Speech-recognition technology has come a long way in the last few years, especially as cellphone makers seek to add voice search capability to their latest Web-enabled smartphones. So maybe it’s not too surprising that the FAA has signed off on a pilot-speech-recognition system that can enter GPS waypoints or victor airways en route simply by hearing them.
Global Positioning System
Garmin’s GPSmap 696 is a capable and feature-filled portable GPS navigator that doubles as a Class 1 or 2 electronic flight bag (EFB) with the ability to display weather, terrain, approach charts and airways. While the 696 displays own-ship position on moving maps and SafeTaxi airport diagrams, potential buyers should know that it does not do so on approach charts.
Rockwell Collins last month wrapped up flight testing of a WAAS/LPV (wide-area augmentation system/localizer performance with vertical guidance) upgrade for the Pro Line 21 avionics system in the Hawker 800XP. The STC issued last month will allow Hawker 800XP operators equipped with Pro Line 21 to take advantage of the more than 1,500 WAAS/LPV approaches created so far.
Come fall, the U.S. Congress will decide the fate of loran and its successor eLoran when members of the Congressional House and Senate Appropriations Committees meet in conference to determine which of their respective favored projects will live on and which will not.
Testifying before Congress in May, Stanford University professor Brad Parkinson–the chief architect of GPS and the original GPS program manager before his retirement from the USAF–echoed the concern of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that there will be insufficient backup satellites to fill gaps in the constellation before the DOD’s forecast 2014 launches of its next-generation GPS III units. (see AIN, June, page one.)
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.
Atlantic Inertial Systems (AIS) has introduced a new generation of ruggedized solid-state inertial MEMS (micro electromechanical systems). The system improves noise performance and halves the bias of a current inertial measurement unit or single-axis rate sensor. This makes them compatible with long-endurance missions, the company claims.
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.
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.