After 10 frustrating years of technical delays, escalating costs and contractor changes, the FAA’s GPS wide area augmentation system (WAAS) is approaching the level of performance the agency originally envisioned for it back in the late 1980s. With the system’s initial operational capability declared in 2003 and 18 months of satisfactory performance now behind them, WAAS advocates can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Few navigation systems have experienced the ups and downs of loran as they sought recognition. In December, a UK agency said the system is an essential back-up to GPS; the same month the FAA rejected it for the same purpose and an independent group of U.S. experts unanimously endorsed the system as a backup.
Under an FAA cost-cutting proposal, certain ILS approaches, localizer-type directional aids, microwave landing systems and nondirectional beacons at some 25 U.S. airports would no longer be monitored by ATC or FSS due to their low annual activity or because they are not authorized for alternate airport filing when the control tower is closed. It will therefore be up to pilots to report signal discrepancies to the FAA.
Federal agencies on January 8 issued a notice asking for the public’s help to decide if there is a need to continue to operate or invest in the loran-C radio navigation system beyond September 30. They gave the public only 30 days–until February 7–to submit comments.
Under an FAA proposal, certain ILS approaches, localizer-type directional aids (LDA), microwave landing systems (MLS) and nondirectional beacons (NDB) at some 25 U.S. airports would become unmonitored by ATC or FSS facilities due to their low annual activity or the fact they are not authorized for alternate airport filing when the control tower is closed.
Federal agencies are asking for the public’s help to decide if there is a need to continue to operate or invest in the loran-C radio navigation system beyond Fiscal Year 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).
While ILS Cat I equivalency has been on FAA’s wide-area augmentation system agenda for many years, the agency’s recent announcement that it is lowering WAAS minimums was actually the starting gun for several activities required before private aircraft can execute 200-foot approaches beginning in mid-2007.
The probable cause of the Nov. 22, 2004 crash of a Gulfstream III during an attempted ILS Runway 4 approach to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, according to the NTSB, “was the flight crew’s failure to adequately monitor and cross-check the flight instruments during the approach.
The French ministries of transport and defense have planned a global navigation satellite system (GNSS)/Loran C user information day on July 1 in Paris. “The information day is open to any person who has an activity related to the use of positioning or timing/synchronization information,” said the organizers. Focus will be on Loran C as a complement of GNSS.
Boeing’s delivery in May of a 737-800 airliner certified for the global navigation satellite landing system (GLS) marked the culmination of a 10-year development effort. It also served as a reminder that the ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) still has a future, despite a U.S.