise RNAV 10 (RNP 10)
  • continental routes – RNP 2
  • terminal procedures (SIDs and STARs) – RNP 1
  • non-precision instrument approach procedures (NPA) – RNP APCH are titled 'RNAV GNSS' on Australian approach charts with LNAV or LNAV/VNAV landing minima. Chart naming conventions are changing to align with international practice. This is under the ICAO PBN Manual (Doc 9613). For example, RNP APCH and RNP AR APCH charts will be renamed ‘RNP RWY XX’ or ‘RNP RWY XX (AR)’ respectively
  • Be aware that an LNAV+V, LP+V, L/V or LPV (localiser performance with vertical guidance) navigation system provides advisory vertical guidance only. It cannot be used for Baro-VNAV operations
  • the approach procedure with Vertical Guidance (APV) includes the following:
    • For aircraft fitted with navigation systems certified for Baro-VNAV approach operations, PBN has also enabled the addition of actual (as opposed to advisory) vertical guidance derived from barometric sources, permitting the use of LNAV/VNAV landing minima. The roll-out of Baro-VNAV in Australia is in line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommendations to establish safer approaches to landing
    • From 2028, Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) enabled APV will be available with the implementation of the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN). See Geoscience Australia for more information on the SouthPAN project.

Learn more in our PBN Regulations eLearning Module.

Navigation specifications

Our PBN legislation includes deeming provisions. This means you don't need to obtain an authorisation from us for some standard PBN navigation specifications if your aircraft is equipped with:

  • particular types of standalone GNSS
  • integrated avionics system using GNSS sensors

For aircraft that do not meet the deeming provisions the owner/operator must apply to us for a navigation approval

Checking your aircraft’s certification

Your aircraft’s navigation equipment may be marked as certified to a technical standard order (TSO) capable of PBN operations.

The aircraft flight manual (AFM) or supplement should include each PBN specification for which the aircraft has an airworthiness approval. This includes RNP 2, RNP 1 or RNP APCH. If you’re unsure, check with the manufacturer.

For some older aircraft, statements in the AFM or AFM supplement declaring the aircraft is approved are acceptable. This applies to approvals for:

  • GPS RNAV LP or LPV operations.

Operating overseas

If you have an Australian registered aircraft and intend to operate overseas, download our Performance-based navigation advice for National Aviation Authorities. This demonstrates you meet the Australian regulatory requirements in case of a ramp check by a foreign national aviation authority.

Navigation authorisations for foreign operations

Australian aircraft operators wanting to operate in the North Atlantic high level airspace must apply to us for a NAT HLA approval, which is based on the NAT Doc 007 Manual. This manual permits suitably equipped and authorised aircraft to operate in the NAT HLA region.

Within Australian-administered airspace (Brisbane and Melbourne FIRs), when foreign registered operators are unable to declare RNP 1 and/or RNP 2 capability on their flight plans because their state of registry doesn’t have a process for including these specifications, they may request an exemption.

An exemption means they can operate in Australia using the PBN en-route continental and terminal procedures for 2 years.

All flights operating in accordance with the exemption will be required to enter RMK/CASA RNP AMC in item 18 of the flight plan for each flight. The flight plan entries should be used as soon as available.

You can include other PBN navigation specifications, such as RNAV 1 and RNAV 2, on the flight plan with flights being provided air traffic services. This is in accordance with the flight planned navigation specification.

Transferring ownership of aircraft

Transferring or changing ownership of an aircraft automatically renders any navigation authorisations invalid. You must notify us of any change and request any required authorisations.

Navigation databases

Your aircraft navigation system must carry a navigation database. This is because navigation under PBN relies on area navigation. Under the requirements of Part 91 of CASR:

  • the database must be valid for the current AIRAC cycle
  • you must load all terminal routes (SIDs, STARs and approaches) from the database. A pilot cannot modify the database
  • operators must get their navigation databases from suppliers holding a Type 2 LOA if conducting the following approach operations:
    • RNP APCH
    • Baro-VNAV
    • Advanced RNP
    • RNP 0.3
    • RNP AR.

Installation notes

Modern electronic display systems and other avionics systems have micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) inertial sensors fitted.

These systems often need either GNSS or pitot-static inputs (or both) to function correctly.

When installing modern equipment, installers need to install systems in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation manual and include all relevant interfaces.

Last updated:
9 Feb 2024
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