Just when it seemed that LightSquared and its threat to GPS had finally faded away, following the February withdrawal of its operating licenses by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the company is back again, with new plans and, more surprisingly, a modest degree of FCC support.
Global Positioning System
Updating older aircraft to “better than new” has become big business, and Butler National Corporation’s (Booth No. 3196) just announced STC for the installation of the Garmin GTN 750 nav/comm into Learjet 35 and 36 series aircraft should make a few NBAA’12 Convention attendees sit up and listen.
Since the withdrawal of approval in February for LightSquared’s planned use of frequencies adjacent to those of GPS to set up a nationwide 4G mobile broadband network, things have recently taken an unexpected turn. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) withdrew LightSquared’s approval earlier this year after transmission tests revealed interference issues with GPS receivers.
Last year there were a handful of companies promoting devices that could capture weather and traffic signals from the growing network of ADS-B ground stations deployed around the U.S. This year, the market and the makers of ADS-B devices have exploded, and buyers now have an array of choices.
The good news is that these devices are now available for both Android and Apple devices. The even better news is that some manufacturers have added fairly significant capabilities to their ADS-B devices, although some of these have yet to begin deliveries.
While the Iranian capture of the Sentinel caught public attention, it also allowed researchers to show that spoofing technology has been, and continues to be, closely investigated by a number of military and civilian facilities in the United States.
Last December an old, rarely used word–spoofing, –meaning to hoax or to fool others–entered worldwide aviation vocabularies virtually overnight. Simultaneously it brought a new and disturbing strategic escalation to military tactics and a potential, albeit probably lesser, threat to civil aircraft operations.
The ADS-B system that is the cornerstone of the FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization plan is at risk of serious security breaches, according to Brad Haines (aka RenderMan), a hacker and network security consultant who is worried about ADS-B vulnerabilities.
Broomfield, Colo.-based JetTech announced yesterday that it received FAA STC approval to install touchscreen Garmin GTN 650/750 GPS navcoms on 500-series Cessna Citations, to include the 500, 501, 550, 551, S550 and 560. The approval covers installation of the GPS navcoms, as well as Garmin GTX 33 transponders, remote GMA35 audio panels and GA35/37 antennas. In addition, the STC includes Waas approvals.
FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta offered a glimpse into the agency’s plans for integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into U.S. domestic airspace during the August 7 Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Las Vegas, but details about precisely how the FAA plans to make the integration of UAVs into domestic airspace work left some skeptics scratching their heads.
Pilots flying in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) monitoring airspace will soon find themselves becoming familiar with another new compliance standard, as well as a new acronym, AGHME. This stands for Aircraft Geometric Height Measurement Element, and Nov.