WAAS–Based Approaches Now Outnumber ILS’s

To be correct, we should really be calling them Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (or LPV) approaches; but most pilots simply refer to them as "WAAS" approaches. That's because they are based on the Wide Area Augmentation System for GPS enhancement. Now that the FAA has commissioned the 1,333rd such approach, they officially outnumber the stalwart ILS-technology so old that its initials stand for 'Instrument Landing System,' as if there ought never to be any other kind. LPV approaches are desirable because, being satellite based, they do not require the clear areas and extensive ground radio equipment of an ILS, consequently costing a fraction of the investment involved in installing ILS capability-usually millions of dollars. The LPV approaches do still have their limitations but with the FAA planning to add 500 new ones per year, the agency clearly views the technology as the wave of the future.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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