Ground-based Augmentation Landing System OK’d

 - September 22, 2009, 1:59 PM

Honeywell’s SmartPath precision-landing system yesterday became the only ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) to receive FAA approval. GBAS monitors GPS signals to detect errors and augment accuracy by transmitting correction messages to aircraft, providing precision-approach guidance to all qualifying runways at an airport. As a result, Honeywell said that SmartPath can replace or supplement ILS installations currently being used at airports. However, aircraft must be specially equipped to use GBAS since current onboard ILS equipment cannot be used to receive GBAS signals. “The approval of Honeywell’s system marks the successful completion of a partnership between the FAA and Airservices Australia to build and certify GBAS,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. The first U.S.-approved system is located in Memphis, Tenn., and will become operational early next year. A SmartPath system at Sydney Airport is pending approval by Airservices Australia. The FAA’s NextGen implementation plan identifies GBAS as an enabler for descent and approach operations to increase capacity at crowded airports. SmartPath is currently approved for Category I approach operations but will eventually be able to provide Cat II and III capabilities.