I'm particularly interested in Approach procedures, but I guess it applies for RNAV procedures in general.

On one side, the national Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) is responsible for the design of the procedure. The procedure charts are usually available as PDF files through AIP website (e.g. the terminal procedures available at FAA).

On the other side, the RNAV procedure is coded in binary format inside aircraft's FMS. The airborne databases that can be directly loaded to the FMS are provided by external companies (Jeppesen, Lufthansa, Navigraph).

What happens between those two points is kind of puzzling for me.

I know of ARINC-424 standard for aircraft navigation data that is used for "preparation and transmission of data". Then there is AIRAC cycle which as I understand provides fixed dates for any changes to become effective.

The questions are:

  1. Who takes responsibility that the database being sold to airline or any user reflects the original procedure published by ANSP?
  2. How does the coding process look like. Is it based on PDF charts or there is another exchange format available (e.g. AIXM)?
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE. You might want to split this post up into several to only ask one question at a time. $\endgroup$
    – usernumber
    Aug 27, 2015 at 10:16
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Welcome rgolcz! Those are nice questions, and I have some reference material for that somewhere, so I'll brew up an answer later. I concur with usernumber though, it may be better to split it up into three questions. I suggest to keep question 1 & 2 together. Once those are answered you can fire off questions 3 & 4 with reference to the first questions. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Aug 27, 2015 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ An old document: Legal and Institutional Issues. Court cases on page 10. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Sep 1, 2015 at 1:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks. I've followed your suggestions (@usernumber, @DeltaLima) to split the question. $\endgroup$
    – rgolcz
    Sep 1, 2015 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ @mins This example is great. Would you mind to post it as answer under the new question: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/19558/…. I've split the question. $\endgroup$
    – rgolcz
    Sep 1, 2015 at 11:56

1 Answer 1

  1. The navigation database is technically a component of the GPS or FMS navigation system. As such the manufacturer of the GPS or FMS is responsible for ensuring the database works with the equipment.

The database itself is usually prepared by a database provider such as Jeppesen. They have to work with the manufacturer to format and structure the database to work with the GPS or FMS. After Jeppesen builds a database for a given cycle the GPS/FMS manufacturer will test the database before it's released.

Depending on their business agreement, the database subscription may be purchased from the manufacturer or direct from Jeppesen.

Jeppesen obtains the data from the ANSP and must process the data in accordance with RTCA DO-200B, Standards for Processing Aeronautical Data. (Available for purchase from RTCA Inc.)

  1. In the case of the FAA, the data is available in numerous formats, most commonly in ARINC 424 format.

There's a great deal of info available on the FAA Aeronautical Information Services website.


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