The US General Accounting Office (GAO) has launched a Congressionally requested investigation into the US Federal Aviation Administration's satellite navigation programme following concerns about the agency's plans to move from a ground-based to a satellite-based navigation system. The GAO expects to report next spring.

The study follows an investigation by the FAA into its own satellite navigation programme. Due to "uncertainties related to cost, performance and technical issues" surrounding the US wide area augmentation system and the local area augmentation system, Congress directed the FAA early this year to complete "an alternative analysis".

The GAO's investigation will assist Congress in making future investment decisions. It will consider the current and future global positioning system (GPS) infrastructure, and how aviation users benefit from GPS. The GAO will determine whether the FAA's benefit, cost and risk assumptions are reasonable.

Source: Flight International