The Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) successfully passed a critical 60-day test that prime contractor Raytheon said proves the reliability of the signals for ILS-like approach procedures to thousands of airports not served by precision instrument approaches.
At press time, the FAA’s GPS local-area augmentation system (LAAS) appeared to be hanging in the balance while agency officials were attempting to determine whether there really was a firm industry need for the system.
In late summer, Jeff Williams, manager of the FAA’s newly established required navigation performance (RNP) program office, briefed a government/industry specialist group on the agency’s implementation for a nationwide public RNP plan.
After extensive industry consultation, the FAA has recently completed a document outlining its proposed strategy for transition from today’s terrestrial navaids to GPS, including proposed procedures to minimize the effect of GPS jamming.
Navstar, the official U.S. Air Force program moniker for the constellation of satellites most of us refer to simply as GPS, has undergone a multitude of technical changes and upgrades in the nearly 30 years since a group of military and civil engineers first sat down in the Pentagon to talk about the far-reaching precision navigation concept.
The FAA’s original plan to transition to sole-means GPS is no longer practical and some form of backup will be required for the foreseeable future, according to speakers at a recent Navigation Industry Day. This event was sponsored by the DOT, FAA and Civil Aviation Advanced Systems Development (CAASD), which is a component of the federally-funded MITRE research and development center and a key FAA think-tank resource.
Garmin introduced its latest portable GPS receiver, the GPSMAP 196, at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. Typically priced at $999, the new unit features an improved processor, 320 by 240 pixel monochrome display, pop-up map details and a panel-like page that shows facsimiles of an HSI, airspeed indicator, atltimeter, turn-and-bank indicator and a vertical-speed indicator.
Honeywell last month announced it has signed a collaborative agreement with Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Management in Rockville, Md., to jointly compete for an FAA contract for local-area augmentation system (LAAS) hardware and support. The FAA is expected this month to award a contract for the initial production and installation of LAAS ground stations at six airports, with an option for 15 to 40 more per year over the next five years.
Avidyne unveiled its Entegra FMS900W WAAS-enabled GPS navcom flight management system last month at the Sun ’n’ Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. The FMS announcement is significant, since the system is the central computer–not to mention the user interface and input device–for Avidyne’s next-generation integrated avionics system. It is also the first of “four major announcements” that the Lincoln, Mass.
Eclipse Aviation is expecting to achieve two major certification goals–flight-into-known-icing and EASA certification–for the EA-500 very light jet by July, according to Mike McConnell, vice president of sales and marketing. Full avionics functionality should follow by year-end, aided by Eclipse’s choice to install dual Garmin GPS 400W WAAS-certified moving-map GPS navigators to provide missing GPS functionality.