The U.S. Departments of Defense, Transportation, Commerce and Homeland Security, as well as the civil GPS Industry Council–of which NBAA is a member–have filed objections with the FCC over a new satellite-enabled cellular broadband service from LightSquared.
Satellite navigation systems
Several years ago, when satellites were being touted as aviation’s sole means of navigation from takeoff to touchdown, former FAA Administrator Langhorne Bond painted a picture of a dark winter’s night with below-limits weather up and down the east coast. In that scenario, he stated, terrorist GPS jammers could become “weapons of mass destruction.” The FAA shrugged it off as unfounded speculation.
GPS designers understood from the beginning that the system’s weak signals would be vulnerable to inadvertent or deliberate interference, with the threat formally recognized by the DOT’s Volpe Center in Cambridge, Mass., on Sept. 10, 2001�one day before 9/11. Since that time, the Department of Defense has run annual all-altitude tests�over the Western U.S.
Following successful ADS-B deployment at key sites in the U.S., the FAA gave the go-ahead for the system’s national rollout, with coast-to-coast U.S. coverage forecast in 2013.
Gulfstream has received FAA approval to add Waas functionality in the G150 as part of a final-phase manufacturing installation that adds an optional Waas-capable GPS receiver to the airplane. The Waas upgrade is also available for retrofit in G150s already in service.
A June editorial in GPS World magazine notes that ICAO’s marine equivalent, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has endorsed eLoran as the backup to GPS. This echoed the unanimous view of GPS industry leaders, who advocate eLoran as the best solution for all users.
Eurocopter recently announced the success of the flights it conducted in November with an EC145 light twin to test Galileo satellite navigation. Galileo, Europe’s GPS counterpart, is expected to offer higher reliability than current augmented GPS. But
the helicopter manufacturer does not expect the tested applications to be operational until 2015.
Garmin late last year released a new line of compact handheld GPS units, the aera 500 through 560 series. The four new aera units are priced from $875 to $2,199 and key differences between these and the older but still available 196 through 496 series is inclusion of Garmin’s City Navigator NT street mapping system (almost the same as Garmin’s nüvi automotive GPS units) and a touchscreen display.
The first geostationary satellite for India’s Gagan GPS space-based augmentation system (SBAS)–essentially similar to Waas–was lost on April 15 when its launch rocket’s second-stage cryogenic engine failed to ignite. That followed the early-April loss of Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 geosat, which was carrying the FAA’s Pacific Waas transponder.