By demand: More on WAAS


This is the eighth in a series of articles looking at the impact of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) on GA pilots.

First I would like to thank all the readers who have responded to the NextGen series. Feedback is always beneficial in providing a clearer understanding of each article’s content. It also allows us to modify and improve the content by way of specific requests and additional information from you, the reader. We thank you for that.

With that, we have received a fair amount of mail asking to provide more information on WAAS before we dive into ADS-B. WAAS is a more involved GPS system and does deserve more attention than just a mention since it will play a part with ADS-B and NextGen.

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Trilateration: A must for NextGen and ADS-B

Fig 2a,b,c,d

This is the seventh in a series of articles looking at the impact of NextGen on GA pilots.

Last post we discussed where GPS came from and how its implementation was successfully completed by using ground base pseudolites.

We also reviewed how triangulation was used for navigation. Triangulation basically emulates what we in aviation have used for years with VORs and ADFs. Pick two or more transmitters, home in on their intersection and, boom, you found your location.

Now we will home in on GPS a bit more and begin to see what role GPS will play in the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and Automatic Dependent Survelliance-Broadcast (ADS-B), the cornerstone of NextGen.

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Navigational stars in the sky


This is the sixth in a series of articles looking at the impact of NextGen on GA pilots.

Over the last six months, we have demonstrated how aviation history has contributed toward the development of our National Airspace System, including new technologies and procedures yielding a safer and less expensive way to fly. Every step of the way has been a major leap, not only on the side of safety and operations in this aeronautical equation, but also benefiting the industry and aviators by incorporating current-day technologies.

We started with bonfires and slowly graduated through electric visual aids and finally to radio navigation, with the use of state-of-the-art electronics available at each point within this aeronautical time line. This will eventually culminate in the developing Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen.

However, now we turn the pages way back — and I mean way back — so far back we meet up with our early mariner explorers who used stars in the sky to get from point A to point B. [Read more…]

The next Next Generation

Fig 1

This is the fifth in a series of articles looking at the impact of NextGen on GA pilots.

The term Next Generation could have been used from the very beginning as we built the National Airspace System (NAS) to the size it is today. As we have reported over the course of the last few months, the beginning started with fires then light beacons, Four Course Transmissions, NDBs, and now we will take a huge leap forward into the fifth element, the introduction of the VOR to the NAS.

This was big, I mean really big. Not only in the technology but in the bold decision by the FAA to revolutionize the NAS that inevitably exploded the victor airway system to better than 800 routes and thousands of miles in accumulated distance.

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Fly the distance with NextGen: And the beat (frequency) goes on


This is the fourth in a series of articles looking at the impact of NextGen on GA pilots.

By understanding a little more of the technological side of the National Airspace System, GA pilots will not only improve their piloting skills, but will learn that each new advancement is a building block for more advanced systems, ultimately leading to the Next Generation Air Traffic Control System (NextGen).

This process has provided us with a state-of-art airspace system for the past 50 years. Similarly to Moore’s Law, advancements have nearly doubled about every two years.

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Fly the distance with NextGen: The power of the electron

Four Course Antennas

This is the third in a series of articles looking at the impact of NextGen on GA pilots.

As we race through each generation of the National Airspace System (NAS), technology clearly is the biggest driver contributing to its evolution.

Last month we discovered that the expansion of the NAS was started by the U.S. Postal Service. Because of the inability to fly at night, navigational beacons were first introduced by using bonfires spaced a few miles apart. This gave pilots beacons of light to fly by during night operations, improving safety and increasing the amount of mail delivered throughout the U.S.

This month the power of electricity comes into the picture, beginning a series of advancements in the NAS that will eventually become our new Next Generation Air Traffic Control System (NextGen).

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Fly the distance with NextGen

Today we introduce our newest blog, Fly the distance with NextGen, which will explore what the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) means to GA pilots and what we need to do to prepare for it. The author, a private pilot and chief engineer at MatchBox Aeronautical Systems, wants this blog to be interactive, so be sure to post your comments and questions.

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