It is good news that the joint program and development office (JPDO), formed recently at the direction of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, is crafting a national policy on air transportation. Many voices, among them mine when I served as president of NBAA, called for a vision and mission statement by the U.S.
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.
Expert groups at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are designing new rules for helicopter IFR procedures and heliport construction. Developed primarily with Europe in mind, the guidelines are expected to be released sometime next year, according to ICAO officials.
In a letter to the Department of Transportation last month, AOPA renewed its support of loran as a possible low-cost, ideal backup to the future GPS-based ATC system. The letter went to the Coast Guard because it is responsible for operation and maintenance of loran.
A public survey by the DOT and Homeland Security drew more than 900 responses about whether Loran should be kept operational or shut down.
Online is where it’s at, and FltPlan. com allows corporate, charter and business aircraft users to create IFR flight plans online free of charge. The Web site provides a navigation log, weather data, IFR filing capability, airport information (including diagrams and a list of fields closest to a given city), passenger flight briefing sheets, low- and high-altitude en route charts and customized aircraft performance numbers.
The French civil aviation authority, DGAC, has published the first GNSS nonprecision approach procedure for a French airport and is working toward introducing approaches with vertical guidance (APVs) once the necessary augmentation of the GPS signals is available and the relevant ICAO design criteria become effective.
Today pilots who have an inertial navigation system coupled with an advanced GPS aboard their airplanes are considered to be at the upper end of the profession, while the rest of us bumble along with just a plain vanilla GPS–maybe with a WAAS upgrade–and a couple of VORs plus one, maybe two, DMEs. But tomorrow might be different.
In the world of aircraft maintenance software, to say there are options would be an understatement. The gamut ranges from digitally photographing your aircraft logbooks and storing the images for safe keeping to very high end, comprehensive maintenance planning, prediction and record-keeping systems.
Germany’s air navigation service provider (ANSP), Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), is working toward the national implementation of differential GPS-based precision approaches in a program expected to last about two years.