January 29Football fans flying to Phoenix for the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 might not realize it, but their aircraft will be taking more direct routes, saving time and fuel, and reducing carbon emissions, thanks to NextGen technologies and procedures that are delivering benefits throughout the country.
12th Man fans of the Seattle Seahawks, noted for making CenturyLink Field one of the loudest in the NFL, will find that flying out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is a considerably quieter experience due to the Greener Skies Over Seattle initiative, a collaborative project between the FAA, the airlines, the Port of Seattle and Boeing. The legion clad in college navy, wolf grey and most distinctively action green will ascend in aircraft using a smooth, satellite-based Area Navigation (RNAV) departure route before settling at high altitude into whats called a Q Route, a heavily traveled highway in the sky. Using NextGen technologies, the FAA has safely expanded that highway from one lane to as many as four.
The Greener Skies initiative is expected to cut fuel consumption for airlines serving Seattle by 2.1 million gallons annually and reduce carbon emissions by 22,000 metric tons the equivalent of taking 4,100 cars off the road every year.
Raucous New England Patriot fans escaping this weeks severe winter storm clad in nautical blue, red, new-century silver and white will have similarly quieter, smoother ascents out of Boston Logan International Airport, thanks to one of the many RNAV routes in place over the Boston metropolitan region. At cruising altitude, their dreams of victory will take place on one of the Q Routes out of the Northeast.
On approach to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, fans of both teams will be taking an Optimized Profile Descent (OPD). Just one of these descents called Eagle a large raptor coincidentally similar to a Seahawk saves 70 gallons per flight and a total of 945 minutes for all flights that use that particular approach during the course of a day. OPDs enable aircraft to descend from cruising altitude to the runway in a smooth, continuous glide, with engines set at idle, rather than the traditional staircase approach, which burns fuel and requires a verbal exchange between pilots and controllers at each step. Eagle and the other RNAV procedures automatically separate traffic serving the Phoenix area airports, enhancing safety and improving efficiency over the entire metropolitan region.
When the game is over, fans will ascend more quickly and directly into the overhead flow due to RNAV departure routes, before taking Q Routes home and landing at Seattle or Boston via an OPD. For the happier fans, the flight will seem short and sweet. For the others, it will be shorter and sweeter than it wouldve been without NextGen.
Read more here:: How NextGen is Getting Fans to the Super Bowl