Two events last month intensified the confrontation between LightSquared, a private U.S. communications company, and U.S. government and industry GPS interests.
Officials at Toulouse Francazal Airport (LFBF) in Toulouse, France expect to see more business aircraft at the field at the end of this month with the opening of a full business aviation terminal. Located in what used to be a command post, it will feature a hall, VIP lounge, bar, restaurant and crew rest facilities. Refueling is expected to be available as well. A former military base, the airport opened to civil traffic in January.
The recent switching on of Europe’s Egnos satellite-based augmentation system is great news for flight management system (FMS) manufacturers like Universal Avionics Systems. “With Egnos being turned on officially,” said Dan Reida, Universal vice president of marketing, “we hope to start seeing a stronger interest in space-based augmented FMS. We look forward to implementation of more approaches [in Europe].”
Honeywell’s EASy II upgrade for the Falcon 900 EASy received FAA technical standard order (TSO) approval from the FAA and is slated for certification in the 900 EASy later this year.
While the LightSquared broadband wireless network’s potential to disrupt GPS signals has been widely publicized, a lesser known problem is the possibility of the system’s high-power transmitters interfering with satcom.
The annual Aircraft Electronics Association International Convention & Trade Show is a showcase for avionics dealers, the people who sell, install and repair the products that fill the cockpits and cabins of all types of aircraft. And as such, the avionics manufacturers at the AEA event are laser-focused on showing how their products will benefit the end user.
The controversy over LightSquared’s plan to operate 40,000 high-powered commercial transmitters to provide nationwide Internet connectivity over a radio frequency close to GPS recently ratcheted up another notch with the undersecretaries of the Departments of Defense and Transportation jointly expressing concerns to the FCC about the threat of interference to GPS.
Following a certification and verification process, the European Commission approved the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (Egnos) “safety-of-life” service for aviation last month. Egnos is closely similar to, and compatible with, the U.S. Waas satellite-based augmentation system that corrects timing errors in GPS signals, enabling GPS precision approaches and shorter, more-direct routes.