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.
Microwave landing system
After more than 15 years and $200 million in development effort, the FAA in late January canceled further expenditures on the GPS Category I local-area augmentation system (LAAS), dropped its proposed 2006 initial introduction and reclassified the project as merely research and development.
In an effort to build on the promise of the GPS wide-area augmentation system (WAAS), the FAA has amended a $200 million contract with Raytheon to deploy next-generation technology for satellite precision approach guidance.
Under an FAA cost-cutting proposal, certain ILS approaches, localizer-type directional aids, microwave landing systems and nondirectional beacons at some 25 U.S. airports would no longer be monitored by ATC or FSS due to their low annual activity or because they are not authorized for alternate airport filing when the control tower is closed. It will therefore be up to pilots to report signal discrepancies to the FAA.
Under an FAA proposal, certain ILS approaches, localizer-type directional aids (LDA), microwave landing systems (MLS) and nondirectional beacons (NDB) at some 25 U.S. airports would become unmonitored by ATC or FSS facilities due to their low annual activity or the fact they are not authorized for alternate airport filing when the control tower is closed.
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