June 5, 2014

Some charting errors have been identified in the Houston Metroplex project, which was implemented on May 29.

The Houson Metroplex project is the first of several that will utilize performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures as a step toward fully implementing NextGen. Implementation of the new procedures will be monitored at the FAA Air Traffic Control System Center (ATCSCC), Houston Center (ZHU), Fort Worth Center (ZFW) and Houston TRACON.

Full utilization of these PBN procedures is expected to maximize benefits, including fuel efficiency, time efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Review a previous NBAA article on the Houston Metroplex Project.

Many of the new ILS and RNAV approaches have transitions connecting them to the arrivals. The approach transitions were designed to create a seamless path from the end of the arrival onto the specific ILS or RNAV approach. The STARs in use will depend on airport landing direction. Houston TRACON (I90) and adjacent centers will work together for arrival traffic planning. This may result in the need for enroute speed changes to enable the entire arrival to be flown with reduced interruptions.

Refer to the chart that has the updated STARs for the Houston Metroplex. (PDF)

Many of the new STARs contain runway transitions, and operators should expect I90 to assign the runway. While the vertical profile prior to runway transition point will remain the same, the profile and bottom altitudes may change after that point. Some STARs may have more than two runway transition options. An excerpt from the MSCOT arrival is shown here; note how the routing text below clarifies the correct runway transition point:

Note: The bottom altitudes are different on the downwinds for 26L vs. 26R. If Tracon changes the assigned runway, reconfirm the altitude set in the MCP/FCU matches the new crossing altitude at VLDEZ or DOOOM.

Many of the ILS and RNAV approaches will have transitions connecting to the arrivals. The approach transitions allow a seamless path from the end of the arrival onto the ILS/RNAV approach.

However, there was an error found however in the initial charts and navigation database for some of these transitions. Crews should ensure that if they load an approach transition, the altitude and speed restriction on the waypoint at the end of the STAR should match the altitude and speed on the waypoint on the LEGS page of the FMC (see example below). This error will be fixed for the next cycle 1407 due out on June 26.