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.
After 10 frustrating years of technical delays, escalating costs and contractor changes, the FAA’s GPS wide area augmentation system (WAAS) is approaching the level of performance the agency originally envisioned for it back in the late 1980s. With the system’s initial operational capability declared in 2003 and 18 months of satisfactory performance now behind them, WAAS advocates can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Last month I started a discussion about what I have come to recognize as a serious disconnect between pilots and mechanics, each of whom performs critical tasks necessary to prepare an aircraft for safe flight. For lack of a better term, I call this phenomenon negative culture. Although the phenomenon exists in every industry, in few industries does it carry consequences as severe as those in aviation.
Few navigation systems have experienced the ups and downs of loran as they sought recognition. In December, a UK agency said the system is an essential back-up to GPS; the same month the FAA rejected it for the same purpose and an independent group of U.S. experts unanimously endorsed the system as a backup.
Federal agencies on January 8 issued a notice asking for the public’s help to decide if there is a need to continue to operate or invest in the loran-C radio navigation system beyond September 30. They gave the public only 30 days–until February 7–to submit comments.
Federal agencies are asking for the public’s help to decide if there is a need to continue to operate or invest in the loran-C radio navigation system beyond Fiscal Year 2007 (which ends September 30). While the current loran-C system is based on technology developed in the 1960s, some of the stations have been updated to allow for an enhanced signal (eLoran).