Avoiding Hazardous Weather: Alaska’s GPS-guided Routes
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Avoiding Hazardous Weather: Alaska’s GPS-guided Routes

DALLAS – The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published 54 GPS-guided routes in Alaska. The route map lets pilots avoid icing by flying direct paths at lower altitudes.

FAA officials announced last month that the 30 new and 24 amended Terminal Transition Routes, known as T-routes, are part of the agency’s Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative.

“Flying in Alaska is unlike any other place in the United States,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen. “T-routes will provide pilots with additional options for safely completing missions in this uniquely challenging environment.”

According to FAA officials, pilots utilize T-routes to travel along particular locations when flying under instrument flight rules (IFR) and utilizing approved Global Positioning System (GPS) or Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) equipment.

13 have been activated thus far. Another 20 are set to go live in November and December 2022, with the remainder following in 2023.

Alaska T-Route Map: FAA

FAA Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative

In October 2020, the FAA started the Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative. After a yearlong investigation of safety challenges unique to Alaska, the agency published 11 recommendations last October on how to improve aviation safety in the state. T-Route development was included in those recommendations.

In Alaska, aviation is a way of life and an absolute need for much of the state, with 82% of communities only accessible by air. Since the late 1990s, aviation safety in Alaska has improved significantly, and the FAA understands the need of continuing to improve aviation safety standards and practices.

The FAA has collaborated with the flying community on a year-long, comprehensive investigation of safety hazards unique to Alaska. The FAA Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative (FAASI) team has created a comprehensive plan for boosting aviation safety in Alaska by managing, improving, and implementing new and existing activities.

Officials said that the FAA is creating more T-routes to replace Low Frequency/Medium Frequency (LF/MF) airways between now and 2025.

Featured image: N318AS, Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900 @KSEA. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

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