For Immediate Release

Release No. APA 132-98
October 16, 1998
Contact: Paul Takemoto
Phone: 202-267-8521

WASHINGTON, DC — A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 727 aircraft receiving signals from both U.S. and European satellite navigation networks performed successful flight tests yesterday at Iceland's Keflavik Airport.

The flight tests are the latest step toward developing a seamless, satellite-based navigation system worldwide. Previous tests demonstrating the potential benefits of the FAA's Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) were conducted last year in Mexico and Italy.

"With each successive test we're moving closer toward establishing a safe and dependable satellite air navigation system throughout the world," said FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey. "The technologies used in Iceland are part of the foundation for the future air traffic management system as envisioned by the FAA and the International Civil Aviation Organization."

The FAA 727 performed a series of Category I precision approaches to the runway at Keflavik Airport using onboard equipment that received signals from the FAA's National Satellite Test Bed (NSTB), which is a forerunner to WAAS, and the United Kingdom's (U.K.) Northern European Satellite Test Bed (NESTBed). An Iceland Civil Aviation Administration (ICAA) Beechcraft King Air 200 and a U.K. National Air Traffic Services BAC 1-11 also performed Category I approaches using signals from both systems. Category I approaches are used primarily in bad weather where the pilot must see the runway at no less than 200 feet above the ground and at a distance of one-half mile.

The successful transmission and reception of signals from both networks is part of a continuing international effort to insure that future satellite-based navigation will allow for a seamless transfer from one network coverage area to another. NSTB signals were broadcast from an Inmarsat III AOR-W satellite. NESTBed signals were broadcast from an Inmarsat III F5 satellite.

The FAA and the ICAA have been working together on satellite navigation for the last two years. The reference station used in today's flight tests was fielded by the ICAA as part of the NSTB network, and the ICAA has performed a variety of successful flight trials leading up to this event. NESTBed participation provided the opportunity to demonstrate the ability of the two networks to work together.