Released last month, the 2005 Federal Radionavigation Plan (FRP)–a joint production of the DOT, DOD and the Department of Homeland Security–provides a useful guide to what air navigation will be like between now and 2020. Of course, federal crystal balls occasionally can be cloudy, especially when they peer 14 years into the future.
Garmin last month said it has gained its first STC covering installation of a retrofit version of the G1000 avionics system. Approved in the King Air C90A/GT, the G1000 suite integrates primary flight information, navigation data, communications, terrain awareness, traffic, weather and engine instruments on a 15-inch-diagonal multifunction display and two 10.4-inch primary flight displays.
Garmin last week received FAA STC approval to install G1000 avionics retrofits in the Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90A/GT. The installation results in a weight saving of approximately 100 pounds. Notably, this is Garmin’s first G1000 retrofit STC, and it paves the way for future G1000 retrofit installations such as the King Air 200 and B200, a program Garmin announced in September at the NBAA Convention.
CMC Electronics showcased its new CMA-9000 flight management system (FMS), which also includes radio management. “The -9000 is a derivative of both the -3000, a helicopter cockpit product, and the airline-oriented -900,” FMS program manager Martin Richard explained. It features several search-and-rescue functions, including programmable moving waypoints.
The FAA last month said it is expanding GPS WAAS coverage into Canada and Mexico by adding nine new wide-area augmentation system ground stations in places such as Goose Bay and San Jose del Cabo. The FAA has published about 900 LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) approaches in the U.S.
Reporting to Congress on the state of the FAA, DOT inspector general Kenneth Mead–the department’s program and fiscal watchdog– didn’t mince words in his assessment of the FAA’s equipment procurement and cost-accounting practices. The agency must, he stated flatly, “reexamine how it does business.”
The FAA awarded a $16.7 million contract–which could balloon to $340 million if options are exercised–to Honeywell International to build the first phase of the local-area augmentation system (LAAS) to deliver Category I precision landing systems at major U.S. airports.
After describing its GPS LAAS precision approach system contract as “imminent” for more than six months, the FAA in early May announced its award to Honeywell.
Concerned about attempts by adversaries to jam global positioning satellite system signals–as occurred with only limited success during the recent Iraq conflict–the U.S. Air Force is moving ahead with plans to field a new-generation constellation of satellites, called GPS III. After a months-long logjam, the Air Force next month will begin accepting requests for proposals to develop and deploy the satellites sometime between 2010 and 2013.
In 1997 the President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, which was charged with examining threats to our national security, recommended an assessment be made of the vulnerability of the U.S. transportation infrastructure if it had to rely on GPS.