South Korea has been subject to annual GPS jamming attacks by its North Korean neighbor since 2010. Over that period, jamming has extended over longer periods, with the longest being a continuous 16-day attack, employing various frequencies, techniques and signal strengths. As the jamming periods increased each year, they affected more and more GPS users. Last year, South Korean officials estimated that 1,016 aircraft lost GPS signals, as did 254 ships and a large number of cellphone towers.
With the continuing strains on the U.S. national budget and the possibility that the Administration’s sequestration program could last for several more years, Pentagon planners are said to be worrying that the costs of the future GPS III system could become out of reach, despite its major advances and the need to have modernized replacement satellites ready to be deployed as the orbital lives of current satellites end.
German light sport aircraft manufacturer Flight Design selected Garmin avionics for its new normal-category aircraft, the C4, a four-place composite single-engine aircraft. The new Garmin suite will feature angle of attack, dual air data heading reference system, synthetic vision and integrated autopilot with one-touch leveling.
The C4 features the Continental IO-360AF alternate fuels engine and an integrated full aircraft parachute system. The C4 will have a 1,200 nm range and a useful load of 1,320 pounds.
Mercy One helicopter emergency medical services at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, one of the first HEMS operators certified to fly Waas low-level IFR routes, including approaches to local hospitals, recently added a second Waas-capable Bell 429 to its fleet. These IFR routes keep helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from mixing in IFR airspace. Three of the hospital helipad approaches are Waas-based while another is an approach to a helipad in Stuart, Iowa, that is used as a rendezvous for helicopters and ground ambulances from surrounding counties.
Garmin has added terrain and obstacle overlays to its Garmin Pilot iPad app (Version 5.1), bringing the app one step closer to matching the full capabilities of the company’s portable GPS navigation devices.
Eurocopter demonstrated new automated landing procedures relying on Egnos (Europe’s Waas equivalent) satellite guidance. Part of Europe’s Clean Sky research project, the tests were performed on an EC155 medium twin. They showed significant reductions in the helicopter’s perceived sound footprint, the company said. The noise-abatement flightpaths were compatible with IFR operations and can be tailored to local requirements.
Rockwell Collins and Piaggio announced an upgrade program for the Piaggio Avanti twin turboprop. The program, available from Ruag Aviation, allows operators to upgrade their Pro Line 4 avionics to Pro Line 21. The Pro Line 21 P180 cockpit will be equipped with three or four 10-inch by 8-inch LCDs and Rockwell Collins’s Integrated Flight Information System, plus a new FMS and GPS-4000 that enables Waas LPV and space-based augmentation system with vertical guidance approaches.
If ever there was a Comeback Kid in avionics, it would have to be the FAA’s wide area augmentation system (Waas). Heralded by the agency in 1994 as the future Swiss Army knife of navigation, Waas was going to bring greater accuracy and enhanced reliability to the sometimes unpredictable GPS and, in so doing, promised a new era where satellites would replace not only the nation’s NDBs and VORs, but also the more than 600 Category 1 ILS installations in the National Airspace System at the time. Development would cost more than $300 million, and take about four years.
Start-up aircraft manufacturer Flaris (Hall 4 F16) surprised attendees at the Paris Air Show by displaying a prototype of its heretofore unannounced five-place, single-engine very light jet–dubbed the LAR 01–at its exhibit booth. The aircraft that’s on display (registered as SP-YLE) has already completed low-speed taxi tests and, following the airshow, will soon start high-speed ground testing before making its first flight by year-end, Flaris sales manager Anthony Krol told AIN. EASA and FAA Part 23 certification is expected in late 2015, he said.
Lockheed Martin has chosen CMC Electronics to provide a new flight management system (FMS) and GPS landing sensor for the avionics upgrade package it is producing for the U.S. Navy’s C-130T fleet.