[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 149 (Friday, August 2, 2013)]
[Pages 47047-47048]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-17940]



Federal Aviation Administration

[Docket No. FAA-2013-0265]

Proposed Policy for Discontinuance of Certain Instrument Approach 

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed policy and request for comment.


SUMMARY: As, new technology facilitates the introduction of area 
navigation (RNAV) instrument approach procedures over the past decade, 
the number of procedures available in the National Airspace System has 
nearly doubled. The complexity and cost to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA) of maintaining the existing ground based 
navigational infrastructure while expanding the new RNAV capability is 
not sustainable. The FAA is considering the cancellation of certain 
Non-directional Beacon (NDB) and Very High Frequency (VHF) 
Omnidirectional Radio Range (VOR) instrument approach procedures (IAP) 
at airports that have multiple instrument approach procedures. The FAA 
proposes specific criteria to guide the identification and selection of 
appropriate NDB and VOR instrument approach procedures that can be 
considered for cancellation. The VOR IAPs associated with this 
cancellation initiative would be selected from the criteria outlined 
below. This Notice is not a part of the FAA's VOR minimum operating 
network (MON) initiative.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 1, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number 2013-0265 using 
any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room 
W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket 
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at (202) 493-2251.
     Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, 
without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the 
docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all 
comments received into any FAA dockets, including the name of the 
individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an 
association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 
2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.
     Docket: Background documents or comments received may be 
read at http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online 
instructions for accessing the docket or Docket Operations in Room W12-
140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. This proposal is subject to change after 
review of public comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions concerning this action, 
contact Mr. Larry Strout, Aeronautical Navigational Products, Terminal 
Products Group, Central Products Team Manager, Air Traffic 
Organization, AJV-353, Federal Aviation Administration, 6500 S. 
MacArthur BLVD, Oklahoma City, OK 73169; telephone (405) 954-5070, 
email [email protected].



    Title 49 of the United States Code, section 40103, vests the 
Administrator with broad authority to regulate the safe and efficient 
use of the navigable airspace. The Administrator is authorized to issue 
rules and regulations to govern the flight, navigation, protection, and 
identification of aircraft for the protection of persons and property 
on the ground, and for the efficient use of the navigable airspace (49 
U.S.C. 40103(b)). The Administrator also is authorized under Sec.  
44701(a)(5) to promote safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by 
prescribing regulations and minimum standards for other practices, 
methods, and procedures necessary for safety in air commerce and 
national security.


    The FAA is continuing to expand the availability and capability of 
area navigation (RNAV) to improve safety and efficiency within the 
National Airspace System (NAS). A major enhancement is the introduction 
of Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) capable RNAV instrument 
approach procedures that provide for near-precision vertical guidance.
    As a result of new RNAV instrument approach procedures, the number 
of instrument approach procedures available to the public has nearly 
doubled over the past decade and will continue to grow with the 
public's demand for new WAAS procedures. The complexity and cost of 
maintaining existing ground-based navigational infrastructure while 
expanding new RNAV capability is exceeding the FAA's current staffing 
and budget allocations and projections over the next five years. To 
meet the public's demand for WAAS capable RNAV procedures, the FAA must 
manage the growth in the number of instrument approach procedures and 
finds that certain redundant ground-based procedures can be eliminated 
without affecting safety or access to airports.
    To help identify viable strategies for cancellation of ground-based 
procedures, the FAA awarded a grant to the Flight Safety Foundation. In 
conducting its research, the Flight Safety Foundation held meetings 
with FAA and Department of Defense (DOD) personnel and key industry 
interest groups. Outreach conducted by the Foundation identified that 
most NDB procedures are no longer desired, except in support of certain 
DOD operations and flight schools. The Flight Safety Foundation also 
found user support for cancelling some VOR procedures when multiple 
IAPs are available. Results of the Flight Safety Foundation study were 
published in the report titled ``A Recommended Process: Safely Reducing 
Redundant or Underutilized Instrument Approach Procedures.'' The report 
is available for review at: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/procedures/reports/media/FAA_Grant_Flight_Safety_Foundation_Inc-2010G023.pdf.
    By this notice, the FAA seeks comments on proposed criteria that 
would facilitate the FAA's determination of which procedures can be 
considered for cancellation. After reviewing the comments submitted to 
this notice, the FAA will use the criteria for selection of potential 
NDB and VOR procedures for cancellation. Once the criteria are 
established and the FAA

[[Page 47048]]

considers IAPs for cancellation, the FAA will publish a list of 
potential IAPs in the Federal Register for notice and comment. 
Submitted comments will be reviewed and addressed in the final list of 
subject IAPs published in the Federal Register. The criteria proposed 
in this notice does not affect any NAS navigational back-up plans and 
is not a part of the FAA's VOR minimum operating network (MON) 

Proposed Policy

    The NDB and VOR IAPs recommended for cancellation would be selected 
at airports using the following criteria. It must be noted that all 
airports that have existing RNAV and ground-based IAPs would maintain 
at least one RNAV and one ground-based IAP.
    Airports that would be considered for NDB or VOR IAP cancellation:

-- All airports with an NDB IAP.
--All airports with a VOR/DME RNAV IAP, unless it is the only IAP at 
the airport.
--All airports with two or more ground-based IAPs and an RNAV IAP.
--All airports with multiple, redundant ground-based IAPs (e.g., three 
VOR procedures).

    Additional consideration would be given to the following factors in 
determining the list of potential candidates for cancellation:

--Prevailing wind runways.
--Prevailing runway alignment during adverse weather operations.
--If an airport has a published ILS IAP and additional ground-based 
IAPs, cancel the procedure to the same runway as the ILS.
--For airports with multiple VOR and NDB IAP's, retain the IAP with the 
lowest minimums (if minimums are within 20 feet of each other retain 
the procedure that allows optimum use by all customers (i.e. VOR and 
VOR/DME retain VOR because there are no equipage limitations).

    Airports that would not be considered for NDB or VOR IAP 

--Airport with only RNAV/RNPs IAPs published.
--Airport with only one ground-based procedure.
--Airports will not be considered if cancellation would result in 
removing all IAPs from the airport.

    Lastly, the FAA is not considering the following types of 
procedures for cancellation:

PBN Procedures (RNAV or RNP).
ILS procedures.
Localizer procedures.
TACAN procedures.
Standard Instrument Arrivals (STARs).
Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs).

Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested parties to submit written comments, 
data, or views. The agency also invites comments relating to the 
economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might 
result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful 
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the 
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To 
ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters 
should send only one copy of written comments or, if comments are filed 
electronically, commenters should submit only one time.
    The FAA will file in the docket all comments it receives. Before 
acting on this proposal, the FAA will consider all comments it receives 
on or before the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider 
comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to 
do so without incurring expense or delay. The agency may change this 
proposal in light of the comments it receives.
    Proprietary or Confidential Business Information: Commenters should 
not file proprietary or confidential business information in the 
docket. Such information must be sent or delivered directly to the 
person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document, and marked as proprietary or confidential. If submitting 
information on a disk or CD-ROM, mark the outside of the disk or CD-
ROM, and identify electronically within the disk or CD-ROM the specific 
information that is proprietary or confidential.
    Under 14 CFR 11.35(b), the FAA is aware of proprietary information 
filed with a comment, the agency does not place it in the docket. It is 
held in a separate file to which the public does not have access and 
the FAA places a note in the docket that it has received it. If the FAA 
receives a request to examine or copy this information, it treats it as 
any other request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). 
The FAA processes such a request under Department of Transportation 
procedures found in 49 CFR part 7.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on July 19, 2013.
Abigail Smith,
Aeronautical Navigation Products, Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-17940 Filed 8-1-13; 8:45 am]