CAA sets up GPS approach trials for general aviation

March 30, 2006

London, 29 March 2006

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced a trial of Global Positioning System (GPS) approaches for general aviation aircraft at six UK airports.

UK CAA licensed pilots flying UK registered aircraft fitted with GPS equipment fully approved in accordance with Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) yellow 205 for Non-Precision Approach (NPA) operations are invited to take part in the trial, which runs from May to October 2006. For reasons of safety the trial approaches are only to be flown in good visibility.

The six participating airports, for which GPS NPA procedures have been designed, are Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Exeter, Gloucestershire, Inverness and Shoreham. Pilots and air traffic control units will post, immediately after flight, reports on a discrete website for analysis.

Ron Elder, Head of the CAA's Safety Regulation Group's Licensing Standards Division, said: "Pilot and air traffic control reports will not be seen by the CAA but will be managed independently by Leeds University and Imperial College, London."

The results of the trial, to be published in early 2007, are expected to enable the CAA to assess whether the use of GPS approaches is safe and practicable in terms of design and flight management aspects, and is therefore fit for approval.

Further information, including the necessary briefings to take part in the trial, may be obtained from UK Aeronautical Information Package (AIP) Supplement and AIC number 50 (yellow 205) 'UK Trial of RNAV (GNSS) Instrument Approach Procedures' at Pilots can log on to to register their participation in the trials.

For media enquiries contact Jonathan Nicholson on 020 7453 60.

Notes for Editors:

GPS is a satellite positioning system owned by the United States Department of Defense for use on land, sea and in the air; and it is freely available to all classes of users. It will be a major component of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) designated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

GPS NPA operations are in use in other states; however the purpose of the CAA trials is to determine the safety aspect specific to the UK aviation environment.

Safety will be maintained throughout the trial by ensuring that flights are conducted in visual meteorological conditions (VMC).

The CAA is the UK's independent aviation regulator, with all civil aviation regulatory functions (economic regulation, airspace policy, safety regulation and consumer protection) integrated in a single specialist body.

UK Civil Aviation Authority
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