Landing at Some of the Most Challenging Airports with New Software and Connectivity Pilot Tools

March 30, 2017 | Author: Nate Turner

Landing an airliner or business jet full of passengers is a huge responsibility for pilots, especially when they’re faced with adverse conditions like turbulence, brutal crosswinds, mountainous terrain and busy airspaces. Thankfully, the latest in software and connectivity enabled pilot tools is improving flight safety and making landings easier for commercial and business aviation pilots with precision landing technology and new mobile applications that are more robust than ever.

In my experience, navigating mountainous terrain, valleys and canyons is difficult when flying into any airport. Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, for example, requires special training because of its challenging approaches and departures. Mountainous terrain surrounds Juneau International Airport and Mammoth Yosemite Airport, requiring additional considerations for pilots to navigate a safe landing. The surrounding mountains and high elevation of Telluride Regional Airport — the highest commercial airport in the U.S. —make landing here especially difficult.

Airports in popular destinations like New York, San Diego and Washington, D.C., often have difficult approaches because of their busy airspace. LaGuardia Airport is one of three airports around New York City, meaning pilots have to negotiate multiple runways with many jets landing in quick succession. San Diego International’s busy and steep approach brings pilots right over the city skyline. Pilots flying into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., must navigate around several no-fly zones and execute a 30- to 40-degree turn close to the Potomac River to line up with the runway.

Having access to high bandwidth and dependable Wi-Fi is incredibly beneficial because the use of iPads and apps in the cockpit is rapidly growing. Honeywell’s GoDirect Flight Preview app helps me prepare for a landing by increasing my situational awareness around a destination airport. It gives me a unique, 3-D view of an approach, which no other approach app currently offers. I can see runway highlights, waypoints and altitude constraints in 3-D to help me envision a realistic landing.

Having the Flight Preview app readily available in the cockpit has helped me better prepare for a landing before I touch down. It helps me get comfortable with a difficult approach, which improves my confidence in getting passengers safely into any airport.

Check out Honeywell’s top 10 list of challenging U.S. airports and read more about Flight Preview and other technology and services pilots use to land safely — whatever the challenge.


Nate Turner

Nate Turner

Turner started flying as a teenager and went on to earn an aviation management degree and CFII and MEI certificates flying primarily Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons. Turner is a flight instructor and was also a pilot for American Eagle Airlines as a first officer on the ERJ 135/140/145. Tuner joined Honeywell in 2013 and has held multiple roles and responsibilities in helping the company develop next generation avionics and innovative pilot services.

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