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Key benefits of PBN
The introduction of PBN allows pilots, operators and air traffic control to make the best use of recent huge advances in navigation technology and brings increased safety, efficiency and environmental benefits, including:
- Reduced separation standards for all phases of flight. As the skies become busier, PBN allows the most efficient use of available airspace, through appropriately managed reductions in separation standards and track miles flown during the en-route, approach and landing phases.
- Reduced track miles/fuel burn/carbon dioxide emissions during landing approaches. PBN technology has the real potential to reduce unproductive flight time, unnecessary delays and fuel burn, providing obvious economic benefits to operators and the environment.
- PBN and GNSS allow straight-in approaches to be designed for most runways. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) data shows that straight-in approaches are 25 times safer than circling approaches. Adding vertical guidance to the approach brings a further safety gain.
- Approaches with vertical guidance, where the aircraft has both lateral and vertical navigation capability, are a further eight times safer than approaches without vertical guidance, so are a significant safety enhancement. Currently the only approaches with vertical guidance available in Australia (apart from ILS) are Baro-VNAV, where aircraft barometric altitude is used to control the aircraft to a defined vertical path. These approaches are limited to aircraft that have accurate barometric altimetry systems and to aerodromes that have barometric pressure measurement and broadcast systems.
- Lack of vertical guidance during instrument approach to land operations is a major contributing factor to accidents involving controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). Such accidents almost always result in 100 per cent fatalities. Recent accidents in Australia, or involving Australians, include Lockhart River, Queensland (2005): 15 killed; and Kokoda, PNG (2009): 13 killed.
- Reduced reliance on terrestrial radio-navigation aid infrastructure through widespread use of GNSS-enabled PBN will permit a widespread reduction of ground navigation aids. Approaches at the majority of the 300 aerodromes in Australia that have radio-navigation aids are flown with lateral guidance only, using non-directional beacons (NDB) and VHF omni-range (VOR) radio-navigation aids. These navigation aids are 70-year-old technology, which is becoming increasingly expensive to install and maintain.
- Global harmonisation—ICAO’s PBN navigation standards are being applied worldwide for use by any authorised operator from any ICAO state. This means that certifying both operators and aircraft will be much easier, and aircraft will be built to common global standards.