The FAA on March 28 published a revised version of AC No: 20-138D that clarifies and adds new guidance material to the airworthiness approval process for a variety of GPS systems, including augmented GPS, and Rnav equipment for RNP operations and baro-Vnav equipment.
Satellite navigation systems
Airbus Helicopters and Esterline CMC (Booth No. 1414) have spent more than a decade collaborating on helicopter avionics, culminating in new certifications of avionics and airframes announced at Heli-Expo 2014. On display for the announcement were examples of Esterline’s CMA-9000 flight management system and CMA-5024 GPS landing system sensor in the Airbus EC175.
“Well over 1,000 CMC flight management systems are in service on Airbus helicopters,” said Greg Yeldon, president of Esterline CMC. “The navigation system on the EC175 is the latest example of this collaboration.”
Garmin commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Garmin GPS 155 receiving FAA TSO authorization late last week. The GPS 155 was the industry’s first FAA TSO-C129 approach-approved IFR GPS receiver. The device received FAA TSO approval on Feb. 16, 1994, and “laid the groundwork for future aviation milestones and set the standard for product development, eventually ushering in the foundational technology for what is now referred to as NextGen,” said Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing Carl Wolf.
India’s GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (Gagan) system, jointly developed by Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Indian Space Research Organization and Raytheon, has been awarded certification for in Required Navigation Performance (RNP) 0.1 operations. Achieved with the help of quasi-U.S. government non-profit MITRE Corporation, the certification makes it the world’s fourth SBAS system certified for operational use.
As concern over the jamming of GPS signals grows, Elbit Systems (Booth N65) announced that it had sold its iSNS immunity system to an unspecified Asia Pacific country for installation on maritime surveillance aircraft. The Israeli company claims that the system provides full jamming immunity for multiple satellite channels and handles multiple interfering signals and/or jammers operating on concurrent frequencies. ISNS is very flexible and can work with all types of GPS, without prior knowledge of satellite locations, Elbit says.
NobileSoft, a software company created by a helicopter pilot, has joined forces with independent research company Sintef to bring to market a new GPS-based powerline warning system for low-flying aircraft. Collisions often occur when aircraft fly at low levels on power- or pipeline patrols.
The European Space Agency’s Galileo satellites recently achieved their first successful in-flight tracking of a test machine using aircraft-generated longitude, latitude and altitude. A pair of Galileo test receivers was used aboard the aircraft, the same kind currently employed for Galileo field-testing.
A recent New York Times article described a Russian request to the State Department to approve U.S. locations for one or more terrestrial signal monitors for Russia’s Glonass satellite navigation system, similar to America’s GPS, suggesting the request could have worrisome consequences.
According to the article, “The CIA and other American spy agencies, as well as the Pentagon, suspect that the monitor stations would give the Russians a foothold on American territory that would sharpen the accuracy of Moscow’s satellite-steered weapons.”
GPS Source, a manufacturer of indoor GPS receivers, released its GLI-Metro-G system, which provides a variety of GPS signal types and control over effective radiated power (ERP) levels. GLI-Metro-G can receive GPS L1/L2 and Glonass L1/L2 signals, and users can select both GPS and Glonass or each type individually. An antenna must be mounted on the outside of the building to pass the signals through to the receiver. GLI-Metro-G will also accept Galileo signals when that system becomes operative, as well as those from other future GPS-type systems.
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.
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