So, first, who needs three more worldwide satnav systems, when we already have GPS? Why do these others want to spend billions just to keep up with the U.S.? There are two reasons: one political and the other practical. Politically, GPS has become a (not the) dominant technology in almost every part of human life around the world, in government, national security, industry and private life, with more than a billion receivers being used daily for thousands of applications, from simple to critical.
Children’s Hospital New Orleans received approval June 18 for a new helicopter WAAS LPV approach to bring arrivals down to a height above landing (HAL) of 270 feet. The new procedure allowing more precise guidance in poor weather was developed by Orange Beach, Ala.-based Hickok & Associates.
The basic precept of international GNSS is that public services will be available to all users without user charges or other fees. Separately, each system can transmit unique highly classified frequencies–such as the military codes used by the U.S.’s GPS, Russia’s Glonass, China’s Compass and the fee-paying civil applications for enhanced accuracy and integrity signals from Europe’s Galileo–but none affects public services.
Columbia Avionics & Aircraft Services has received FAA STC approval for installation of touch-screen Garmin GTN-750 and GTN-650 GPS navcoms in the Cessna Citation 650. Similar STCs are pending for Citation Models 500, 501, 550, 551, S550 and 560, the Columbia, Mo.-based company said. The STC includes various combinations of the GTN navcoms, Garmin GTX-33ES Mode-S transponders, Garmin GDL-69/A weather datalink and a marker beacon receiver.
EU-funded project Accepta is co-funding the publishing of Egnos (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System) landing procedures and/or installing its navigation equipment at 40 additional airports in 11 European countries by the end of 2013. The countries soon to get the system at their airports include Finland, France, Italy, UK, Austria and Spain. Egnos, Europe’s equivalent of Waas GPS, has many benefits including operational, economic (especially for business aviation), safety and environmental, said the company.
AgustaWestland’s Grand New helicopter has received European certification for conducting area navigation (Rnav), global satellite navigation (GNSS) and vertical approach guidance (SBAS/LPV) approaches. The AW109 family member is the first helicopter to receive these approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Connectors Deliver More Data to iPads
The growing popularity of Apple’s iPad as a Class 1 electronic flight bag (EFB) has captured the interest of avionics manufacturers, and at last month’s Aircraft Electronics Association show two new devices that connect iPads to aircraft data were unveiled.
Last month AIN reported on the disturbing increase in reports of GPS interference and deliberate jamming and raised the question of continuing GPS reliability if these incidents (attributable to small portable jammers used by truckers to obfuscate their whereabouts) increase in numbers and transmitted power.
Universal Avionics is still offering an upgrade program for the UNS-1M/1Msp FMS to the reconditioned UNS-1E/1Esp, but the reconditioned units are expected to run out by year-end, according to a company spokeswoman. While the UNS-1E/1Esp are not Waas/SBAS-enabled, “they do offer an alternative solution to a more complex upgrade for UNS-1M/1Msp operators, she explained. A new UNS-1Ew with Waas is an alternative upgrade for the UNS-1M, and Universal is offering a $20,000 credit toward suggested list price through December 31.
Today, most of us would probably rate cellphones, ATMs and the Internet as the three most useful modern gadgets we use regularly. We likely wouldn’t rank GPS up there, and maybe not even in the top 10. Yet without GPS, those three wouldn’t work too well, if at all, and neither would a host of other things that we depend on (reliable electrical power; banking systems; national and worldwide telecommunications, including air traffic control; and car navigation, to name a few). And with NextGen slowly approaching, aviation’s dependence on GPS will grow exponentially.