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Navigation Paths Donated To Improve Access For Chinese Relief

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GE Aviation
: 05 May, 2010  (Application Story)
In response to earthquake aid requirements in China’s Qinghai Province, GE Aviation has donated performance based navigation paths to relieve air carriers flights with emergency supplies
Naverus, part of GE Aviation, has donated advanced navigation paths at Yushu Airport. The new PBN (performance-based navigation) paths will allow Chinese air carriers to speed relief supplies and emergency response efforts to the earthquake stricken area in the Qinghai Province.

Last week, Naverus worked with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and Air China to quickly authorize and validate the RNP (required navigation performance) paths for Air China’s fleet of Airbus A319s. The RNP paths will allow the aircraft to land and take off at the high-altitude airport in periods of poor weather and reduced visibility when conventional navigation methods are ineffective. The new navigation procedures will immediately improve the reliability and frequency of relief flights carrying aid, humanitarian workers and government officials to the stricken area high in the Qingzang Plateau. Air China anticipates flying the new paths to Yushu as early as this week.

“The new RNP procedures at Yushu will greatly improve the ability of Chinese air carriers to speed sorely needed supplies and relief to the area,” said Captain Zhang Jianqiang, deputy director general of flight standards department of CAAC. It was important to implement these procedures as quickly as possible, and we are very pleased with the response. We are grateful for Naverus’ contribution to support the aid efforts,” he said.

The devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake, as reported by the Chinese Earthquake Administration, struck the region on April 14, leaving more than 2,000 people dead and thousands more injured and homeless. Because the airport is located in a remote, mountainous region, access is challenged due to inclement weather and airport restrictions that allow daytime-only aircraft operations. This has made aid delivery to the region difficult and unpredictable.

“Through our extensive work in China, we’ve gotten a first-hand look at how important all-weather access is for remote areas of China,” said Captain Steve Fulton, technical fellow with GE's Naverus business. “When CAAC asked, we didn’t hesitate to help. Fortunately, we have experience in that region and were able to use it to speed our response,” Fulton said.

The navigation paths utilize an advanced form of PBN called RNP. PBN unleashes the full potential of the aircraft to fly precisely-defined paths without relying on ground-based radio-navigation signals. RNP insures that the aircraft does not stray from the path, and provides additional navigational flexibility, such as custom-tailored, curved paths through mountainous terrain. Naverus has worked with the CAAC, four Chinese airlines and seven Chinese airports, deploying 85 RNP procedures in China since 2004.

One of the many benefits of RNP is its ability to guide safe, all-weather, day and night aircraft operations at mountainous airports such as Yushu. At 12,800 feet above sea level, and 11 miles outside Gyegu Town, Yushu is among the highest civil airports in China.
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