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.
Global Positioning System
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.
The FAA’s original plan to transition to sole-means GPS is no longer practical and some form of backup will be required for the foreseeable future, according to speakers at a recent Navigation Industry Day. This event was sponsored by the DOT, FAA and Civil Aviation Advanced Systems Development (CAASD), which is a component of the federally-funded MITRE research and development center and a key FAA think-tank resource.
Garmin has tossed its hat into the terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) ring, announcing at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., last month that a class-B product is in the works and will be offered to buyers of Garmin 500-series avionics “within a year.”
The Department of Defense is conducting more GPS interference tests in the western U.S. through next month that will cause GPS navigation to be unreliable at times near the test centers, reported AOPA. The areas affected center on the Bonneville (BVL) Vortac in Utah, Truth or Consequences (TCS) Vortac in New Mexico and Sierra Vista Municipal Airport in Arizona.
Avidyne unveiled its Entegra FMS900W WAAS-enabled GPS navcom flight management system last month at the Sun ’n’ Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. The FMS announcement is significant, since the system is the central computer–not to mention the user interface and input device–for Avidyne’s next-generation integrated avionics system. It is also the first of “four major announcements” that the Lincoln, Mass.
Eclipse Aviation is expecting to achieve two major certification goals–flight-into-known-icing and EASA certification–for the EA-500 very light jet by July, according to Mike McConnell, vice president of sales and marketing. Full avionics functionality should follow by year-end, aided by Eclipse’s choice to install dual Garmin GPS 400W WAAS-certified moving-map GPS navigators to provide missing GPS functionality.
Goers and GOTS describe two critical FAA programs planned for later this year and early next year, respectively. Goers stands for GPS outage en route simulation, while GOTS is similar, but with terminal replacing en route.
Speakers from Eurocontrol and the European Space Agency last month informed attendees at a meeting of the FAA’s Satellite Operational Implementation Team (SOIT) that their organizations would accept liability for system failures when the Galileo satnav system was used in critical applications requiring high-accuracy guidance, such as approach and landing operations.
Eclipse Aviation this afternoon revealed another major change to the Avio NG avionics suite for the Eclipse 500, announcing the addition of two panel-mount, WAAS-capable Garmin GPS 400W receivers to bring GPS navigation capability to the very light jet. Certification of the upgrade for Avio NG system, itself an upgrade from the original Avio avionics, is expected by June, with production cut-in planned for the third quarter.