A solar flare 10 times stronger than anything researchers had previously observed or predicted surprised scientists last December, not only because of its size and strength, but because of the effect it had on GPS receivers and other communications systems. Now scientists are looking at previous data and trying to understand how these flares affect satellite signals, in the hope that they can one day prevent further disruptions.
Wide Area Augmentation System
One of Eurocontrol’s senior navigation managers says the business aviation community should be acting now to prepare for the introduction of the EGNOS (European geostationary navigation overlay service) augmented satellite approach and landing system.
Lingering technical issues are forcing Garmin to delay plans for upgraded WAAS capability in the company's GNS 430/530 and GPS 400/500 panel-mount avionics, according to a spokesman. Explaining that the upgrades will require "a major software rewrite" in addition to minor hardware changes, the spokesman indicated that the capability is now not expected to be available before next year's third quarter.
The obstacle clearance panel (OCP), a group of experts in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is designing more suitable IFR procedures for helicopters, taking advantage of new navigation equipment. Under the proposed rules, scheduled to take effect in the fall of next year, precision guidance on low-level routes to so-called points in space will become common.
Cessna last month was close to certifying a software update for the Citation Mustang’s G1000 avionics system after avionics maker Garmin in February uncovered a programming glitch. The problem is causing course deviation errors and a loss of some navigation cues on the map display when the pilot attempts to load a new arrival or departure procedure without deleting a previously loaded procedure.
Mercury Computer Systems introduced two new class II-qualified electronic flight bag (EFB) systems targeting operators of larger aircraft. Mercury’s original VistaNav EFB class-I CIS-1000 is a tablet PC offering a 2-D or 3-D synthetic view of the outside world, including highway-in-the-sky approaches. The tablet receives wireless signals from a separate inertial navigation unit housing a WAAS GPS receiver and solid-state gyros.
Starting today, 216 NDB approaches will be decommissioned. Although the FAA has yet to actually switch them off the air, the decommissioned NDB stations will no longer be flight-checked, maintained, approved for use or shown on updated charts, according to AOPA. “The FAA decommissioned them after careful coordination with AOPA and the aviation community,” said Randy Kenagy, AOPA director of advanced technology.
Although the decision has not yet been officially announced, AIN has learned the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security have agreed that loran should continue operating for the foreseeable future. Key influences were the unanimous endorsement by an independent panel of experts convened by the agencies, plus the overwhelming positive response to an earlier public survey regarding the system’s continuance.
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.
Bell Helicopter selected Chelton Flight Systems to provide a glass cockpit for the company’s light single-engine helicopters. The Chelton cockpit will be available from Bell for the Model 407 beginning in the first quarter of 2007. Until then, Bell 407, 206 and 210 owners can upgrade their existing aircraft to synthetic vision through Bell installation facilities or Chelton’s dealer network.