Shortly after the FAA published an advisory circular aimed at increasing capacity in busy Florida airspace by making changes to Rnav routes, SIDs and STARS, NBAA queried the agency about the apparent technical shortcomings of certain FMS equipment that might disqualify a number of business jet operators from flying the new procedures.
Satellite navigation systems
To help business aircraft operators cope with new Rnav routes and procedures as of September 1, the FAA is developing a Web-based RAIM (receiver autonomous integrity monitor) prediction service that will be made available for general use by flight crews, according to NBAA.
Boeing has formed an international industry team to compete for the contract to build and deploy the next generation of GPS satellites.
The Air Force plans to award the contract in early 2006 for the new GPS III satellites that will replace the ones currently in orbit and those scheduled for launch between now and when the GPS III satellites are ready.
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.
In a statement that surprised Western observers, China announced late last year that it will launch its own 35-satellite, GPS-like global navigation system over the next several years. Thirty of these satellites will fly in medium-earth orbits at around 12,000 miles altitude, similar to that of GPS, while the remaining five will be equally spaced around the equator in WAAS-like geostationary orbits and perform a similar service.
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.
While the FAA’s current WAAS network offers equipped users with improved GPS performance across the continental U.S. and Alaska, it still does not provide the redundancy and reliability required from an aviation navigation service. So the FAA has now contracted to obtain additional geostationary satellites (GEOs) to rectify this shortcoming.
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.
The biggest question remaining about Europe’s homegrown satellite navigation project appears to be not whether the satnav network will ever be built but rather who will run the multibillion-dollar Galileo system after the first of its 30 satellites are launched later this year.