Every spring the federal government departments must submit to Congress their proposed spending estimates for inclusion in the President’s budget for the next fiscal year. The estimates go first to separate appropriations committees in the House and Senate for review and the inclusion of any changes the legislators believe are necessary before being combined into the final budget.
Global Positioning System
The business and commuter aircraft products business of Trimble Navigation has been purchased by newly established FreeFlight Systems, a sister company of Aircraft Systems & Manufacturing of Georgetown, Texas. Business aviation veteran Steve Williams is president of FreeFlight Systems, which will be based in Waco, Texas.
The October announcement by Raytheon that it had won a Department of Defense contract–potentially worth $25 million–to develop next-generation anti-jamming systems for GPS underlines security specialists’ concern that GPS is now “an attractive target” for terrorists.
While the FAA moves forward with its operational evolution plan (OEP) to increase National Airspace System capacity by the end of this decade, a major consideration will be how many aircraft are equipped to take advantage of the resulting improvements in efficiency.
At press time, technical experts from the FAA, the U.S. Coast Guard and researchers from Ohio and Stanford Universities were due to begin a two-week flight-test program in Alaska to assess the use of loran transmitters to send out GPS WAAS messages across the state.
The FAA is preparing publication of the first LPV (lateral precision with vertical guidance) approaches, a new type of precision approach procedure designed specifically for WAAS. The hallmarks of LPV are lower landing minimums than Lnav/Vnav (250 ft and three-quarters of a mile visibility) and signals that are compatible only with IFR-approved WAAS receivers.
The Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) successfully passed a critical 60-day test that prime contractor Raytheon said proves the reliability of the signals for ILS-like approach procedures to thousands of airports not served by precision instrument approaches.
After extensive industry consultation, the FAA has recently completed a document outlining its proposed strategy for transition from today’s terrestrial navaids to GPS, including proposed procedures to minimize the effect of GPS jamming.
A new computer system developed by NASA to automatically calculate the speed and distances between aircraft was scheduled for tests during overnight hours at Chicago O’Hare International Airport last month.
Navstar, the official U.S. Air Force program moniker for the constellation of satellites most of us refer to simply as GPS, has undergone a multitude of technical changes and upgrades in the nearly 30 years since a group of military and civil engineers first sat down in the Pentagon to talk about the far-reaching precision navigation concept.