Local Advocacy Improves Approaches in Denver Area

September 2, 2011

NBAA members in the Denver metropolitan area have been raising the bar when it comes to working cooperatively with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials on airspace access issues; and their efforts have been paying off handsomely in terms of better access and more business-aviation friendly approaches into area airports.

Bill Payne, president of the Centennial Airport Business Pilots Alliance, together with Pete Elmore of NetJets and other member pilots from the flight departments of Liberty Media, International Jet and a number of other companies, has been meeting with FAA staff from the Denver Center and TRACON over the past several years.

Together, the pilots and FAA personnel have developed a series of RNAV approaches to the two primary business aviation airports in the Denver area: Centennial Airport (APA) and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC).

According to Payne, some “beautiful approaches” have been developed which keep business aircraft at higher altitudes and away from airline streams, all the while taking environmental concerns into consideration.

Payne’s group has helped both devise and evaluate new Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs) into APA and BJC that are much more efficient and reasonable for larger business aircraft – especially jets – to fly, while keeping them out of the way of airline operations into Denver International Airport (DEN) and avoiding noise-sensitive areas where possible.

Flight departments voluntarily fly the approaches to evaluate them, on their own time and pay for their own fuel. According to Payne, aircraft of varying sizes – from Citations to Gulfstreams and many others –are used to test the approaches, since the planes all have different capabilities. “We try to hit a good balance of aircraft,” said Payne.

Steve Hadley, NBAA’s southwest regional representative, applauded the efforts of the Denver-area pilots and flight departments to proactively work with government agencies in developing procedures that improve efficiency, safety, and access for business aviation operators. “This is a great example of cooperation between our industry and state and federal agencies to utilize new technologies to benefit business aviation,” said Hadley.

For more inforamtion, contact NBAA’s Steve Hadley at shadley@nbaa.org.