UPS Aviation Technologies to Build Next-Generation GPS Engine; WAAS Certified GPS to be installed in UPS Jet Fleet
SALEM, Ore., Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- UPS Aviation Technologies announced today that it will develop and market a WAAS-certified GPS module capable of guiding an aircraft to precise landings at almost any airport in the continental United States. The module, which will be the heart of next-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) aircraft navigation systems, uses signals from orbiting satellites and from the FAA's Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) to provide precision guidance from takeoff to landing.
Known as the GPS/WAAS engine, the module will power a new line of UPS Aviation Technologies navigation products intended, primarily, for high-end general aviation aircraft and airliners. In addition, UPS Aviation Technologies will market the engine to other avionics manufacturers whose products demand reliable, technologically superior GPS components.
"UPS Airlines, the 10th largest airline in the world, already plans to install the GPS/WAAS engine in its fleet of 229 jet aircraft to improve the accuracy of onboard navigation and safety systems," said Sam Seery, UPS Aviation Technologies director of sales and marketing.
"There are very few companies capable of producing a WAAS solution for aviation as accurate, reliable or capable as this one," Mr. Seery said. "We expect that it will become the standard by which precision GPS devices for aviation are measured," he said.
Work on the engine, which is already well underway, should be complete within a year. NavCom Technology, Inc., a GPS engineering firm in Redondo Beach, Calif., is providing custom electronic design assistance for the module, which will be built at UPS Aviation Technologies' state-of-the-art production facility in Salem, Ore.
Meanwhile, by the year 2001 Mr. Seery said that UPS Aviation Technologies plans to develop, certify and bring to market a new line of aircraft navigation systems powered by the GPS/WAAS engine.
Conventional GPS navigation systems for aircraft provide horizontal guidance only, allowing pilots to navigate safely through clouds from point to point. These systems also can be used to assist non-precision instrument landings at airports where the visibility and cloud ceilings are not overly low.
Next-generation GPS systems, powered by the GPS/WAAS engine, will provide precision landing guidance to runways where the forward visibility is about half a mile and the cloud ceiling is as low as 200 feet. The GPS/WAAS engine will support a future enhancement to GPS, the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS), that will enable landings in even lower visibility.
Today, pilots depend on the Instrument Landing System (ILS) to make instrument landings in poor weather. Aircraft ILS systems need to receive guidance from equipment installed at the end of the airport runway in order to work.
In the future, GPS/WAAS systems onboard the aircraft will be capable of providing guidance to the runway without depending on equipment at the airport, providing precision approaches at airports without ILS or where ILS is out of service.
By eliminating the need for expensive and difficult-to-install ILS systems on the ground, airborne GPS/WAAS systems will allow aircraft to fly precision approaches to thousands of runways that currently don't have ILS systems. This, in turn, will reduce traffic congestion on ILS-equipped runways, reduce air traffic delays during poor weather and increase safety at facilities without ILS.
The GPS/WAAS engine also is designed to become the heart of UPS Aviation Technologies' Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) systems. A cockpit display of traffic information based on ADS-B can help pilots pinpoint traffic in the air and on the ground. Using the GPS/WAAS engine, the ADS-B system can help pilots and controllers prevent runway incursion accidents and mid-air collisions.
UPS Aviation Technologies, a leader in aircraft GPS navigation systems, is committed to developing and fielding technology that facilitates aviation growth while enhancing safety. In addition to GPS, UPS Aviation Technologies leads the world in the development of ADS-B, the technology underlying free-flight air traffic management systems. The company can be found on the world wide web at: www.upsat.com .