Press Release – FAA, ATA, UPS Test New Satellite Technology
For Immediate Release
Release No. APA 88-99
August 13, 1999
Contact: Les Dorr, Jr./Holly Baker (Technical Center)
Phone: Dorr/202-267-8521 Baker/609-485-6253
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United Parcel Service
(UPS) and the Air Transport Association (ATA) are set to conduct
flight tests of a system that ultimately could let aircraft land
safely in any weather using satellite navigation technology.
The tests, using a prototype of the FAA's Local Area
Augmentation System (LAAS), will take place Aug. 14-15 at the
agency's William J. Hughes Technical Center, adjacent to Atlantic
City International Airport in New Jersey. LAAS is designed to
enhance the safety and efficiency of air travel by increasing the
accuracy and availability of Global Positioning System (GPS)
satellite signals for approaches and landings at airports under
virtually all weather conditions.
Specifically, the flight tests will study the benefits of integrating a "pseudolite" into the existing FAA LAAS prototype. A pseudolite is a ground component installed at the airport that appears to be another GPS satellite to an aircraft's navigation system. This
technology provides the high system availability required for
planes to conduct all weather operations using GPS signals. The
tests also will collect data to determine the signal accuracy
achieved by using the pseudolite broadcast.
In the Atlantic City tests, a UPS Boeing 767 flown by company
pilots will perform 40 approaches down to as low as 25 feet above
the runway. The pilots will fly some approaches manually; others
will be coupled to the aircraft's autopilot.
The LAAS and GPS signals will be processed by equipment
specially installed aboard the 767 for these tests. This equipment
will provide navigation guidance to the aircraft's existing systems
during the approaches. Precise data will be collected from several
sources to determine if the system performs satisfactorily.
LAAS can tell pilots where their aircraft is to an accuracy of less
than one meter, and the system can be used in all visibility
conditions. It complements the Wide Area Augmentation System
(WAAS) that the FAA is now developing and acquiring.
WAAS is a GPS-based navigation and landing system that will
provide the accuracy, integrity, availability and continuity needed
to support all phases of flight through Category 1 precision