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Honeywell Receives FAA Approval for Aspen RNAV (RNP) Approach

Honeywell Receives FAA Approval for Aspen RNAV (RNP) Approach

Aspen. It’s one of those airports that makes you tense up. The folks in the back of the airplane are anxious to go skiing, but the weather is marginal and forecast to get a little worse by the time you arrive. There are other things for you to consider, like runway conditions. After all, it’s not abnormal to come in at Vref + 15 to 20, given the high-descent angles and the “dive and drive” conditions the published approaches require. Come across the threshold too hot and you don’t have many options. And yes, there are normal factors like turbulence, tailwinds and nighttime operating limitations you must contend with. Experience may be on your side, but it doesn’t make it any less demanding. Even on a good day for a good aviator – Aspen is challenging.

A new solution

RNAV (RNP), also called RNP AR, was pioneered just for airports like this. Precise turns through mountainous terrain which allows for normal descent rate and speed. Alaska Airlines saw the benefits years ago at Juneau. Their RNAV (RNP) approaches have proven to provide a safe and reliable way to transport the flying public to the airports that don’t have the traditional straight-in five-mile final and three-degree glide path. We now have a solution for Aspen.

Honeywell has developed and received FAA approval for an RNAV (RNP) approach to runway 15 at Aspen, CO. The new Aspen RNAV (RNP) N Rwy 15 approach provides:

  • Lower minimums of 537’ (HAT) - 1 ¼ mile visibility
  • A stable 3.5° approach to the runway
  • Guided missed approach for safe extraction
  • Ability to conduct night operations
  • Ability to conduct approaches with Category D aircraft

The goal of this approach design was to eliminate the “dive and drive” maneuver, prevent excessive holding time waiting for improving weather and reduce diversions caused by high minimums required with current, traditional approaches.

Eligibility for the approach

Like everything else, to get approval for the Aspen RNAV (RNP) approach you need a qualified aircraft, qualified pilots and the proper regulatory approval: FAA letters of authorization (LOA) or Operations Specifications. Operators of non-US registered aircraft should consult their regulatory guidance for RNAV (RNP) and Special Instrument Approaches.

Aircraft Qualification

Honeywell’s Aspen RNAV (RNP) approach requires RNP 0.1 to get the best minimums due to terrain in the missed-approach segment. Eligible aircraft must be certified for:

  • RNAV (RNP) to RNP 0.1 lines of minima
  • RNP less than 1.0 in the missed approach
  • Radius to Fix (RF) legs
  • Currently approved aircraft:  Gulfstream G350/450/550, G500, G600, Dassault F8X

Pilot Qualification

Both pilots must:

  • Be trained for RNAV (RNP) using a training program approved by the regulatory agency.  For operators of US-registered aircraft, this is already a requirement of LOA C384.
  • Review the Aspen RNAV (RNP) Briefing package prior to using the approach. An approved briefing package will be available from Honeywell.

Regulatory Approval

Honeywell’s Aspen RNAV (RNP) approach is considered “Special” because distribution of the procedure is restricted to authorized users. Operators of US-registered aircraft will need the following approvals:

  • LOA/Ops Spec C384 – Approval for RNAV (RNP) Approach Operations
  • LOA/Ops Spec C081 – Approval for Special Instrument Flight Procedures

Customers with non-US registered aircraft should contact their regulatory authority for approval requirements.

Next steps

If you’re already a customer of Honeywell’s RNP consultancy services, the Aspen RNAV (RNP) will be available in your navigation database within the Sept – Oct 2021 timeframe. We will be happy to work with you and your FSDO to get the C081 approval and are working to provide the required briefing package.

If you’d like to get access to the Aspen approach or would just like to know a little more, contact our Flight Technical Services by filling out the “Sales” link on this page or visit our Navigation and Terrain Databases page. Honeywell also offers RNP Consultancy services that will make the approval process seamless and easy, providing everything you’ll need to start flying Aspen and the other 400 RNAV (RNP) approaches available today.

Jim Johnson
Senior Manager, Flight Operations

Jim Johnson is Senior Manager Flight Technical Services at Honeywell. He can be reached via email at


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