Even though Congress exempted the FAA from standard procurement rules in 1996, the agency remains mired in cost overruns and schedule slippages on many of its major acquisitions, including the wide-area augmentation system (WAAS), standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars), local-area augmentation system (LAAS) and integrated terminal weather system (ITWS).
Wide Area Augmentation System
The FAA has issued a technical standard order and blanket installation approval covering 850 aircraft models for the CNX80 all-in-one GPS navcom from Salem, Ore.-based UPS Aviation Technologies. The company, a subsidiary of parcel shipping giant UPS, lays claim to being one of the first avionics manufacturers to gain FAA certification for a GPS receiver approved for WAAS instrument approaches.
At recent public hearings in Washington, D.C., and Albuquerque, N.M., DOD and DOT representatives reviewed the departments’ policies toward the provision of radionavigation services to the U.S. civil user community between now and 2020. The hearings were held to solicit user comments on those policies before publication of this year’s federal radionavigation plan (FRP), which will be available by year-end.
The FAA flipped the switch on its wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) at 12:01 a.m. on July 10, potentially opening up thousands of runways at 5,400 public-use airports for near-precision approaches in both lateral and vertical guidance modes.
Garmin late last month announced a deal to buy UPS Aviation Technologies, a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, for $38 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close this quarter, after which UPS Aviation Technologies will change its name to Garmin AT.
The FAA plans to start introducing instrument approaches using its Wide Area Augmentation System on July 10, bringing much higher levels of accuracy, signal availability and approach performance to GPS-based satnav. WAAS avionics now entering the market herald the end of today’s “dive and drive” nonprecision approaches, replacing them with two new procedures.
Honeywell has completed a series of GPS-guided autoland approaches to each of the four runways at Moses Lake Airfield in central Washington using a single Honeywell/Pelorus local-area augmentation system (LAAS) ground station. The successful trials, conducted over a 45-day period that ended in January, come just as
the FAA is preparing to award a major contract for the supply of 60 Cat I LAAS ground stations through 2007.
Eclipse Aviation yesterday received flight into known icing (FIKI) approval for the Eclipse 500, though in-service and undelivered aircraft up to S/N 265 will require modifications to fly in such conditions.
Although WAAS LPV (lateral precision with vertical guidance) approaches have been popping up at airports around the U.S. at an impressive rate, only a handful of business jets are approved to fly the procedures. That’s because most flight management systems don’t yet support the new type of approach and some airplanes might not be approved to do so without costly upgrades.
Before GPS, approach classifications were cut and dried–they were either precision (ILS) or nonprecision approaches. But as pilots move into the future, they will need, before considering an approach into an “obstacle-rich environment,” to first navigate through an acronym-rich environment of new terminology to decide how to reach the threshold.