Our new PBN & RNAV / GNSS training course

Simuflight is proud to announce that we have recently added PBN & RNAV / GNSS training to our list of courses following approval by the SACAA in April 2019. Our three-day course is designed to equip the client with the theoretical and practical knowledge to safely operate in PBN operations.


What is PBN, RNAV and GNSS?

In the early days of commercial air transport, the accepted navigation method was to fly from radio beacon to radio beacon. This had advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side the navigation was relatively easy and ATC systems could control the traffic without radar using a procedural system that relied on aircraft reporting its position overhead beacons.

On the negative side it channelled all the aircraft into narrow airways increasing local congestion. The airway was also not always the shortest, and therefore the cheapest, route to take.

The solution was to develop navigation systems that were capable of point to point navigation without flying overhead beacons. The concept of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) allowed aircraft to fly a shorter, faster and cheaper route with aircraft equipment creating waypoints from ground stations like VOR’s, DME’s and by the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).

The two concepts of PBN are Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP), both systems are inherently similar and are defined in terms of integrity, continuity, functionality and most commonly accuracy. The key difference between them is the requirement for on-board performance monitoring and alerting equipment. A navigation specification that includes a requirement for on-board navigation performance monitoring and alerting is referred to as an RNP specification. One not having such requirements is referred to as an RNAV specification. An area navigation system capable of achieving the performance requirement of an RNP specification is referred to as an RNP system.



RNAV provides the potential for increasing airspace capacity both en-route and in the terminal area in two ways:

  • By implementing routes which do not have to overfly point source navaids such as VOR’s.
  • By reducing lateral separation between aircraft tracks.

This means that the route structures can be modified quickly and easily to meet the changing requirements of the user community. The routes can be shorter, simpler and, where necessary, can be designed to reduce the environmental impact. In the future, higher levels of navigation accuracy and integrity are anticipated and this should lead to the introduction of closely spaced parallel routes.

RNAV can be used in all phases of flight, and when implemented correctly, can result in:

  • Improved situational awareness for the pilot,
  • Reduced workload for both controller and pilot,
  • Reduced environmental impact from improved design of routes and procedures, and
  • Reduced fuel consumption from shorter, more direct routes.


Simuflight is proud to provide pilots with world class and up-to-date training in an ever-progressing aviation industry. Visit www.simuflight.co.za for more information about this course and pre-entry requirements.