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LNAV, PNAV, PRNAV, BRNAV, LPV, VPV - WTF does it all mean?

I’m beyond confused about all this nonsense. Can someone explain?


Last Edited by AdamFrisch at 24 Dec 20:43

WTF is the one I could explain straightaway…

But it is a relief to be not alone with this frustration. It seems to me the British are particularly keen on using acronyms. At another well-known forum, there was some confusion and the usual fuss about R-LOC – the LOC seems to stand for Loss of Control but I never understood the R bit.

Looks much like a way of sounding important and knowledgeable, to me.

But wasn’t this forum offering a glossary, to explain all the acronyms?

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Forgot about R-LOC, Jan. Another acronym to add to that list.

RNAV, RNP: Chapter 1 section 2 of the AIM. i.e. 1-2
LNAV, LPV, LP: AIM 1-1-19
BRNAV is the European label for RNAV 5, PRNAV is the European label for RNAV 1: see aim 5-2-8, 5-5-16

Hope that helps.

LNAV – lateral navigation
PNAV – not heard of that one
PRNAV – a complicated topic – see here for a start; I call it a job creation scheme
BRNAV – a specification for lateral nav accuracy: within 5nm 95% of the time, plus some requirements on the instrument panel layout and functions
RNAV – a version of the above, with different grades e.g. RNAV1 means within 1nm 95% of the time
LPV – an ILS approach but it uses the GPS system entirely
LP – not heard of that one

Basically it is IFR stuff.

BRNAV is mandatory in Europe for enroute IFR in CAS (controlled airspace). It makes an IFR approved panel mount GPS mandatory, de facto. Plus paperwork.
PRNAV is not mandatory yet for enroute though many airports have PRNAV procedures (which they usually ignore). It is quite complicated to get, with lots of paperwork.
LPV is new to Europe; the UK has only 1 LPV approach, in Alderney. You need an LPV-capable GPS (GNS430W/530W, or GTN650/750) plus paperwork.

Most American pilots have never heard of PRNAV, BRNAV or RNAV, which is a mystery to me. Maybe the FAA is not implementing any of it.

Last Edited by Peter at 24 Dec 21:44
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

For the FAA related acronyms, the following paper resumes pretty well the different RNAV approach types


LNAV, PNAV, PRNAV, BRNAV, LPV, VPVWTF does it all mean?

LNAV = Trainee navigator
PNAV = Provisionally qualified navigator
PRNAV = Public relations navigator
BRNAV = British navigator
LPV = Limited precision vectors
VPV = Very precise vectors
WTF = Wide area Terminal Forecast

I hope this helps ;)

PS sorry, but it is Christmas Eve :)

Last Edited by Jonzarno at 24 Dec 22:01

What are Australian “arrangements” for transitioning to Performance Based Navigation might be of interest to some?

For more details, including a very comprehensive list of relevant abbreviations, please, see
the Australian CAO 20.91

Last Edited by ANTEK at 24 Dec 22:40

LP = Localiser Performance approach

Last Edited by ANTEK at 24 Dec 22:25

That’s interesting about LP approaches. Once they allow the glideslope display, it seems a bit like LNAV+V which is a normal GPS approach but the GPS can display a “glideslope” based on a straight line from the FAF to the MAP.

I should add that “LNAV” has at least two meanings: one is a general “lateral navigation”, and the other relates to GPS approaches where the most basic type is sometimes called LNAV because the only guidance you get is lateral. Apart from the LPV approach in Alderney, all UK GPS approaches are LNAV.

Hope I got that right

BRNAV is essentially necessary for any flying on the full IR.

PRNAV is a big dark cloud on the horizon, for GA. A handful of people have got the approval. A few got in under the wire in the early days (some with the FAA and some with EASA) but now it is potentially a lot more complicated. Many will need a 5-figure avionics refit, for essentially no flying-related capability. However it is still possible that PRNAV will never actually arrive, in any form that causes actual problems.

Last Edited by Peter at 24 Dec 22:31
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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