Esterline CMC Electronics has been selected to equip four Australian airExpress Boeing 737s with CMA-5024 IntegriFlight GPS landing system sensors. Qantas’s engineering department is performing the installation for the cargo airline.
So, first, who needs three more worldwide satnav systems, when we already have GPS? Why do these others want to spend billions just to keep up with the U.S.? There are two reasons: one political and the other practical. Politically, GPS has become a (not the) dominant technology in almost every part of human life around the world, in government, national security, industry and private life, with more than a billion receivers being used daily for thousands of applications, from simple to critical.
The first U.S. airline to fully equip its fleet and train pilots for GPS-guided required navigation performance (RNP) procedures has already seen “a decent payback” on its investment. “We’re hooked,” said Bill Ayer, chairman of Alaska Airlines parent company Alaska Air Group. “We think this is great technology because it has provided tangible benefits of improving safety and reliability and real financial return.”
The basic precept of international GNSS is that public services will be available to all users without user charges or other fees. Separately, each system can transmit unique highly classified frequencies–such as the military codes used by the U.S.’s GPS, Russia’s Glonass, China’s Compass and the fee-paying civil applications for enhanced accuracy and integrity signals from Europe’s Galileo–but none affects public services.
Thales will provide its high-performance inertial reference system (HPIRS) and GPS to support all-weather operations by the new Embraer KC-390 military transport. The French avionics manufacturer described the new-generation HPIRS as a “technological breakthrough” in inertial and GPS navigation, combining advantages of a civil-certified product with the performance required for a military aircraft. It is the company’s first HPIRS contract for a military transport aircraft.
Northrop Grumman (Stand 2321) announced here at EBACE that Cessna has chosen its navigation systems for the Citation Latitude business jet. One selection is the LCR-100 attitude and heading reference system, which uses both inertial navigation and GPS information.
Brazil’s aviation authority (ANAC) approved the country’s first Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approaches at Santos Dumont Airport (SBRJ) in Rio de Janeiro on May 7. The validation flight on May 5 was conducted in a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 that also delivered overall RNP operational approval to Gol.
Just when it seemed the LightSquared-GPS contest had run its course, a pair of latecomers–Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.)–wrote to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski proposing that the agency should now find a vacant block of radio spectrum in which LightSquared could launch another attempt at its nationwide Internet plan.
Today, most of us would probably rate cellphones, ATMs and the Internet as the three most useful modern gadgets we use regularly. We likely wouldn’t rank GPS up there, and maybe not even in the top 10. Yet without GPS, those three wouldn’t work too well, if at all, and neither would a host of other things that we depend on (reliable electrical power; banking systems; national and worldwide telecommunications, including air traffic control; and car navigation, to name a few). And with NextGen slowly approaching, aviation’s dependence on GPS will grow exponentially.
Jeppesen is offering consolidated and customized flight-planning assistance through its FlightSupport Services, along with new route-planning functionality for its Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck app for iPad. With the enhancement to Jeppesen FliteSupport Services, company experts act as an extension of the customer’s flight department, providing customized delivery of international flight-planning and operations assistance.