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What percentage of the approaches you fly are satellite-based (ie, RNAV GPS, RNAV RNP) vs ground based (ie, ILS, LOC, VOR)? Do you see space-based approaches as more or less complex than ground-based procedures?

We use RNAV GPS for approaches approximately 20% of the time. We see them expanding rapidly worldwide, even in Europe. We find them less complex than ground-based procedures, and the avionics seem to handle them very well. The use of RNP approaches is also increasing, which allows lower minimums and increased access to airports in mountainous terrain.

Brent Keyes
ATP. Gulfstream G550
Dir of Aviation
Graham Capital Management
Royal Palm Beach FL


Close to 75% are satellite-based approaches, vs 25% ground-based. I believe satellite-based approaches are neither more nor less complex than ground-based approaches.

Eric Scheie
Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Airbus EC135
Stat MedEvac
Warren OH


Having a choice, I ask for or select the RNAV approach. They’re more precise and reliable, and LPV glidepath is not subject to temperature variations. RNAV approaches are safer, in my opinion.

Carlo Cesa
ATP. King Air B350
Nyon, Switzerland


About 40% of the approaches I fly are satellite-based, vs 60% ground-based. Most of the time I’m getting vectored for an ILS when I need to shoot an approach. If I have to fly a full procedure for the ILS, I’d prefer to fly an LPV with a TAA IAF. I find that the complexity varies based on the airport and how the approach is flown. A TAA to an LPV with a glidepath is fairly simple. You don’t need to be vectored. And if you were to go missed, you stay in FMS mode. The set-up for the FMS in the aircraft I fly is very simple for an LPV approach. ILS approaches still remain more widely available at larger airports, and they’re simple for setup when you’re being vectored onto the approach. I like having the option for either type of approach, especially at smaller airports, because one may be more convenient than the other, depending on weather. Hopefully both types remain available in our airspace system for years to come.

Aaron Rye
ATP. Citation XLS+ & King Air 350
Captain & Dir of Safety
Aero Charter
Chesterfield MO


Both satellite-based and land-based approaches are used all the time. I believe both types need to be monitored closely for accuracy in azimuth and altitude.

Tong Bee Ngak
ATP. Citation Sovereign, Gulfstream G150 & Learjet 60/45/35A
Seletar Jet Charter


Roughly, I’d say 50% each. ILS is the only ground-based system I will use. I find LNAV/VNAV to be as easy – if not easier – and more reliable as well.

Fredrick Graff
ATP/CFII. Legacy 600
Northeastern Aviation
Farmingdale NY


We use them about 50–50, although I prefer space-based approaches, as they often tie directly into arrivals.

Loren Hofer
ATP. Falcon 2000LX
Chief Pilot
Englewood CO


Fewer than 40% of our approaches are satellite-based. With the current avionics technologies available, space-based approach procedures are, in fact, less complex.

Paras Dhamecha
ATP. Global 6000
Managing Director
Empire Aviation Group
Dubai, United Arab Emirates


I’d say I fly roughly 30% satellite-based approaches, and 70% ground-based. Particularly in the Gulfstream IV that I fly, we have to enable the LPV function of that type on an approach, as opposed to an ILS being automatic.

Bruce Farrow
ATP. Gulfstream IV
Line Captain
Riviera Beach FL


My approaches are around 60% ILS or ground-based, and 40% RNAV GPS. In my opinion, a space-based approach is usually less complex. However, it can become more complex if it’s not set up properly.

Carlos Wyre
ATP/CFII. Pilatus PC-12
Pilot & Air Traffic Controller
Tradewind Aviation & FAA
New City NY


Satellite-based approaches make up 75% of the total procedures I fly. I believe Garmin avionics packages blend well with the satellite-based procedures and make flying them pretty simple.

Jerry Brooks
Comm-Multi-Inst/CFII. Piper M600 & Twin Commander 690/1000
Contract Pilot
Pelahatchie MS


Based on my experience, I’d say about 80% of our approaches are satellite-based, and only 20% are ground-based. Whenever a satellite-based approach is available, it is flown in preference to other approaches.

Alain Gautron
Comm-Multi-Inst. Citation CJ1/Mustang
Stephenson Harwood
Paris, France


I’d say it’s about 50/50. Our home airport has ILS and RNAV approaches to both ends of the main runway, and normally the ILS is in use. However, I have no qualms using either, as the LPV approach has the same minimums.

Aaron Brown
ATP/CFI. Gulfstream G700/G500/G280
Richardson Aviation
Frisco TX


Near 75% are ground-based approaches, mainly ILS. The remaining 25% are RNAV procedures. As for complexity, as long as you know how to use your avionics, RNAVs are easier, as there is no tuning or setting courses and there is no need to switch navigation sources.

Andrew Norwood
ATP. Learjet 45
Etobicoke ON, Canada


Just about 30% are satellite-based approaches, and 70% are ground-based. I fly a Pilatus PC-24, so both types of approach are very easy thanks to the Honeywell avionics. However, the legacy Pilatus PC-12 that I fly requires a lot more pilot input during the approach, making the satellite-based option a little easier, especially when flying VOR/DME approaches that we still have in South Africa. On the other hand, STARs followed by vectored ILS are pretty straightforward and still the go-to approach for most IFR landings at big airports in South Africa, and they get you down the lower-than-satellite-based 200-ft Cat I in the case of the aircraft I fly, versus 300-ft-plus in a satellite-based approach. You have no chance of landing in Cape Town on a foggy day on a satellite-based approach, but you have at least a 50% chance on an ILS Cat I approach. So the lower minima keep the ILS relevant.

Gerald Mc Carthy
ATP. Pilatus PC-24/PC-12
Chief Pilot
Cape Town, South Africa


My satellite-based approaches are 90% or more. As an IFR rotorcraft pilot, my numbers may be skewed more to the satellite-based, as all of my helo IFR destinations are copter-only RNAV approaches. Even the majority of the IFR airports in the area have only GPS-based approaches available. For LNAV approaches, the complexity is minor compared to a ground-based approach, and LPV approaches are just as complex as an ILS.

Michael Mock
ATP/Helo. Airbus EC145
Memorial Hermann Life Flight
Spring TX


Percentages have shifted for us as a Part 91 operator flying into semi-remote locations, to reach about 50/50 ratio. Ground-based ILS approaches are more familiar and generally easier, and are accompanied for the most part by better ATC and ground services.

Robert Van Ryn
ATP. Citation X & King Air 300
Foster Farms
Livingston CA


We fly RNAV LPN routinely for both actual instrument approaches and to back up visual approaches. LPV approaches are simple, accurate, and widely available. We still fly ILS approaches at larger airports where they have ATIS advertised approaches in use.

Marty Rollinger
ATP. Falcon 2000LX
Dir of Flight Ops
Granger IN


Approximately 10% of our daily routine approaches are done satellite-based – most likely RNAV, RNP, or GPS. In Europe all larger airports still focus on ILS or ground-based procedures, and only by actively requesting an RNP will they offer it – except if the ILS is on maintenance. However, I find it quite important to perform these kinds of approach, and show the other crew members all the steps and checks in the FMS to make sure that the approach is programmed and loaded correctly, and flown and executed properly by the autopilot. During all line training, I push the pilots to perform those kinds of approach in order to understand the system’s logic, charts, and different requirements. I believe it is the future of business aviation because, in order to get the passengers as close to their destination as possible, we may have to fly into smaller airfields that may not have ground-based equipment.

Dennis Ronneburg
ATP. Hawker 400XP
Captain & Crew Training
Milano, Italy


Our space-based approaches are approximately 80%. Space-based approaches are just as accurate, if not more so, than traditional approaches. Non-precision space-based approaches have been programmed, or can be, for vertical guidance, eliminating dive-and-drive approaches that should have been removed years ago. The availability of so many space-based approaches has minimized circling approaches. Missed approach procedures are actually easier, since there is no need to switch NAV sources, and sequencing is automatic. Our home airport, LUK (Lunken, Cincinnati OH), now uses a space-based approach in lieu of the traditional ILS. This is due to user preference – about 95% of LUK traffic is corporate and general aviation – with similar minimums and more accuracy. The only time we use an ILS is at airline airports or when there is an operational advantage to using an ILS.

Thomas Pavlik
ATP/CFI. Challenger 300
Senior Captain
The Kroger Co
Cincinnati OH


I fly satellite-based approaches in 90% of cases. With the avionics systems used by most pilots today, I think they’re easier to fly than ground-based approaches. Other advantages include staying in one NAV source for the transition, approach, and missed approach, having vertical guidance easily available on nearly all approaches, and no interference such as when an airplane taxies in front of a glideslope antenna.

Buster Downey
ATP. Pilatus PC-12NG & Mooney M20E
Ground & Simulator Instructor
FlightSafety Intl
Dacono CO


The majority of my approaches are satellite-based, preferably to LPV minimums. I find them no more complex than a ground-based procedure, and they’re much more stable than a ground-based localizer. Our avionics do a superb job of capturing and maintaining the GNSS lateral and vertical guidance smoothly. There is no searching or hunting that we get with localizers, such as the ILS 4R at MDW (Midway, Chicago IL), where the airplanes weave left and right to try and maintain the localizer course.

Randy Eckley
ATP/CFII. Global 7500
Senior Trip Captain & SMS Coordinator
Columbia Jet Center
Columbia MO


Approximately 60% of the approaches I fly are satellite-based. Once you learn the different phraseology for essentially the same components of a ground-based approach, space-based is no more complex, in my opinion. I fly Garmin equipment, and setting up is easy, as is switching to another approach if ATC changes its mind.

Doug Purdue
ATP/CFII. Citation Latitude
First Officer
Traverse City MI


Primarily, I operate space-based – performance-based navigation (PBN) – instrument approaches. I also perform LPV, LP, RNAV (RNP), and some GLS. The up-and-coming approach for business and commercial aviation is the advanced RNP (A-RNP) instrument approach, which provides WAAS-equipped aircraft with the means to fly trajectory-based approaches with RNP 0.3 containment with RF segments. Space-based navigation is easy to fly, and often provides vertical guidance. I think it’s more reliable, efficient, and environmentally friendly. Aside from flying these procedures as a pilot in a variety of aircraft such as jets, turboprops, and helicopters, I’m president of a company that designs and implements all types of space-based navigation procedures worldwide. It’s a game changer!

Chris Baur
ATP/CFII. Boeing 737, TBM 850, Robinson R66 & UAS
President & CEO
Hughes Aerospace
The Woodlands TX


I’d say at least 95% of the approaches I fly are satellite-based. Once loading the appropriate procedure is loaded, the GPS unit does everything. I believe the space-based approaches are less complex.

Keith Woods
ATP/CFII/A&P. Citation XLS/CJ1, Pilatus PC-12 & Daher TBM 910/850/700
Contract Professional Pilot
Wingman Flight Support
Granite Falls MN


Satellite vs ground-based approach is currently around 50% each. Space-based approaches are no more complex, and it is important to pre-brief the autopilot modes that will be used during the approach.

Patrick White
ATP. Hawker 800XP
TMC Transportation
Adel IA


Here in Brazil, most of our ground-based navigational aids are out of service. Today, only a few ILS runways are available, so we only use RNP RNAV approaches.

Sergio Gomes
ATP/CFI. King Air C90
Captain & Copilot
Air Táxi Charter
São Paulo SP, Brazil