The increasing number of GPS approaches is making those government approach plate publications so thick for some regions that they have become unwieldy. Therefore, the FAA has decided to split the volumes to cover smaller regions. Starting with the November 1 revision cycle, there will be four additional volumes of the terminal procedures publication added to the Northeast series, the South Central series and the Southwest series.
Global Positioning System
A little known FAA policy statement, dated June 1 of this year, stands to dramatically change the helicopter industry as we know it. Helicopter pilots and manufacturers have long known the unique capabilities of rotorcraft, but have always been obligated to follow regulations and policies set forth and to operate in airspace designed for the much more prevalent fixed-wing aircraft.
CMC Electronics showcased its new CMA-9000 flight management system (FMS), which also includes radio management. “The -9000 is a derivative of both the -3000, a helicopter cockpit product, and the airline-oriented -900,” FMS program manager Martin Richard explained. It features several search-and-rescue functions, including programmable moving waypoints.
The FAA last month said it is expanding GPS WAAS coverage into Canada and Mexico by adding nine new wide-area augmentation system ground stations in places such as Goose Bay and San Jose del Cabo. The FAA has published about 900 LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) approaches in the U.S.
Effective February 20, the /F suffix for aircraft equipped with single FMSs has been revised to account for advanced Rnav equipment.
Concerned about attempts by adversaries to jam global positioning satellite system signals–as occurred with only limited success during the recent Iraq conflict–the U.S. Air Force is moving ahead with plans to field a new-generation constellation of satellites, called GPS III. After a months-long logjam, the Air Force next month will begin accepting requests for proposals to develop and deploy the satellites sometime between 2010 and 2013.
Galileo, Europe’s $4.2 billion rival to GPS, is in jeopardy of cancellation following clashes between EU nations over project budgeting, officials said. Several EU nations have voiced concern about Galileo’s high cost, complaining they have been left out of commercial bidding negotiations. The first Galileo satellites need to be launched by 2005 or Europe may have to forfeit frequencies allotted by the International Telecommunications Union.
In 1997 the President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, which was charged with examining threats to our national security, recommended an assessment be made of the vulnerability of the U.S. transportation infrastructure if it had to rely on GPS.
As part of its evaluation of loran as a potential backup to GPS, the FAA has contracted Rock-well Collins to build a combined GPS/loran variant of its standard multimode navigation and landing receiver. The unit’s primary function will be to provide GPS navigation, with automatic switchover to loran should GPS signals be lost or degraded, and automatic reversion to GPS when normal service resumes.
For any pilot who’s ever sat glued to the Weather Channel or logged onto a weather Web site to keep a watchful eye on a powerful cold front or line of thunderstorms sweeping across the country, the term airborne datalink could soon take on special significance.