[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 193 (Friday, October 6, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 46738-46739]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21626]



Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 97

[Docket No.: FAA-2017-0879]
RIN 2120-AA65

Criteria and Process for the Cancellation of Standard Instrument 
Approach Procedures as Part of the National Procedures Assessment (NPA)

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Proposed policy and request for comment.


SUMMARY: As new technology facilitates the introduction of area 
navigation (RNAV) instrument approach procedures over the past decade, 
the number of procedures available in the National Airspace System has 
nearly doubled. The complexity and cost to the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA) of maintaining the instrument flight procedures 
inventory while expanding the new RNAV capability is not sustainable. 
The FAA is considering the cancellation of certain circling procedures 
(to include circling-only instrument approach procedures (IAPs) and 
circling minima charted on straight-in IAPs). The FAA proposes specific 
criteria to guide the identification and selection of appropriate 
circling procedures that can be considered for cancellation. The 
circling procedures associated with this cancellation initiative would 
be selected from the criteria outlined below. This document is not a 
part of the FAA's VOR minimum operating network (MON) initiative.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before November 6, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2017-0879 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room 
W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket 
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 and 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
    Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments 
from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts 
these comments, without edit, including any personal information the 
commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system 
of records notice (DOT/ALL- 14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions 
for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 
of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this action, contact Lonnie Everhart, Aeronautical Information Services 
AJV-5, Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Organization, 6500 
S. MacArthur Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73169; Telephone (405) 954-4576; 
Email [email protected].


Authority for This Rulemaking

    Under 49 U.S.C. 40103(a), the Administrator has broad authority to 
regulate the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace. The 
Administrator is also authorized to issue air traffic rules and 
regulations to govern the flight, navigation, protection, and 
identification of aircraft for the protections of persons and property 
on the ground and for the efficient use of the navigable airspace. 49 
U.S.C. 40103(b). Under Section 44701(a)(5), the Administrator promotes 
safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing 
regulations and minimum standards for other practices, methods, and 
procedures necessary for safety in air commerce and national security. 
This action is within the scope of that authority.
    IAPs are promulgated by rulemaking procedures and are incorporated 
by reference pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51 into Title 
14 of the Code of Federal Regulations; Part 97 (14 CFR part 97), 
Subpart C--TERPS Procedures.


    The National Airspace System (NAS) is currently in transition to a 
``NextGen NAS''. During this transition, the FAA is managing the 
technology and procedures to support both the Legacy NAS as well as the 
NextGen NAS. Managing two versions of the NAS requires excess manpower, 
infrastructure, and information management which is costly and 
unsupportable in the longterm. To mitigate these costs, the FAA has a 
number of efforts underway to effectively transition from the legacy to 
the NextGen NAS. One area of focus for this transition is instrument 
flight procedures (IFPs). The FAA seeks to ensure an effective 
transition from ground-based IFPs to greater availability and use of 
satellite-based IFPs while maintaining NAS safety.
    In early 2015, the FAA requested the RTCA's Tactical Operations 
Committee (TOC) with providing feedback and recommendations on criteria 
and processes for cancelling instrument flight procedures. Among the 
many recommendations provided by the TOC were criteria on how to 
identify circling procedures that would qualify as candidates for 
cancellation. As of the beginning of 2017, there are approximately 
12,000 IAPs in publication, and there were nearly 10,600 circling lines 
of minima. Circling procedures account for approximately one-third of 
all lines of minima in the NAS.
    In its continued effort to right-size the NAS through optimization 
and elimination of redundant and unnecessary IAPs, the FAA proposes the 
following criteria to guide the identification and selection of 
appropriate circling procedures to be considered for cancellation.
    It should be noted that National Procedures Assessment (NPA) 
Instrument Flight Procedure (IFP) cancellation activities and 
associated criteria do not supersede similar activities being performed 
under the

[[Page 46739]]

FAA's VOR MON Program. See 81 FR 48694 (July 26, 2016). However, NPA 
IFP cancellation activities have been coordinated with the FAA office 
responsible for the VOR MON implementation program, and its input has 
been thoroughly considered.

Proposed Policy

    All circling procedures will continue to be reviewed through the 
established IAP periodic review process.\1\ As part of that review 
process, the FAA is proposing that each circling procedure would be 
evaluated against the following questions:

    \1\ Section 2-8 of FAA Order 8260.19 (Flight Procedures and 
Airspace) sets forth the minimum frequency of review of instrument 

--Is this the only IAP at the airport?
--Is this procedure a designated MON airport procedure?
--If multiple IAPs serve a single runway end, is this the lowest 
circling minima for that runway? Note: If the RNAV circling minima is 
not the lowest, but is within 50' of the lowest, the FAA would give the 
RNAV preference.
--Would cancellation result in removal of circling minima from all 
conventional NAVAID procedures at an airport? Note: If circling minima 
exists for multiple Conventional NAVAID procedures, preference would be 
to retain ILS circling minima.
--Would cancellation result in all circling minima being removed from 
all airports within 20 NMs?
--Will removal eliminate lowest landing minima to an individual runway?

    The following questions are applicable only to circling-only 

--Does this circling-only procedure exist because of high terrain or an 
obstacle that makes a straight-in procedure unfeasible or which would 
result in the straight-in minimums being higher than the circling 
--Is this circling-only procedure (1) at an airport where not all 
runway ends have a straight-in IAP, and (2) does it have a Final 
Approach Course not aligned within 45 degrees of a runway which has a 
straight-in IAP?

    Further consideration for cancellation under this policy would be 
terminated if any of the aforementioned questions are answered in the 
affirmative. If all questions are answered in the negative, the 
procedure would be processed as described in the following paragraph.
    When a candidate has been identified, Aeronautical Information 
Services would send a notification of procedure cancellation memorandum 
and completed checklist to the appropriate Regional Service Area, 
Operations Support Group.\2\ The Regional Service Area, Operations 
Support Group would follow the same notification process used for 
standard IFP requests.\3\ Consistent with FAA procedures outlined in 
the procedure cancellation memorandum, comments regarding the 
aforementioned circling procedure would need to be submitted within 30 
days of the timestamp on the communication media through which it was 
delivered. Comments would be directed to the Regional Service Area, 
Operations Support Group for dissemination to Aeronautical Information 
Services. Comments would be adjudicated by Aeronautical Information 
Services within 30 days of the timestamp on the communication media 
through which it was received. A final decision would be forwarded to 
Regional Service Area, Operations Support Group to disseminate to 
commenter(s). The cancellation of the part 97 instrument procedure will 
be published in the Federal Register.

    \2\ The FAA has placed sample copies of the memorandum and 
checklist into the docket for this notice.
    \3\ FAA Order 8260.43 (Flight Procedures Management Program) and 
FAA Order 8260.26 (Establishing Submission Cutoff Dates for Civil 
Instrument Procedures) contain additional information on this 
process. These orders are available on the FAA Web site.

Invitation for Comments

    The FAA invites interested parties to submit written comments, 
data, or views. The agency also invites comments relating to the 
economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might 
result from implementation of the proposed policy. Comments should 
explain the reason for modifying or not implementing this proposed 
policy. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, 
commenters should send only one copy of written comments or, if 
comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one 
    The FAA will consider all comments it receives on or before the 
closing date for comments before acting on proposed policy. The FAA 
will consider comments submitted after the comment period has closed if 
it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. The agency 
may change this proposal in light of the comments it receives.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2017.
Steven L. Szukala,
Manager, Instrument Flight Procedure Group, Aeronautical Information 
[FR Doc. 2017-21626 Filed 10-5-17; 8:45 am]