Approaches (Part Twelve)

Advantages Of WAAS Enabled LPV Approaches

The advantages of WAAS enabled LPV approaches include:

  • LPV procedures have no requirement for groundbased transmitters at the airport.
  • No consideration needs to be given to the placement of navigation facility, maintenance of clear zones around the facility, or access to the facility for maintenance.
  • LPV approaches eliminate the need for critical arealimitations associated with an ILS.
  • From a pilot’s viewpoint, an LPV approach looksand flies like an ILS, but the WAAS approach is more stable than that of an ILS.
  • WAAS equipped users can fly RNAV and basic required navigation performance (RNP) procedures, as well as LPV procedures, and the avionics costs are relatively inexpensive considering the total navigation solution provided.

RNAV (GPS) approach charts normally have four lines of approach minimums: LPV, LNAV/VNAV, LNAV, and Circling. Figure 4-12 shows how these minimums might be presented on an approach chart, with the exception of Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) Landing System (GLS). This enables as many GPS equipped aircraft to use the procedure as possible and provides operational flexibility if WAAS becomes unavailable. Some aircraft may only be equipped with GPS receivers so they can fly to the LNAV MDA. Some aircraft equipped with GPS and FMS (with approach-certified barometric vertical navigation, or Baro-VNAV) can fly to the LNAV/VNAV MDA. Flying a WAAS LPV approach requires an aircraft with WAAS-LPV avionics. If for some reason the WAAS service becomes unavailable, all GPS or WAAS equipped aircraft can revert to the LNAV MDA and land safely using GPS only, which is available nearly 100 percent of the time. Some locations will have an LP line of minima on an RNAV (GPS) approach chart; but the use of LP is being phased out. At locations with obstacle penetrations in the missed approach segment, there might be two lines of minima for the same type of navigation- one line with higher approach minima without a specified climb gradient and another line with lower approach minima with a specified climb gradient in the event of missed approach.

Figure 4-12. RNAV GPS approach minima.

Figure 4-12. RNAV GPS approach minima.

LPV identifies WAAS approach with vertical guidance (APV) approach minimums with electronic lateral and vertical guidance capability. LPV is used for approaches constructed with WAAS criteria where the value for the vertical alarm limit is more than 12 meters and less than 50 meters. WAAS avionics equipment approved for LPV approaches is required for this type of approach. The lateral guidance is equivalent to localizer accuracy, and the protected area is considerably smaller than the protected area for the present LNAV and LNAV/VNAV lateral protection. Aircraft can fly this minima line with a statement in the AFM that the installed equipment supports LPV approaches. In Figure 4-12, notice the WAAS information shown in the top left corner of the pilot briefing information on the chart depicted. Below the term WAAS is the WAAS channel number (CH 56202), and the WAAS approach identifier (W35A), indicating Runway 35L in this case, and then a letter to designate the first in a series of procedures to that runway [Figure 4-12].


LNAV/VNAV identifies APV minimums developed to accommodate an RNAV IAP with vertical guidance, usually provided by approach certified Baro-VNAV, but with vertical and lateral integrity limits larger than a precision approach or LPV. Many RNAV systems that have RNP 0.3 or less approach capability are specifically approved in the AFM. Airplanes that are commonly approved in these types of operations include Boeing 737NG, 767, and 777, as well as the Airbus A300 series. Landing minimums are shown as DAs because the approaches are flown using an electronic glide path. Other RNAV systems require special approval. In some cases, the visibility minimums for LNAV/VNAV might be greater than those for LNAV only. This situation occurs because DA on the LNAV/VNAV vertical descent path is farther away from the runway threshold than the LNAV MDA missed approach point.

Also shown in Figure 4-12, is the LNAV minimums line. This minimum is for lateral navigation only, and the approach minimum altitude is published as a MDA. LNAV provides the same level of service as the present GPS stand alone approaches. LNAV supports the following systems: WAAS, when the navigation solution will not support vertical navigation; and GPS navigation systems which are presently authorized to conduct GPS approaches.

Circling minimums that may be used with any type of approach approved RNAV equipment when publication of straight-in approach minimums is not possible.

Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS)

The United States version of the Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) has traditionally been referred to as the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS). The worldwide community has adopted GBAS as the official term for this type of navigation system. To coincide with international terminology, the FAA is also adopting the term GBAS to be consistent with the international community. GBAS is a ground-based augmentation to GPS that focuses its service on the airport area (approximately a 20–30 mile radius) for precision approach, DPs, and terminal area operations. It broadcasts its correction message via a very high frequency (VHF) radio data link from a ground-based transmitter. GBAS yields the extremely high accuracy, availability, and integrity necessary for Category I, II, and III precision approaches and provides the ability for flexible, curved approach paths. GBAS demonstrated accuracy is less than one meter in both the horizontal and vertical axis. [Figure 4-13]

Figure 4-13. GBAS architecture.

Figure 4-13. GBAS architecture. [click image to enlarge]

The GBAS augments the GPS to improve aircraft safety during airport approaches and landings. It is expected that the end state configuration will pinpoint the aircraft’s position to within one meter or less with a significant improvement in service flexibility and user operating costs.


GBAS is comprised of ground equipment and avionics. The ground equipment includes four reference receivers, a GBAS ground facility, and a VHF data broadcast transmitter. This ground equipment is complemented by GBAS avionics installed on the aircraft. Signals from GPS satellites are received by the GBAS GPS reference receivers (four receivers for each GBAS) at the GBAS equipped airport. The reference receivers calculate their position using GPS. The GPS reference receivers and GBAS ground facility work together to measure errors in GPS provided position.

The GBAS ground facility produces a GBAS correction message based on the difference between actual and GPS calculated position. Included in this message is suitable integrity parameters and approach path information. This GBAS correction message is then sent to a VHF data broadcast (VDB) transmitter. The VDB broadcasts the GBAS signal throughout the GBAS coverage area to avionics in GBAS equipped aircraft. GBAS provides its service to a local area (approximately a 20–30 mile radius). The signal coverage is designed support the aircraft’s transition from en route airspace into and throughout the terminal area airspace.

The GBAS equipment in the aircraft uses the corrections provided on position, velocity, and time to guide the aircraft safely to the runway. This signal provides ILS look alike guidance as low as 200 feet above touchdown. GBAS will eventually support landings all the way to the runway surface. Figure 4-14 is an example of a GBAS (LAAS) approach into Newark, New Jersey.

Figure 4-14. GLS approach at Newark, New Jersey.

Figure 4-14. GLS approach at Newark, New Jersey.