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.
Wide Area Augmentation System
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.
Rockwell Collins announced the successful completion of microwave landing system (MLS) Category IIIb approach tests in the U.S. and Europe, with the aim of obtaining TSO approval for its multi-mode receiver (MMR) in the first quarter of this year.
To counter the possibility of jammed and “spoofed” signals, the authors of a U.S. Department of Transportation report on GPS vulnerability released on September 10 recommend that GPS not be relied upon as the sole source in critical applications, including precision approaches.
Other than the occasional contradiction, the recently released federal radionavigation plan (FRP) reveals few surprises. The FRP does, however, include a revised schedule
for the gradual phaseout of certain VOR, VOR/DME and ILS installations across the continental U.S., primarily following nationwide certification of WAAS. Originally planned to commence in 2008, the phaseout has now slipped to 2011.