While EGNOS, SBAS, GBAS and Galileo may be unfamiliar to most North American aviators, they are key elements in Europe’s determined move to a satellite air traffic control environment. Addressing the FAA’s satellite operations implementation team meeting in December, Eurocontrol officials reported on progress toward their vision of
The FAA has certified an IFR WAAS receiver developed by UPS Aviation Technologies, the key ingredient in a forthcoming line of satellite navigation equipment from the Salem, Ore. avionics maker.
While the GPS wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) is likely to be commissioned for public use in July, the local-area augmentation system (LAAS) has fallen back by 12 months, with commissioning of the first installation now forecast in late 2005. This setback for LAAS was revealed to attendees at a December briefing given by FAA’s Satellite Operational Implementation Team (SOIT).
Garmin announced the availability of fault-detection and exclusion (FDE) software for its GNS 430/530 GPS/navcom radios. According to a spokesman, FDE uses a mathematical algorithm to monitor the accuracy and reliability of GPS signals. Designed to detect erroneous GPS data, the software automatically excludes that data from the active navigation solution.
Last year in Toulouse, France, Eurocopter completed two series of tests that demonstrated the feasibility of satellite-navigation precision approaches for helicopters. Europe, which lags behind the U.S. in creating satnav nonprecision approaches for helicopters, has almost completed some research toward addressing that imbalance.
Is ILS, aviation’s trusted friend for the past half century, now seeing its last days? Probably not. Some observers believe it has many years of life ahead of it, yet newer technologies are slowly entering the scene, in such diverse settings as Norway’s fjords, Heathrow’s jam-packed runways, the icy wastes of Antarctica and at several major U.S. hubs.
It took several years for the U.S. and the European Union to reach agreement about satellite navigation systems, but the cooperation agreement the parties signed in June that paves the way for the Galileo and GPS satellite navigation systems should be beneficial to both sides, and to aviation worldwide.
At the FAA’s September International Aviation Safety Forum near Washington, the agency included a discussion session entitled “WAAS or LAAS, which is it?” An explanatory note in the agenda stated that “The FAA is investing in both, but industry experts are divided over the safety issues and benefits. What are the costs and benefits of WAAS? LAAS? Which one should we be investing in?”
While FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said required navigation performance (RNP) is receiving broad support in the U.S. and abroad, she acknowledged there is no one-size-fits-all navigation concept. The question she posed is “How do we balance finite resources in terms of WAAS/LAAS?”
The Garmin GNS 480 all-in-one GPS/navcom is now approved for primary-means WAAS navigation and localizer precision with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches. According to Garmin, pilots flying with the $11,995 unit will be able to make “ILS-like” approaches into thousands of U.S. airports not served by ILS once the FAA implements LPV procedures.