One key benefit of the future GPS III satellites that the DOD plans to launch in 2014 is that they will transmit a second civil aviation signal, called L-5, that new receivers will compare with today’s L-1 civil signals to eliminate ionospheric interference, the last major cause of GPS errors.
Satellite navigation systems
Helileo (Hall 4 Stand E66), a Galileo test bed and expert company located in Aerospace Valley of southwest France, is offering flight testing services to manufacturers of GPS, EGNOS and Galileo receivers. Under an original program, the French start-up company plans to have one engineer testing hardware during French Army pilot training flights operated by Helidax, a private venture, with Eurocopter EC 120 helicopters.
GPS-based Laas and Jpals landing system developments are moving ahead for civil and military operations. Laas, the local-area augmentation system (or, in ICAO-ese, GBAS, for ground-based augmentation system), is intended eventually to replace civil ILS Cat III, while Jpals (joint precision approach and landing system) will provide all-weather autoland guidance for the Navy’s aircraft and UAVs.
On March 10 next year the FAA is expected to issue its final rule covering mandatory equipage of ADS-B avionics, and agency officials are tight lipped about what, if any, changes will be made to the original draft rule offered for industry comment early last year.
GPS service is in danger of severe erosion, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). A Congressional “watchdog” of programs and spending of government departments, the GAO warns that the satellite navigation service could slowly worsen after 2010, and not recover to acceptable aviation levels before 2022.
A study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) predicts that GPS service levels could fall well below civil requirements in the next decade. GPS typically has 24 satellites in orbit, although it currently has 31.
Bombardier Aerospace (Booth No. 7011) is now offering a WAAS (wide area augmentation system) capable flight management system on its Learjet 60s; it also is STC’d for in-service models. The aircraft uses the WAAS signal in addition to GPS to fly area navigation and localize performance with vertical guidance instrument approaches. The system has been previously available for the Canadian airframer’s Learjet 40, 40 XR, 45 and 45 XR models.
A last-minute change in U.S. loran policy has raised serious concerns among international navigation and security organizations. In late February, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) removed loran-C funding from the President’s budget, provoking an immediate response from the UK.
While GPS is currently leading the pack in terms of satnav system implementation, at a recent UN International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems conference it was clear that competing systems are getting closer and could overtake it during the next decade. Presentations from Europe, Russia and China described active developments of worldwide satnav constellations, while India and Japan are moving ahead with regional networks.
HEMS operator CareFlite is working with the FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) Program Office to help quantify WAAS benefits to HEMS operations.
CareFlite currently has 18 helipad GPS approaches and will begin integrating WAAS into these approach procedures, beginning with four regional trauma centers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.