By demand: More on WAAS

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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

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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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GAO: NextGen over budget and behind schedule

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After causing the FAA to limp along on 23 temporary funding extensions, Congress finally passed a four-year authorization last month. A question now facing FAA watchers is: Will this steadier funding mean a smoothing of the turbulence the agency has seen in developing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen)?

A report released Feb. 16 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that of 30 major NextGen programs studied, costs for 11 have increased from initial estimates by a total of $4.2 billion and 15 programs experienced delays ranging from two months to more than 14 years. Of the 15 programs experiencing schedule delays, 10 also had cost increases. The WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) program, which the FAA estimates will be completed in 2013, is the one experiencing the 14-year delay.

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NextGen contracts over budget, behind schedule

More than one-third of the 30 contracts critical to building the Next Generation Air Transportation System, commonly known as NextGen, are over budget, while half are delayed, according to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek story on a new Government Accountability Office report. The GAO report notes that 11 of the 30 contracts exceed projected costs by a total of $4.2 billion, while 15 of the contracts are behind schedule by an average of four years.

Navigational stars in the sky

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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…]

NextGen future unclear

The FAA’s ambitious ATC modernization effort known as the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) faces an unsettled 2012 and beyond after a number of setbacks in 2011, including federal budgetary concerns, the abrupt resignation of FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt after a drunk driving arrest, and more, according to a report at Aviation International News.