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LPV: A Lifeline for Operations

Dec 20, 2017
By: Stacy Honda, Marketing Manager

It’s been nearly 10 years since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced the first Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV) approach procedures in the National Airspace System (NAS). Since then, LPV approach procedures have gained a lot of steam; there are currently over 4,236 available in the United States and Canada. For aircraft equipped with LPV capability, the approach has become a lifeline for their operations.

PAL Airlines is one of the largest independent regional airlines operating in Eastern Canada. They are also one of our operators that rely on LPV approaches for the survival of their daily operations.

For over 15 years, PAL has provided daily scheduled chartered service to Voisey’s Bay Airport (CVB2) with their fleet of Bombardier Dash 8 and de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. Unless it’s a perfectly clear day at CVB2, the sole Area Navigation (RNAV) (GNSS) LPV approach at Runway 29 is a must. As there are no roads into the mining area, the only way to transport employees to/from the site is by air travel. Therefore, it’s crucial that their fleet be able to fly in and out on time to keep the proper staff rotation and mining business on schedule. The LPV approach onto Runway 29 is vital for the success of PAL’s operations.

Problem: Missing LPV Approach

Every 28-days, PAL updates their Flight Management System (FMS) Navigation Databases so they can have the latest information for each airport base. When one of their database cycles was released this year and the LPV approach was taken away from CVB2, they were restricted to day Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in which there’s only a 50% chance of for each day. Therefore, without an LPV approach PAL’s operations were in jeopardy.

Solution: UA Database Team

The Universal Avionics Database team dug into the missing approach and found that it was removed from the source data due to an integrity issue, in that a crucial piece of information sourced from a third party was missing. Keeping close tabs on the issue, Universal was able to coordinate with the data supplier to populate the missing information. The LPV approach was successfully reinstated in the next database cycle – just hours before release, allowing PAL to successfully resume their operations.

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