Starting today, 216 NDB approaches will be decommissioned. Although the FAA has yet to actually switch them off the air, the decommissioned NDB stations will no longer be flight-checked, maintained, approved for use or shown on updated charts, according to AOPA. “The FAA decommissioned them after careful coordination with AOPA and the aviation community,” said Randy Kenagy, AOPA director of advanced technology.
Although the decision has not yet been officially announced, AIN has learned the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security have agreed that loran should continue operating for the foreseeable future. Key influences were the unanimous endorsement by an independent panel of experts convened by the agencies, plus the overwhelming positive response to an earlier public survey regarding the system’s continuance.
Shortly after the FAA published an advisory circular aimed at increasing capacity in busy Florida airspace by making changes to Rnav routes, SIDs and STARS, NBAA queried the agency about the apparent technical shortcomings of certain FMS equipment that might disqualify a number of business jet operators from flying the new procedures.
To help business aircraft operators cope with new Rnav routes and procedures as of September 1, the FAA is developing a Web-based RAIM (receiver autonomous integrity monitor) prediction service that will be made available for general use by flight crews, according to NBAA.
After a journey to the Far East that took them to Singapore, China and Japan, FAA brass returned home carrying amended bilateral aviation safety agreements with Singapore and China and news that the Japanese are planning to convert the current Nagoya Airport into a general aviation facility when the new Central Japan International Airport opens next year.
Comments are due tomorrow on a request for public input to help federal agencies decide if there is a need to continue to operate or invest in the loran-C radio navigation system beyond FY 2007 (which ends September 30). While the current loran-C system is based on technology developed in the 1960s, some of the stations have been updated to allow for an enhanced signal (eLoran).
The European Commission Directorate General for Energy and Transport has recently awarded a contract to a team led by Helios Technology to contribute to the development of a European Radio Navigation Plan (ERNP) and to support European Radio Navigation policy. The team includes Telematica of Germany, General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland, INECO of Spain and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.
Loran advocates believe they are on a roll. A number of events that transpired so far this year, coupled with a government report on loran due soon, have boosted their confidence that this could be the year when their system finally gains its long-due recognition.
Boeing has formed an international industry team to compete for the contract to build and deploy the next generation of GPS satellites.
The Air Force plans to award the contract in early 2006 for the new GPS III satellites that will replace the ones currently in orbit and those scheduled for launch between now and when the GPS III satellites are ready.
After more than 15 years and $200 million in development effort, the FAA in late January canceled further expenditures on the GPS Category I local-area augmentation system (LAAS), dropped its proposed 2006 initial introduction and reclassified the project as merely research and development.