Lower WAAS Minimums Inbound Next Year
While ILS Cat I equivalency has been on FAA’s wide-area augmentation system agenda for many years, the agency’s recent announcement that it is lowering WAAS minimums was actually the starting gun for several activities required before private aircraft can execute 200-foot approaches beginning in mid-2007. The FAA has launched a detailed review of current ILS Cat I criteria to determine whether ILS-specific limitations, such as taxiing restrictions to avoid localizer signal reflections, can be waived for WAAS operations. Correspondingly, airports wishing to offer WAAS Cat I approaches will need to survey their runway environments for criteria compliance, including lighting. Runway candidates must also be prioritized before FAA approach plate production and flight checks can begin–typically a six- to nine-month process. Recognizing that only one manufacturer, Garmin, presently offers units certified to the “Gamma 3” standard required for LPV (localizer precision with vertical guidance), the FAA has invited other GPS firms to enter into shared-cost development programs.