You Don’t Need an LOA for RNAV… Unless You Do!

Part 91 operators aren’t required to obtain a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for RNAV or GPS-based ILS procedures (also called RNP APCH). So why does the FAA offer such an LOA – what’s the point? AviationManuals explains.

In the US, RNAV procedures are commonplace. That’s because the FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) – a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) that augments GPS to improve its accuracy, integrity and availability – has been helping pilots land at small and regional airports around the country for years. Because of this history, Part 91 operators do not need a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to use RNP APCH procedures within the US.

Outside the US, however, it’s a different story.

As SBAS is so effective at opening up small and regional airports to general and business aviation traffic, many other regions are now building their own SBAS systems. For example, Europe’s EGNOS system is already fully operational and capable of augmenting both GPS and Galileo signals.

First the good news…

For international operators, the good news is your WAAS-capable avionics is most likely fully compatible with many of these other systems, so you can already take advantage of these new satellite-based procedures.

The not so good news, however, is that in order to do so, you first have to show that you are authorized to fly RNAV procedures.

This is because unlike in the US, in Europe, for example, these procedures are a relatively new concept that require not only that an aircraft have the corresponding airworthiness approval, but also that the pilots have the appropriate training, checking standards and operational procedures in place.

You can’t go wrong with an LOA

Although in Europe, EASA is working to amend some of these regulations, as a general rule, all operators are required to follow the necessary operational procedures. CAT operators must therefore amend their operational manual accordingly as part of their air operator approval. But don’t worry, there’s no additional training required. All you need to do is to get an LOA C052 from the FAA, which shows that your aircraft is capable of SBAS-augmented approaches.

If you frequently conduct international operations, it’s probably a good idea to add this authorization to your LOAs. On the one hand, this covers you in any country that does require specific authorization for RNAV procedures, such as Hong Kong. On the other hand, even where such authorization isn’t required, a country, such as the UK, may require you to have a valid state authorization in order to use MDA as a DA/DH with the approach. The MDA as DA/DH authorization is given under LOA C073, and a prerequisite for this is – you guessed it – the C052.

AviationManuals is able to assist you in obtaining both a C052 and C073 authorization. The overall process is simple and affordable and dovetails easily with your existing International Operations Manual. Contact us today for a quote.