Press Release – FAA Completes Successful WAAS Flight Trials in the Republic of Chile
For Immediate Release
Release No. APA 148-98
December 16, 1998
Contact: Tammy L. Jones
WASHINGTON, DC — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and
the Republic of Chile's Director General of Civil Aeronautics
(DGAC) successfully completed the first test flights in Chile
demonstrating the capabilities and benefits of the Wide Area
Augmentation System (WAAS).
The test flights were conducted at the Arturo Merino Benitez
International Airport in Santiago, Chile, on Dec. 9. This effort
represents the latest step towards achieving a seamless,
worldwide satellite-based air navigation system. WAAS consists
of a network of differential Global Positioning System (GPS)
ground stations that receive, analyze and provide corrections to
signals from GPS satellites, and transmit that information to
aircraft flying within the WAAS coverage area.
"These successful flight trials achieved another major step toward
the establishment of a safer and more dependable satellite-based
air navigation system for North and South America," said FAA
Administrator Jane F. Garvey.
Reference stations in Santiago, Balmaceda, and Antofagasta were
installed this fall and connected to the FAA-developed National
Satellite Test Bed master station in Atlantic City, N.J. via a
combination of satellite and terrestrial communications.
For this demonstration, an FAA Boeing 727 aircraft conducted a
series of Category I precision approaches (down to approximately
200 feet) using a navigation signal generated and broadcast by
the Test Bed. The Test Bed, in use since 1991, has routinely
demonstrated navigation accuracy (horizontal and vertical) well
within the Category I precision approach requirements to both
national and international audiences.
These tests will help international aviation authorities make the
transition from current ground-based navigation technologies to
satellite-based navigation using GPS/WAAS as the cornerstone
One of the highlights of this WAAS demonstration was to
showcase the flexibility of satellite navigation technology for
tailored or unique precision approaches in situations where current
ground-based precision approach technologies are limited.
The Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport is surrounded by the
Andes Mountain range and requires very flexible and precise
navigation systems. Preliminary analyses indicate that the
horizontal and vertical accuracies for all flights were approximately
3-4 meters, well under the 7.6 meters required for Category I