In aviation, we tend to consider our use of GPS one of the more important applications of the technology, especially when compared to, say, drivers on downtown shopping expeditions. And, of course, it is.
Flight-testing at Toulouse, France, and Frankfurt, Germany, has proved that a reliable alternative to an ILS signal can be produced with a GNSS constellation and single-frequency input signal. Eurocontrol’s Sesar air traffic management research team worked with equipment manufacturers Thales, Indra-Navia, Honeywell and Thales Avionics using a ground-based augmentation system (GBAS). Further testing at both airports is expected to resume in the middle of next year.
Because air traffic controllers are increasingly making traffic separation decisions based upon an aircraft’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS) capability–or lack thereof–the FAA has begun updating aircraft equipment suffixes for traffic operating in U.S. domestic airspace. For instance, a GNSS-equipped aircraft may now fly a random route without the need for ATC radar monitoring, where previously radar was always required.
Garmin unveiled a GPS watch, dubbed D2, designed specifically for aviators today. Features include direct-to and nearest functions; a built-in adjustable altimeter; altitude-alerting capabilities; the option to display both local and Zulu/UTC time; and the ability to integrate with Garmin’s iOS and Android Pilot apps and VIRB HD action camera. Customized data fields can also display GPS ground speed, GPS track, distance, estimated time en route, bearing and glide ratio. When used with the Pilot app, the D2 can load flight plans and create waypoints.
Any of the 6,000 helicopters that annually use the helipad at Eurocopter’s facility in Donauwörth, Germany, will now find arrivals easier in poor weather with the recent certification of a GPS localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approach to the pad, one of the few in Europe certified for all-weather operations.
In 2008 Donauwörth became the first European helipad to introduce satellite-based Rnav (area navigation) specifically for use by rotorcraft.
On Wednesday, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will demonstrate a new radar device capable of detecting human heartbeats trapped behind as much as 20 feet of solid concrete rubble. The device, called Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (Finder), will be shown at the Virginia Task Force 1 Training Facility at 9850 Furnace Road (use 9900 for GPS) in Lorton, Va. beginning at 10:30 a.m. on September 25. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., developed Finder in collaboration with the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate.
Eurocopter obtained the first license in Europe permitting localizer-performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches on a helipad, at its development and production facility in Donauwörth, Germany. The helicopter manufacturer emphasized that such a procedure improves safety in poor visibility, since aircraft can overfly obstacles more safely.
After several years of anticipation, the planned earth-girdling network of five global navigation satellite system (GNSS) constellations is taking tangible form in space. Two of them–America’s GPS and Russia’s Glonass–are already fully operational. Glonass reached that goal in 2009, joining the pioneering GPS, which achieved that status in the 1980s.
Harbinger Capital Partners and other entities associated with the LightSquared high-speed wireless Internet access system have filed a lawsuit against Deere & Company, Garmin International, Trimble Navigation, The U.S. GPS Industry Council and The Coalition to Save Our GPS.
As part of continued cost cutting by the U.S. federal government, the FAA has announced plans to begin decommissioning some instrument approach procedures (IAP) to save on maintenance costs of ground-based navaids. The agency said the plan also stems from a near doubling of new IAPs in the past decade thanks to advances in satellite-based approach systems.