Innovative technology is creating a safer, more productive airspace for both the commercial aviation industry and military initiatives. Precise landing, weather systems, and navigation systems are just a few emerging technologies that can have a significant effect on the airspace. The New Airspace has compiled the top stories surrounding airspace systems technology. Read on to learn more.
Fifty-six percent of National Airspace System delays and cancellations are due to inclement weather, which cost the airline industry more than $6.7 billion per year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). NextGen Weather Processor, a new system going live in 2019, could help to alleviate these issues by bringing a single, high-resolution picture to airlines by consolidating four legacy weather systems.
This system will be released in two packages and will provide weather rates of 25 seconds or fewer and weather predictions out to eight hours. Work Package One creates a common platform for FAA weather systems to ensure a seamless transition, and Work Package Two will incorporate traffic management systems into the existing weather systems.
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JPALS, Joint Precision Approach and Landing System, is a cutting-edge technology used to guide pilots to a safe landing on a carrier in any weather condition. JPALS allows users to auto land an aircraft using differential GPS and a secure datalink, guiding the aircraft within 20 centimeters of its target every time. With a 99.9-percent reliability metric, JPALS is the next-gen technology that can help our warfighters land safely.
The JPALS system can guide 50 precision approaches simultaneously at landing sites up to 20 miles away. Brooks Cleveland, vice president of Carrier Operations for the Cleveland Defense Group and former senior Landing Signals Officer for the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet, shares his first-hand experience with this system during combat deployments.
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Approach Runway Verification (AVR), a potential new Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) capability, is being tested as a way to bring better safety standards to airport runways. The system can warn controllers if aircraft are lined up to land on the wrong taxiway or runway. STARS, a Raytheon system, already allows air traffic controllers to see six distinct levels of weather data simultaneously, allowing them to direct aircraft to avoid dangerous weather. STARS ARV adds another layer of safety and security to all airports.
“If an arriving aircraft aligns with a taxiway, where multiple aircraft may be awaiting takeoff, obviously the consequences could be dire,” said Simon Hennin, Raytheon STARS Technical Director.
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Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) is an extremely accurate satellite navigation system used for civil aviation. WAAS provides both horizontal and vertical navigation to aircraft during all phases of flight from departure, en route navigation, and vertically-guided landing approaches. Raytheon has integrated a navigation payload into the FAA’s WAAS to support global positioning features. The payload was designed to address GPS satellite signal issues, timing lags, and orbit adjustments. GPS satellite service has been supported by WAAS since 2003, helping aircraft navigate throughout flights from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.
A new GEO 5 WAAS system is comprised of another payload on Eutelsat‘s GEO satellite and offers pilots more direct flight paths, precision airport approaches, and access to remote landing sites without depending on local ground-based landing systems.
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