Possible safety problems with FAA satellite based navigation system on GAOs radar screen

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

FAA system on GAOs radar screen BY Paula Shaki Trimble 04/06/2000

As the Federal Aviation Administration awaits the results of an independent panels assessment of safety problems with its satellite-based navigation system, Congress also is taking a closer look.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committees Transportation Subcommittee, has requested a General Accounting Office report on the FAAs Wide-Area Augmentation System.

Earlier this year, FAA discovered problems with the ground- and space-based systems ability to prove it could catch errors in the signals received from Global Positioning System satellites. A panel of experts assembled by the FAA is helping prime contractor Raytheon Co. develop new algorithms for the software.

A GAO report is due in early May, a government source said. The report will: * Examine the extent to which the Defense Departments GPS signal upgrades could meet FAAs navigation requirements without an augmentation system. * Examine the costs and benefits of WAAS and whether the FAA underestimated the cost of the system. * Examine whether less-costly alternatives are available to meet navigation needs and assess the potential impact on satellite navigation and National Airspace System modernization.

The report will assess the impact of the algorithm problem on an investment analysis the FAA completed in September 1998. The analysis recommended using satellite navigation with augmentation systems. It also suggested examining whether alternative radionavigation systems such as Loran-C and Eurofix could provide the precision landing capabilities airlines want.

The problems that plague FAAs modernization programs stem from cultural problems, organizational alignments in the agency and poor communication, the government source said.


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), April 07, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ