The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced it will issue revised standards for helicopter navigation this fall that are intended to take advantage of GPS receiver technology and new types of instrument approach procedures.
Global Positioning System
Airborne video surveillance can give first responders and law enforcement a clear idea of what needs to be done on the ground in an emergency. But the challenge is making sure the information reaches the right people–that’s where Microwave Radio Communications’ (Booth No. 1313) experience can make a big difference, according to the Massachusetts company.
The FAA last month approved GPS wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) LPV instrument approach criteria for helicopters, opening the floodgates for the new lateral precision/vertical guidance procedures at heliports and landing pads across the country.
Airservices Australia and Qantas are working with Honeywell at Sydney Airport to supplement the signals broadcast by global navigation satellite systems. Those systems include the global positioning system that will provide the same level of precision approach guidance as a Category I instrument landing system–that is, to a height of 200 feet above the ground as long as visibility on the airport surface is adequate.
Garmin last month notified distributors that it has decided to discontinue production of the GNS 480 GPS/navcom receiver after a significant decline in sales of the WAAS-capable product as more customers migrate toward the Garmin GNS 430W/530W line of WAAS units. Garmin acquired the GNS 480 product when it purchased the assets of UPS Aviation Technologies in 2003.
Loran will continue, and be modernized, according to the recently released U.S. Fiscal Year 2009 budget. Furthermore, system responsibility will be placed with the National Protection and Programs Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security, which has chosen it as the backup for national infrastructure elements that currently depend on GPS.
The WAAS revolution appears set to begin. A new IFR WAAS-capable GPS/navcom, the Apollo CNX80 all-in-one navigator from UPS Aviation Technologies–introduced last month at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla.–could give Garmin’s popular GNS 430 and 530 navigation units some serious competition. Similar in size and function to the Garmin GNS 430, the CNX80 is claimed to be the first such box to include an IFR WAAS GPS receiver.
Officials for Jeppesen report that the company has identified and corrected many of the irregularities in its NavData boundary data, but at press time about 350 of the more than 20,000 boundaries included in the latest update of the database, effective March 20, had not yet been fixed. The error arose from problems with a software upgrade when data was pulled from a database containing airspace boundaries worldwide for the March update.
The FAA awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin last month that will add a third leased geostationary satellite to the two existing satellites used for the wide-area augmentation system (WAAS). Acquisition of a third satellite follows a recommendation from an independent review board study that concluded it was too risky to depend on only two satellites for the availability of the WAAS signal.
The combination of GPS position, digital communications networks and the Internet has made possible–and affordable–a variety of products and services for continuous real-time tracking of aircraft fleets by dispatchers on the ground. Nowhere has such capability been more eagerly accepted than in the realm of helicopter flight operations, many of which are now using data-link services to keep close tabs on their aircraft at all times.