Wed. Jun 19th, 2024


Searching the Skies With Satellites

The advent of GPS and other satellite-based navigation systems have revolutionized the way pilots find their way, offering an unprecedented level of accuracy, flexibility and “heads down” simplicity.

Within this section, members discuss how Global Positioning System technology and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have transformed aerial navigation:

  • GPS Basics – Members explain the fundamental concepts behind the US GPS system, including how satellites broadcast timing signals that allow receivers to determine precise location coordinates.
  • WAAS and EGNOS – Members describe how the Wide Area Augmentation System (US) and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service improve the accuracy of basic GPS for use in aviation through ground-based correction signals.
  • RNAV Approaches – Members share experiences conducting Area Navigation approaches utilizing GPS and WAAS, highlighting how these satellite-based procedures offer more flexibility and lower mins than traditional ILS approaches.
  • Synthetic Vision – Some members describe new “glass cockpit” technologies that fuse GPS location data with 3D terrain and obstacle databases to create a virtual outside view – even when flying IFR in zero visibility conditions.

By sharing stories of navigating via satellite signals from space, this section reflects on how GPS has fundamentally changed the experience of flying. With the push of a few buttons, pilots are now able to “identify” their location anywhere on the globe with pinpoint accuracy.

While GPS has made navigation simpler and more reliable than ever before, some members also discuss potential downsides of satellites replacing more “human” navigation skills. The debate continues over reliance on technology vs maintaining “backup” abilities.

Through diverse viewpoints, this section ultimately aims to convey the awe-inspiring technological leap that satellite navigation represents – transforming the once complex art of “finding your way” into an almost magical ability to see your position on a screen.

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