The Denver metroplex now has one of the nation’s most comprehensive operational networks of FAA’s Performance Based Navigation (PBN)
procedures for aircraft arrivals and departures.
A metroplex in FAA parlance is a metropolitan
area with airspace encompassing several airports,
including one with multiple runways. High density
traffic includes different types of aircraft such as
air carrier and general aviation. The metroplex
effort aims to improve airport access and help
deconflict traffic flows. The interdependency of
operations calls for solutions that address metroplex
performance as driven by a system of airports.
In the Denver area, six airports now have new
procedures, including Denver International and five
others that serve mostly general aviation aircraft
ranging from business jets to piston-powered types.
The network of 51 new PBN procedures became
operational in the Denver metroplex between
December 2012 and June 2013. These procedures
already are reducing fuel burn and emissions and
enhancing safety with more stable approaches and
fewer go-arounds, among other benefits.
New PBN departure and arrival procedures
are fully operational at Denver. In addition to 21
Standard Terminal Arrival Route (STAR) with
Optimized Profile Descent (OPD) capabilities,
there are 16 new area navigation (RNAV) Standard
Instrument Departures (SIDs) up and running.
Two types of PBN approach procedures are also
now in service, including 12 Required Navigation
Performance Authorization Required (RNP AR)
approaches that went operational in June and two
RNAV Global Positioning System (GPS) procedures.
The STAR procedure with OPD capability is
the NextGen gold standard for efficient, cost-saving arrivals with lower aircraft exhaust
emissions at metroplexes, and FAA is working on
improvements at a variety of metroplex locations.
The 21 new STAR procedures with OPDs
have been operational at the Denver metroplex
since January 2013, and the new capability is
already providing benefits. In addition to Denver
International, which is the fifth busiest airport
in the country in terms of passenger traffic, the
Denver metroplex area includes Centennial
Airport, one of the 10 most active airports for
domestic business jet operations in the country.
Centennial sits underneath the Class B airspace
of Denver International just 13 miles from
downtown Denver. “I didn’t think it would be
possible to include the reliever airports in the
Denver area in the PBN project, but we were
approached by the FAA,” said airport Executive
Director Robert Olislagers, A.A.E. He added that
the FAA officials involved in the effort were very
Network in Denver BY DAVID HUGHES