UPS Aviation Technologies (UPS AT) plans to develop a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver capable of using existing signals from the US Federal Aviation Administration's Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). The development will include an embedded autonomous signal integrity monitoring system, seen as vital for enabling WAAS to be used for safe precision approaches down to 250ft (76m).

Although the FAA is currently working on an integrated integrity WAAS monitoring system of its own, the agency is not expected to approve the device until late 2002.

UPS AT says its own system, due to be certificated by the end of this year, will be able to provide much earlier horizontal/vertical guidance and integrity monitoring. The company adds: "Eventually, when the FAA approves integrated WAAS integrity monitoring for safety-of-life applications such as precision approaches, the UPS AT's autonomous integrity monitoring system will be able to serve as a back-up should there be a problem with the WAAS signal."

WAAS, which will allow GPS to be used as a primary means of navigation from take-off to precision approach, was originally due to be commissioned in late 2000. Problems establishing integrity monitoring have delayed this, however, and prompted UPS AT to launch the new development.

UPS AT will also decide later this year on whether to offer the feature as an upgrade for its GX60 GPS navigator which is already in service, along with the UPS AT-developed MX-20 multifunction display, on a wide range of aircraft flying in Alaska as part of the FAA's Capstone initiative. This effort, which began on 31 December, has seen GX60 equipment installed in almost 80 aircraft. Capstone is using automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast and traffic information-broadcast for surveillance in support of free flight demonstration and validation.

Source: Flight International