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American Airlines, GE to Debut First U.S. Commercial Instrument Flight Path

American Airlines and GE is debuting its inaugural flight today (August 26) using the first U.S. commercially designed instrument flight path, which is expected to significantly cut aircraft CO2 emissions, improve airline efficiency and reduce delays.

AA flight 1916 will fly from Dallas/Fort Worth to Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn. and land using the first public flight path in the U.S. The new “highway in the sky” ensures the aircraft adheres to a precise, predetermined path, according to GE.

American Airlines also recently conducted a test of next-generation technology and procedures on a flight from Paris to Miami to determine their impact on reducing carbon emissions and saving fuel on trans-Atlantic routes.

Naverus, a part of GE Aviation, designed the path, which incorporates Required Navigation Performance technology (RNP), a core component of the FAA’s NextGen airspace modernization plan. RNP paths can be custom-tailored to reduce airport congestion, shorten trip distance, reduce an aircraft’s time in flight, and create community-friendly flight trajectories that lessen the effect of aircraft noise, says GE.

The new landing procedure will allow pilots to use onboard technology to follow a precise track, independent of older ground-based navigation beacons that limit where the aircraft can go.

Captain Brian Will, American Airlines’ Director — Airspace Modernization and Advanced Technologies says this new procedure is a critical step to help implement NextGen modernization.

GE deploys RNP procedures around the world and is the first third-party procedure designer to publish a public RNP procedure in the U.S. GE’s RNP procedures are in regular daily use in Canada, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Peru.

GE also is working with the FAA and other regulatory bodies and navigation service providers to develop the capability for aircraft to share optimized flight trajectories with air traffic control in real time, which will allow airlines to plan each flight to operate on the most efficient flight path with the least possible environmental impact.

GE says navigational and operational capabilities such as these will make air traffic management more efficient by helping airlines plan more direct routes, which will decrease airspace congestion, save fuel and reduce commercial aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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