Several years ago, when satellites were being touted as aviation’s sole means of navigation from takeoff to touchdown, former FAA Administrator Langhorne Bond painted a picture of a dark winter’s night with below-limits weather up and down the east coast. In that scenario, he stated, terrorist GPS jammers could become “weapons of mass destruction.” The FAA shrugged it off as unfounded speculation.
Local Area Augmentation System
For years the world’s aviation authorities have been preparing for the transition to a re-imagined operating environment where an array of new technologies–placed on the ground, in space and in the cockpit–can be applied to the daunting task of funneling thousands more airplanes from departure to destination each day without encountering the choke points that inevitably would arise from using a global navigation infrastructure developed when
Honeywell’s SmartPath precision-landing system yesterday became the only ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) to receive FAA approval. GBAS monitors GPS signals to detect errors and augment accuracy by transmitting correction messages to aircraft, providing precision-approach guidance to all qualifying runways at an airport.
When the Australians decide to go for something, they really go for it. Example: the FAA awarded its nationwide automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) contract in 2007. The Aussies did it more than three years earlier.
GPS-based Laas and Jpals landing system developments are moving ahead for civil and military operations. Laas, the local-area augmentation system (or, in ICAO-ese, GBAS, for ground-based augmentation system), is intended eventually to replace civil ILS Cat III, while Jpals (joint precision approach and landing system) will provide all-weather autoland guidance for the Navy’s aircraft and UAVs.
The FAA on August 15 granted the U.S. Air Force a certificate of authorization (COA) to fly its Global Hawk unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) throughout the National Airspace System (NAS), in support of homeland defense missions. The turbofan-powered, DC-3-size Global Hawk is a high-altitude (FL500+) long-range (U.S.
Even though Congress exempted the FAA from standard procurement rules in 1996, the agency remains mired in cost overruns and schedule slippages on many of its major acquisitions, including the wide-area augmentation system (WAAS), standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars), local-area augmentation system (LAAS) and integrated terminal weather system (ITWS).
At recent public hearings in Washington, D.C., and Albuquerque, N.M., DOD and DOT representatives reviewed the departments’ policies toward the provision of radionavigation services to the U.S. civil user community between now and 2020. The hearings were held to solicit user comments on those policies before publication of this year’s federal radionavigation plan (FRP), which will be available by year-end.
The FAA flipped the switch on its wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) at 12:01 a.m. on July 10, potentially opening up thousands of runways at 5,400 public-use airports for near-precision approaches in both lateral and vertical guidance modes.
Honeywell has completed a series of GPS-guided autoland approaches to each of the four runways at Moses Lake Airfield in central Washington using a single Honeywell/Pelorus local-area augmentation system (LAAS) ground station. The successful trials, conducted over a 45-day period that ended in January, come just as
the FAA is preparing to award a major contract for the supply of 60 Cat I LAAS ground stations through 2007.