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.
After only four years in Brazil, Blue Sky Network, which offers satellite tracking of and communication with vehicles operating in the air, on land and at sea, has built up a sizable client base, including the Líder fleet that serves Petrobras, the Helisul air taxi operator and energy exploration company HRT. Here at LABACE show-goers can see how Blue Sky’s New SkyRouter and other systems work at the company’s display in the exhibition hangar (Stand 5020).
South Korea has been subject to annual GPS jamming attacks by its North Korean neighbor since 2010. Over that period, jamming has extended over longer periods, with the longest being a continuous 16-day attack, employing various frequencies, techniques and signal strengths. As the jamming periods increased each year, they affected more and more GPS users. Last year, South Korean officials estimated that 1,016 aircraft lost GPS signals, as did 254 ships and a large number of cellphone towers.
With the continuing strains on the U.S. national budget and the possibility that the Administration’s sequestration program could last for several more years, Pentagon planners are said to be worrying that the costs of the future GPS III system could become out of reach, despite its major advances and the need to have modernized replacement satellites ready to be deployed as the orbital lives of current satellites end.
To cut costs and improve efficiency, the FAA is moving to end its direct-to-public retail sales of aeronautical charts and related paper products. Last week the agency stopped accepting or renewing chart subscriptions. While individual charts will be available through the agency’s website through September, on October 1 it will stop selling individual charts.
If ever there was a Comeback Kid in avionics, it would have to be the FAA’s wide area augmentation system (Waas). Heralded by the agency in 1994 as the future Swiss Army knife of navigation, Waas was going to bring greater accuracy and enhanced reliability to the sometimes unpredictable GPS and, in so doing, promised a new era where satellites would replace not only the nation’s NDBs and VORs, but also the more than 600 Category 1 ILS installations in the National Airspace System at the time. Development would cost more than $300 million, and take about four years.
Lockheed Martin has chosen CMC Electronics to provide a new flight management system (FMS) and GPS landing sensor for the avionics upgrade package it is producing for the U.S. Navy’s C-130T fleet.