LightSquared documents submitted to the FCC last week reveal that its transmitters were transmitting at only half power during the tests recently conducted in the Las Vegas area to check for interference with GPS receivers. This means that any interference detected by the GPS units could be as much as half that expected when the LightSquared transmitters operate at their eventual planned power levels.
New technology is finally enabling avionics manufacturers to make head-up display (HUD) systems smaller, and Rockwell Collins is first out of the gate with the new HGS-3500. While it wasn’t able to bring a working model of the device to Geneva, the company is displaying a mockup at EBACE (Stand 7036) to show the unit’s stowable capability.
The confrontation between LightSquared and the U.S. government and industry GPS interests is heating up. LightSquared was able to obtain an FCC waiver of its satellite broadcast license to build a supplemental terrestrial transmitter network for broadband wireless. The GPS community claims that LightSquared’s plan, using a radio frequency close to that of GPS, will create interference. On Friday, Rep.
The controversy over LightSquared’s plan to operate 40,000 high-powered commercial transmitters to provide nationwide Internet connectivity over a radio frequency close to GPS recently ratcheted up another notch with the undersecretaries of the Departments of Defense and Transportation jointly expressing concerns to the FCC about the threat of interference to GPS.
Representatives from a wide variety of industries, companies and associations, including AOPA and GAMA, have joined together to form the Coalition To Save Our GPS to resolve a “serious threat” to GPS.
Whether for safety, economy or to meet ICAO Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) standards, helicopter operators are showing increased interest in capturing and analyzing flight data. Spidertracks (Booth No. 4854), based in Palmerstown North, New Zealand, offers a global satellite-based system for fleet operators that tracks equipped aircraft in real time and records movements and flight data for later analysis.
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.
GPS designers understood from the beginning that the system’s weak signals would be vulnerable to inadvertent or deliberate interference, with the threat formally recognized by the DOT’s Volpe Center in Cambridge, Mass., on Sept. 10, 2001�one day before 9/11. Since that time, the Department of Defense has run annual all-altitude tests�over the Western U.S.
Cessna Citation 501, West Midlands, UK, Nov. 19, 2010–The twinjet was destroyed when it caught fire after striking the ILS glideslope antenna while landing in fog at Birmingham International Airport at the end of an organ transport flight. The pilot was seriously injured, while the copilot was treated for burns and released the next day. The organ was recovered from the wreckage and was safely delivered to the hospital.
UK air navigation service provider Nats and lobbying association Oil & Gas UK last month switched their North Sea multilateration system to the “operational” mode, thus improving offshore flight safety. Controllers can now see helicopters on their radar screens in areas that are beyond the 80-nm reach of land-based radar. The multilateration system uses signal transmitters and receivers fitted to 16 offshore platforms.