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Satellite Navigation - WAAS - Benefits

The Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) offers many benefits. Today, in the U.S., there are over 80,000 WAAS aviation users. Many others are using WAAS for non-aviation applications.

Watch the WAAS Experience video to learn what WAAS users are saying. Benefits covered in the video include improved safety, improved airport access, and fuel savings.

Play VideoThe video features users from Northern Air Cargo in Alaska; Mercy Medical Center in Iowa; Cape Air in Massachusetts; Horizon Air in Washington State; and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in Frederick, Maryland.
Watch the Video

WAAS Benefit - Improved Airport Access

Using WAAS, aircraft can access over 3,400 runway ends in poor weather conditions with minimums as low as 200 feet. A WAAS Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (LPV) line of minimum on an RNAV (GPS) approach (PDF) provides a similar level of service to the Category I Instrument Landing System (ILS). WAAS can even get you into places where an ILS may not be available. In fact, there are nearly three times as many WAAS-enabled LPVs than there are ILS glide slopes in the U.S. National Airspace System.

  • To find out if there is a WAAS-enabled instrument approach procedure at an airport where you fly, please visit our GPS/WAAS Approaches page.

WAAS Benefit - LPV Service Availability throughout the Continental U.S., Canada, and Mexico

WAAS enables LPV service throughout North America.

WAAS LPV Real-Time Coverage Map

For a real-time view of WAAS Vertical Navigation Service, including the WAAS LPV service area, please visit the WAAS Vertical Navigation Service Snapshot Display.

The service display page also includes a User Guide which provides a detailed explanation of the data shown.

WAAS Benefit - RNP 0.3 Service Availability in North and South America

WAAS can support Required Navigation Performance (RNP) values of 0.3.

WAAS RNP Real-Time Coverage Map

WAAS can support Required Navigation Performance (RNP) values of 0.3 and higher. For a real-time view of the WAAS RNP 0.3 coverage area, please visit the FAA RNP 0.3 Navigation Service Snapshot Display. Data is updated every three minutes.

The service display page also includes a User Guide which provides a detailed explanation of the data shown.

WAAS Benefit - Interoperability with Other Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS)

Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS), like WAAS, are available in Europe, Japan, India, and are being developed in other regions of the world. All are designed to be interoperable. Interoperability allows aircraft equipped with WAAS to use these other systems too.

WAAS Benefit - WAAS Improves the Horizontal and Vertical Accuracy Provided by GPS

WAAS accuracy
Accuracy GPS Accuracy Requirements (as specified in the GPS Performance Standard) GPS Actual Performance* WAAS LPV-200 Accuracy Requirements (as specified in the WAAS Performance Standard) WAAS LPV-200 Actual Performance*
Horizontal 95% 36 m 2.9 m 16 m 0.7 m
Vertical 95% 77 m *4.3 m 4 m 1.2 m

*GPS and WAAS performance is monitored and measured by the FAA WAAS Test Team. Quarterly, Performance Analysis Reports for both GPS and WAAS are produced and made available on FAA WAAS Test Team website.

WAAS Benefit - Navigation Sensor for ADS-B

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a surveillance system that uses inputs from navigation systems, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and WAAS to determine an aircraft's position.

Aircraft meeting the ADS-B Out 2020 mandate will broadcast their position allowing air traffic control and ADS-B In equipped aircraft to receive and utilize this information.

Most, but not all, GPS equipment will support the basic navigation performance requirements associated with ADS-B. Due to the improved navigation performance of WAAS over GPS alone, WAAS may be the best solution to meet the ADS-B mandate in some cases. Aircraft owners will need to check with their avionics providers to determine the best qualified navigation solution that meets the ADS-B Out 2020 mandate for their particular aircraft configuration.

WAAS Benefit - Key Component of the National Airspace System (NAS) Navigation Strategy

Air navigation is undergoing a global transformation, driven by the need to use airspace more efficiently, increase system capacity, and reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions (carbon footprint). This transformation is being enabled, to a large extent, by the position, navigation, and timing (PNT) services provided by Global Navigation Satellite Systems, such as GPS and GNSS augmentation systems - such as WAAS - that improve accuracy and integrity.

WAAS becomes increasingly more vital as older equipment such as Non Directional Beacons (NDB), Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Ranges (VOR), and Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) are removed from service. Also, WAAS provides better coverage with more services as compared to legacy systems and requires less infrastructure as (e.g., approximately 50 WAAS facilities compared to hundreds of VORs).

WAAS Map

For additional benefits of WAAS, please see our WAAS: Quick Facts (PDF).

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This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/techops/navservices/gnss/waas/benefits/