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.
To cut costs and improve efficiency, the FAA is moving to end its direct-to-public retail sales of aeronautical charts and related paper products. Last week the agency stopped accepting or renewing chart subscriptions. While individual charts will be available through the agency’s website through September, on October 1 it will stop selling individual charts.
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.
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.
AOPA has released an update to its FlyQ iPad electronic flight bag app that adds ADS-B connectivity and expands Duats integration. New features in version 1.1 include ADS-B in-flight weather with support for the new Dual XGPS 170 ADS-B/Waas GPS receiver. The app also offers CSC Duats support, in addition to existing DTC Duat support, for weather information and flight-plan filing. Other enhancements include “Direct To” and “Add to Plan” buttons for flight planning, as well as in-app rental car booking through Enterprise.
LightSquared is slated to exit bankruptcy on May 31, and is required to have its future reorganization plan complete by July15.
Delta Air Lines has awarded Innovative Solutions & Support a $60 million contract to outfit its fleet of 182 MD-88s and MD-90s as well as several flight simulators with standardized glass cockpits.
A change in FAA policy that allows the use of GPS approaches at alternate airports should be welcome news for pilots. “Operators are now permitted to file a flight plan for a GPS approach at either the destination or an alternate, but not both,” according to NBAA. The new policy took effect on April 4. Previously pilots could fly GPS approaches only at the destination airport.
While regular helicopter pilot training in day-to-day operations is always beneficial, such training is not always safe when conducted in the air. FlightSafety International’s Dallas Learning Center recently offered AIN reporter Mark Huber a look at the vast range of scenario-based training flights available with Vital X graphics and five-projector technology now available on the EC135 that the simulator emulates.