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8 Things You Never Knew About RNP Navigation

What is RNP (Required Navigation Performance)? Check it out, and don't miss the really cool video at the end.

1) 3D navigation

RNP is a type of navigation that allows you to fly a defined path between two 3D points. What's so great about that? Your path can be a 3D curve, which is something you can't do with standard navigation techniques.

Mouser Williams

2) Curved approaches around terrain

This is just cool. RNP approach tracks give you the ability to fly precise 3D curved approaches around terrain, like these mountains in Cajamarca, Peru. RNP keeps you away from terrain, and can get you lower in bad weather.

LAN Airlines

3) On-board performance monitoring

RNP is similar to RNAV, with one major difference: RNP requires precise on-board performance monitoring to tell you if your navigation isn't as accurate as it should be. What does the monitoring? On many aircraft, the FMS (Flight Management System).

Martin Deutsch

4) Making approaches easier (and who doesn't love that?)

Alaska Airlines was the first airline in the world to use RNP approaches, flying them into the very difficult Juneau, Alaska airport starting in 1996. They were also the first airline fly RNP approaches into another demanding airport: Reagan National.

AJ Schuster

5) Performance and accuracy

RNP specifies the accuracy you need to fly in a block of airspace. RNP 10 means your navigation system needs to keep you within a 10 nautical mile radius of your intended point. Some instrument approaches require accuracy as little as 0.1 RNP, or 0.1 nautical miles.

Kent Wien

6) Over the open ocean

RNP is often associated with instrument approaches, but it's used in wide open spaces too. RNP 10 and 4 are used in oceanic and remote locations.

Marcelo Tourne

7) Fuel savings

Aircraft using RNP can fly more direct routes, especially as they get close to their destination airport, and that means fuel savings. Alaska Airlines estimates they saved $19 million dollars in 2011 by flying RNP approaches.

Deni Williams

8) Really cool approaches

RNP is an incredibly useful tool, but there's another benefit. Without it, you wouldn't have cool approaches like this into Queenstown, New Zealand. Check it out.

Source: Wikipedia

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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