What’s The Difference Between LPV and LNAV/VNAV Approaches?

Colin Cutler – BoldMethod

It wasn’t that long ago when you only had one kind of approach with vertical guidance: the ILS. And if you weren’t flying an ILS, you were managing step-down altitudes on a non-precision approach.

Now, all of that has changed. Over the past several years, the FAA has created GPS based LPV and LNAV/VNAV approaches at thousands of airports across the US. With GPS, the number of approaches with vertical guidance has tripled. But in many ways, so has the confusion.

So what’s the difference between LPV and LNAV/VNAV approaches? They’re both GPS based approaches with vertical guidance, but the similarities end there.

LPV: Localizer Performance With Vertical Guidance

LPV approaches are a WAAS/GPS based approach, and they’re very similar to the ILS. But there is a difference. Even though LPV approaches have vertical guidance, they’re not considered precision approaches. Instead, they’re an approach with vertical guidance (APV).

So what’s the difference? APV approaches don’t meet the ICAO and FAA precision approach definitions, which apply mostly to localizer and glideslope transmitters. The precision approach definition also carries a lot of documentation, definition, and cost with it, so the FAA and ICAO adopted the APV definition, so they could build new approaches and not be burdened with the cost and paperwork.

So how do they work? The extremely accurate WAAS system (7.6 meters or better accuracy) gives you lateral and vertical guidance down to a decision altitude (DA) like an ILS. And, just like an ILS, an LPV approach’s angular guidance gets more sensitive the closer you get to the runway. Keep in mind though, to fly them, you need a WAAS receiver. A baro-aided GPS won’t work.


There’s definitely an advantage to LPV. Unlike an ILS, which gets more and more sensitive and difficult to fly near and below DA, the scaling on an LPV approach transitions to a linear scaling as you approach the runway. It has a total course width of 700′ (usually) at the runway threshold. That 700′ of width at the threshold is the same as an ILS localizer at the threshold, but it doesn’t get any tighter than that as you continue to touchdown.

LPV approaches get you low as well. Like an ILS, most LPV approaches will get you down to 200′ above touchdown, with 1/2 mile visibility.


But there is a downside. Since LPV approaches aren’t considered precision approaches, you can’t use precision alternate minimums for airports that only have LPV.

According to the FAA, if you’re using an airport with LPV only (no ILS or other ground-based navaid approach) as your alternate airport, you need weather minimums that meet the LNAV or circling MDA, or the LNVA/VNAV DA if you’re equipped to fly it. (There are a few more details as well, which you can find in AIM 1-2-3, paragraph D.)

LNAV/VNAV: Lateral Navigation/Vertical Navigation

The second type of GPS based APV approach is LNAV/VNAV. LNAV/VNAV approaches were actually the first type of GPS approach that had vertical guidance. They were originally designed for baro-aided GPS units, but most WAAS receivers can use them today as well.

Unlike LPV approaches, LNAV/VNAV approaches don’t have increasing angular guidance as you approach the runway. Instead, they’re just like an LNAV only approach, decreasing to 0.3 NM sensitivity when you’re within 2 miles of the final approach fix, all the way to the missed approach point.


Because the final approach course is linear the entire way to the runway, the lowest an LNAV/VNAV approach can get you is 250′ above touchdown. And because the sensitivity isn’t as high as LPV with WAAS, the obstacle trapezoid (the area the FAA draws to make sure you have safe obstacle clearance on an approach) is much larger for an LNAV/VNAV. Because of that, you typically see LNAV/VNAV minimums higher than 250′ above touchdown for most approaches.


What About LNAV +V?

At some airports, the FAA isn’t able to design LPV or LNAV/VNAV approaches because of terrain and obstacles. When that happens, you’re stuck with the old-school LNAV only approach, complete with step-down altitudes. But when they can, the FAA adds “advisory vertical guidance”, which you see on a WAAS-capable GPS system as “LNAV+V”.

You won’t see the “+V” listed on a chart, but you will see it listed on your GPS unit’s display when you load the approach. That’s because +V capability is specific to the type of GPS unit you have in your plane.


When you fly an LNAV +V approach, you need to use LNAV minimums, but the +V will give you an advisory glide path all the way down the approach. Keep in mind, it’s possible +V could take you below step-down minimums, so you need to keep an eye on your altitudes. But overall, having a glide path generated for you on a non-precision approach is a pretty nice thing to have.

Flying The Approaches Of The Future

You have more choices than ever before on the type of vertically guided approach you fly, and that’s true for almost all instrument airports in the US. Given the increased choices, you have better options to land the direction you want to at your destination. And even with the extra approach types you need to know, having more approaches to pick from makes flying safer and more convenient.

Sharpe receives Master Pilot Award

The Tomohawk

Captain Thomas W Sharpe, of Shady Valley, has been awarded the prestigious Master Pilot Award from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Captain Sharpe, a pilot for more than 50 years, accumulated over 25,000 flight hours, flying many different aircraft. He was a 1967 graduate from Bethany High School in Rockingham County, North Carolina. Tom started his flying career at Greensboro’s Air Harbor Airport while still a student at Bethany High School.

After a tour of duty in the US Air Force, he returned to North Carolina to pursue his dream of flying for Piedmont Airlines. Tom was hired by Piedmont Airlines in 1975, who merged with US Airways in 1989. He recently retired from the airlines after 39 years as a senior captain flying international flights on the Airbus 330.

In addition to holding many type ratings, Tom also holds advanced flight instructor ratings and was a check pilot for the airlines, where he trained and gave proficiency checks to other pilots. Tom has never lost his love of flying and aviation.

He continues to fly general aviation aircraft out of the Johnson County Airport in Mountain City.

The Master Pilot Award was presented by David Simmons of the FAA at a joint event to honor both Tom and his dear friend, Bob Johnson, who recently passed away.

The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. This award is named after the Wright Brothers, the first US pilots, to recognize individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as “Master Pilots”

Flight a milestone for Troutman teen, program

Statesville Record & Landmark

More than 40,000 aircraft now equipped with ADS-B

General Aviation News

More than 40,000 aircraft now equipped with ADS-B

As of Sept, 1, 2017, rule-compliant Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment is now on board more than 40,000 aircraft flying in the United States.

The FAA estimates that 100,000 to 160,000 general aviation aircraft will need to be equipped with ADS-B Out before the Jan. 1, 2020, mandate. The FAA is also offering a $500 rebate to offset an owner’s cost on an eligible aircraft until midnight Sept. 18, 2017.

“We’re now just over two years out from the FAA compliance deadline,” said General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President and CEO Pete Bunce. “As we move forward, knowing that date will not change, it is essential that those operators who haven’t yet make a plan for equipage to avoid having their aircraft grounded and losing its residual value.”

Since the FAA announced the mandate, general aviation manufacturers have worked hard to design, develop, certify and make available ADS-B products that enhance safety at a reasonable cost, GAMA officials said.

Some solutions for light general aviation aircraft are available for a range from $1,200 to $4,000, each providing safety benefits when presented on an ADS-B IN capable display.

“By choosing to equip now, operators are investing in their safety and ensuring they meet the 2020 deadline before installation lines grow long,” added Bunce. “We are very pleased with the continuous growth in equipage, and manufacturers will continue working with the FAA and operators to facilitate equipage as the deadline approaches.”

Area Forecasts Go Away In 2 Months, And It’s Time To Get Used To Their Replacement

Colin Cutler – BoldMethod

primaryAviation Weather Center

When it comes to aviation weather products, very little changes. But two months from now, Area Forecasts (FA) are gone for good.

Now would be a good time to get used to their replacement: the Graphical Area forecast.

Look How Far We’ve Come: The Old Area Forecast

For most pilots, there’s not a lot of love lost for the Area Forecast.

The FA is a jumbled group of weather contractions, along with different effective times for the synopsis, VFR clouds and weather, and the outlook.

The hard-to-read format originated in the 1930s, when character-count limitations required short hand format. Along with that, extremely large geographical areas covered in the forecast meant broad forecasts with limited value.


What Exactly Is Going Away?

Like a bad comic book villain, Area Forecasts aren’t completely dead.

The seven Area Forecasts that are going away are: Boston, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Hawaii.

But the FAs for Alaska, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico won’t be affected (at least not yet).


Good Riddance, Except…

While Area Forecasts aren’t anyone’s favorite weather product, there is one thing that IFR pilots are going to miss: cloud top forecasts.

Until recently, the Area Forecast was the only weather product with cloud top forecasts. And for an IFR pilot flying in the mid-altitudes, those cloud-top forecasts are a big deal.

Sure, there are PIREPs reported during the busiest flying hours of the day, but even those can be hard to come by in the less-traveled parts of the US. And having a solid plan to get out of icing conditions is critical for turbo-piston and turboprop pilots.

What’s The Replacement?

The new Graphical Area Forecast tool has cloud top forecasts too, but there’s a catch.

The new cloud top forecasts are computer model generated, and they’re almost completely automated. When it comes to a gray stratus-cloud type of day, it works pretty well.

But when you’re dealing with a humid, convective day (the type of day you’d expect to see a lot of ice), things get a little iffy. The same is true around frontal systems.

In the old forecast, input from human forecasters helped fix the cloud-top problem areas. In the new system, that isn’t the case, because computers are doing nearly all the work. And because of that, you need to spend a little time double-checking to make sure the cloud tops are what they say they are.


Graphical Area Forecast: There’s A Lot More To It

Aside from the cloud top problem, the new Graphical Area Forecasts is a pretty big step forward.

You can overlay TAFs, ceilings and visibility forecasts, cloud and precip forecasts, thunderstorm probability, winds, turbulence, and ice forecasts over a map in the new product.

And with a handy slider bar, you can zoom through the current hour, up to 15 hours in the future for each one of the forecasts. That’s a lot better than the text-based Area Forecast could ever do.


Information Overload?

But with so much information, the GFA presents another problem: how much is too much?

It takes time to move move through the different menu configurations, then pan and zoom to your route of flight. And once you get configured, depending on the screen, there’s a lot of information. If you’re new to it, it’s easy to get lost, or not know how far out in the forecast you are.


What About EFBs?

The GFA tool was built specifically for the Aviation Weather Center, and because of that, no one is quite sure how the new forecasts are going to be displayed in Foreflight, Garmin Pilot, or any other electronic flight bags out there. For that, only time will tell.

Love It Or Hate It, Graphical Area Forecasts Are Here To Stay

It’s easy to bad-mouth change, especially when it isn’t perfect. But the Graphical Area Forecast is a big step in the right direction, giving you more weather info in one product than anything offered before. And whether you’re planning a local flight, or a 1,000 mile cross-country, it’s one of the most powerful weather tools you can use.


Derek Cosson – The Pulse

This week, Pensacola hotelier Julian MacQueen and his wife Kim will climb into their HondaJet and embark on a three-month, around-the-world trip that will take them to destinations on six continents.

MacQueen is the founder and CEO of Innisfree Hotels, which owns and/or manages 23 hotels in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Michigan, and Vermont. By circumnavigating the globe, he and his wife hope to investigate the role hotels play in community building and to discover what’s possible if they bring more design, culture — and even faith — from around the world back home.

“The world is a community, and you are welcome no matter where you are from,” MacQueen said. “We are all global citizens, and this trip will help connect Innisfree teammates and guests with the world.”

The pair will fly themselves from one destination to the next in their HondaJet, billed as the world’s most advanced light jet. Manufactured by Honda Aircraft Company in Greensboro, North Carolina, the HA-420 HondaJet has a maximum cruise speed of 422 knots (486 mph) and a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet, placing it highest in its class for both speed and altitude, as well as being the most fuel-efficient light jet in its class.

A lifelong aviation enthusiast who earned his pilot’s license at age 15, Julian MacQueen was just the 55th owner of a HondaJet worldwide after purchasing the plane earlier this year. The company’s first commercial aircraft, the HondaJet has a retail price of $4.5 million.

They’re calling the adventure “Around the World in 80 Stays”  — a nod to Jules Verne’s classic 1873 adventure novel — and have invited people to follow along via the website, on Facebook at, or on Instagram and Twitter using the handle @80days80stays.

The trip will take the pair to more than two dozen countries: Colombia, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Dubai, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Taiwan, and Japan.

Both HondaJet and Shepherd Aero, which provides “international trip support for private jet operators and aviation adventurers,” have signed on as sponsors for the trip, which will mark the first around-the-world flight of a HondaJet.

“I am very excited that our esteemed customers decided to use the HondaJet for their world tour,” said Honda Aircraft President & CEO Michimasa Fujino. “I hope many people around the world get to see HondaJet in person and see the high performance, quality and reliability of the aircraft.”

The MacQueens are taking off this week and plan to complete the trip by early-to-mid October.

Birth of the Cobra

By Stephen Joiner Air & Space

Mike Folse proved that a helicopter could fly and shoot at the same time.

Bell Helicopter’s prototype
Bell Helicopter’s prototype for the AH-1G Cobra flies in front of two UH-1 Hueys, the aircraft it was designed to protect. (Bell Helicopter Historical Archives via Ray Wilhite)


First Diamond DA62 in U.S. with Garmin G1000 NXi Delivered in the NC

Diamond Aircraft has delivered the first DA62 diesel twin with the new Garmin G1000 NXi avionics system to a U.S. customer.

LifeStyle Aviation, a Diamond dealer on the East Coast, announced the delivery to North Carolina businessman Mike Case, who said he decided to move up from older general aviation airplanes he’s owned to the latest diesel engine and Garmin avionics technology in the DA62.

“I wanted something that was more technologically advanced, like with the G1000 in a new computer designed airplane as opposed to legacy airplanes,” Case said.

G1000 NXi, which is quickly becoming the standard in new GA airplanes, features much faster processors, crisper displays and extra capabilities compared with the original version of G1000. In the DA62, the avionics system features a unique keyboard integration that places it between the pilots on a pedestal.

“The new Garmin NXi represents next generation avionics capabilities that pilots have been asking for,” said John Armstrong, CEO of LifeStyle Aviation. “We are thrilled to bring this state-of-the-art technology to market, and since all new Diamond aircraft will be produced with the NXi panel going forward, we look forward to helping our clients discover the advantages of these exciting advancements.”

Introduced last year, the DA62 is powered by twin Austro compression ignition engines that burn jet-A and are controlled by fadec.

It’s not a bird, it’s not Superman. It’s a Navion plane

By Alyssa Pressler
Gazette staff

If you’ve driven by the Gastonia Municipal Airport in the last few days, you’ve probably seen some pretty neat, smaller looking planes that aren’t usually there.

The 56th Annual Fly-In of the American Navion Society is taking place in Gastonia this week, which means Navion plane collectors from all over the world flew to the airport Sunday to spend some time in the local area, according to a press release from the city of Gastonia.

Here are the details:

    • Navions are smaller U.S. planes with single-engines and four seats. They were originally built by North American Aviation in the 1940s.
    • This week, pilots from 18 states and several foreign countries are attending the convention, which started Sunday, June 18 and will end Friday, June 23.
    • The convention will have seminars on historical aircraft and will hold contests for the different pilots testing things like speed and efficiency.
  • This is the first time the convention is being held in North Carolina since it was held in Southport in 2007.