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FAA Releases VOR Decommissioning Policy

Enviado há
 
The FAA formally published its policy including the criteria for selecting hundreds of VOR navigation aids that will be decommissioned over the next decade. The policy, released today, further outlines the process for decommissioning. The agency has selected 308 VORs to be decommissioned as the agency moves to a satellite-based navigational system (www.ainonline.com) Mais...

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byoungblood
Bart Youngblood 7
Phase 2 is quite the hatchet list. Several of those are major VORs used on STARS, major jet routes, etc. Both lists are going to leave the airspace I work rather devoid of any kind of non-satellite navigation since most of the NDBs are gone too. Lord help any of the /A aircraft out there unless the agency is going to change the rules on VFR GPS and make them legal to use for en-route navigation.

Agency has already started converting some of the RNAV STARS to where they don't include any VORs anyway. Ironically there have been a couple of STARS I deal with on a daily basis that have been changed, yet the VOR they used to start from isn't on the list. What is slightly annoying is that instead of sharing the same waypoint that is co-located with said VOR, one of the arrivals has a randomly placed waypoint about five miles away. That has already been causing some confusion amongst the airlines and we've had to deal with all kinds of funky routes requiring additional coordination with adjacent facilities because of where the waypoint is placed. I'm sure if I raise the issue I'll just get told that there is some agency publication that spells out why they have to do it that way, written by a group that has never been behind the controls of an airplane or in front of a radar scope....oh well.

There are a couple of those on both lists that I know have actually been out of service for some time. I guess this is just the formal announcement that they're going to turn them off for good. Then there are another few no-brainers, ones that aren't part of an airway and just serve an airport or two for VOR approaches that nobody uses with any regularity. But a bunch of that list has me scratching my head about what is going to happen when something hits the fan.
BobRose
BobRose 1
Do you think that the Federal Government of some other governmental entity could stop or interfere with GPS satellites? Then where are you as you are flying along some dark night high above the clouds.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
I most certainly think that they can any time they want to... Dark Nights in the coulds, if you are flying under FMS you will be able to continue for a while. As long as the DME-DME is working you will be ok, Many times they are housed with the VOR's, but I do not think they will be affected. If you loose the GPS part of the FMS, you will get a message stating something similiar to "FMS DR" meaning loss of GPS receiver or singnal. Keep in mind you can still fly and navigate with the DME-DME part that is more accurate than GPS anyway, especially for short distances. If you are in a Now or LOW DME zone like over water, the FMS will continue to navigate using DR Mode. This is one reason that a lot of Long Haul and Heavy A/c that fly over seas uses the IRS or INS, because they do not want to depend on 1 system for navigation.

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sparkie624
sparkie624 1
I cannot speak for RNAV, but most jet aircraft have what is known as FMS (Flight Management System) which uses a DME Receiver to simultaneous receive up to 5 DME stations to navigate. This system is called DME-DME even though avionics tech are the only ones who use the term. Flight crews usually term it as FMS. DME-DME is accurate down to 6" for real time location as being displayed, where as GPS is only within 6 feet at best and that is with a full set of Satellites. You have to have 2 for a position, 3 for a Fix and the more you have the better the fix.

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byoungblood
Bart Youngblood 4
Problem is, once the VOR is actually decommissioned, it isn't charted any longer. If it isn't charted, it drops out of databases and is also no longer part of the jet or victor route. It would take a major rule change for the three letter fixes to stay active after the VOR has been stricken for the record. For the record, I'd be all for them making that change, it is MUCH easier as a controller to put those three letter IDs in the computer when I'm handed a lengthy reroute than a bunch of RNAV waypoints. But as I said, those making the rules often have no clue what the practical impact of their policies are.

I'm not lamenting progress, but I can't think it is that horribly expensive to maintain some of the backbone VORs for redundancy's sake, and also so someone that only sporadically files IFR doesn't have to drop 10-15k for an IFR certified GPS.
wb2cjs
wb2cjs 1
A while ago (I think about 1 1/2 year ago) the Lake Henry VOR (LHY) was replaced by LAAYK intersection. The airways remained basically unchanged.
tyketto
Brad Littlejohn 1
Would your Garmin 750 care about that VOR if it is the IAF for a non-precision approach to an airport with no RNAV/GPS approaches, and that VOR is decommissioned?

Following your example, if EED or HEC, or even GFS were decommissioned, and you are trying to fly into, say A09 or A20, with no published procedures, and your only way to get to those fields is the DME from EED or GFS, you not navigate to those airports if you were /A. No precision approach, let alone any bearing/distance from the closest VOR because that VOR is gone.

Again, something that most pilots wouldn't have to worry about, but for those GA pilots who still fly sans GPS, that could be a problem.
pauldoris
Paul Bern 6
Removing VOR’s is the proverbial “putting all your eggs in one basket”. The FAA is eliminating all its back-up navigation support system in lieu of GPS. GPS is great and very accurate however, I have flown in areas where all of a sudden the GPS quits or locks up for a 100 miles. The FAA seems to think that it will cut costs by decommissioning the VOR system. Someone has to pay for satellite repair or the communication equipment to the satellite. Who is going to do that?

Maintaining the VOR system is cheap when you consider what it costs to launch and maintain a satellite. Additionally, all of the VOR transmitters are still analog. If the FAA updated to digital or solid state systems, maintenance cost would drop dramatically.

One other thing; and this may be called old school. Today we are breading video game players and NOT pilots. A pilot is in full control of his/her ship at all times. When you remove that control, you destroy the skill to command and aviate. Navigation is a skill………NOT a computer game!!
byoungblood
Bart Youngblood 2
VOR transmitters are solid state and are "analog" out of operational necessity. Your VOR receiver measures the phase angle between the reference and rotating signal to derive your position from the station. I'm not going to say you can't do it with a digitally modulated signal (because someone will come around and tell me you can!) but with my limited knowledge on the subject, I'd say it would be needlessly more complex, plus would require a change of equipment in the aircraft.

Analog and digital are simply ways of conveying information over a radio wave, and both have their applications. Digital happens to be a bit better for voice and video because you're just transmitting 0s and 1s and is less susceptible to interference. But for other applications, it just adds expense and complexity for the task at hand.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
To correct you on this (minorly) not all VOR transmitters are Solid State. There are some still out there still Tube/Mechanical. The newer ones (last 15 years) have been converted into solid state technology. There is a clear advantage to using Tube technology over digital and that is the Tube type can support stronger and cleaner signals that can be reliable several hundred miles away, where solid state will not support over 150 miles on a good day. Keep in mind that TV and High Power radio stations still use tubes as do man Amateur Radio Operators... A Ham running 2000 watts of power cannot be accomplished at high and Very frequencies using solid state technology and that is what keeps Tube Technology active, even though not discussed much. This is also why the FCC requires tube knowledge on the FCC General Radio Telephone and Ham Radio testing still today.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
I just asked our SOC Duty Manager what we were going to do when the FMS's are deferred and all the VOR's have been decommissioned.... to QUOTE HIM: "We're Screwed"
TMcDonnell
Sounds like the normal response to a restrictive deferral to me.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
LOL... That was sort of the answer I was expecting LOL...
jacIII
Joe Correia III 6
Brush up on your dead reconing skills folks.
sparkie624
sparkie624 3
I can certainly understand this move, but when they blank out the GPS system, what is everyone going to Navigate by... Anyone here study up on Celestial Navigation :)
usnbatfish
Caleb Landry 3
All Boeing Jets from the 80's on (not sure about the 787) have INS that the aircraft is built around. Triple INS in the case of the 757/767 and 747-400/-8. Would be business as usual for Boeing jets. Someone else would have to chime in on Airbus, I don't know there.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Not quite true... I think that you meant to say IRS. They most all have either IRS or AHRS.

INS - Inertial Navigational System - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertial_navigation_system
IRS - Inertial Reference System - http://digilander.libero.it/andreatheone/irs.htm
AHRS - Attitude Heading Reference System - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attitude_and_heading_reference_system

There are distinct differences. Older a/c as a rule on overseas flights would use INS, where Continental flights use IRS (a little cheaper system) and regional airlines use a mix or IRS and AHRS 's

They all do about the same thing, but go about it in different ways.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
There is a sextant app for Android.
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
LOL... Why am I not surprised to see that answer... I can see all of the airline pilots navigating at FL410 with the sextant app... But remember, those apps use GPS as well.... Need the optical version mounted on the Glare Shield.
bashdan
bashdan 1
We will probably navigate using "Echo Location"....perhaps?!

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bashdan
bashdan 1
Counselor....you're greatly "over-thinking" my comment, to which I was facetiously replying to Sparkie624's comment ("sparkie624 I can certainly understand this move, but when they blank out the GPS system, what is everyone going to Navigate by... Anyone here study up on Celestial Navigation :)".
P.s. NO ONE is asking for nor forcing you to reply/respond to any post(s), so keep that in mind if you become a lil ( abbreviation or little) perturb with our responses.

As far as my aviation knowledge/experience.....Part 135 & Part 91 family business.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_echolocation - BTW, Google is a great tool, you can search much of this very easily!

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joelwiley
joel wiley 1
And your posts are to impress who?
If you don't like google, as an alternative you can use lmgtfy.com
ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 1
I did as a naviguesser, but that's been a few years.

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sparkie624
sparkie624 3
The Government can block them, there was a test not long ago in the south western US where they were testing a new technology. Any plane flying through that area as well as anyone using a GPS lost the signal for about 4 hours while they were testing.... Besides... Do you really want the GPS up and running to help the enemy aim missiles or other projectiles at us.... Not a good idea!
jbsimms
James Simms 2
Talladega (AL) is super busy 2 weekends a year (The airport is directly next to Talladega Superspeedway) for NASCAR events to the point ATC's from BHM & ATL are brought in to handle the NASCAR Air Force & race fan traffic. NASCAR charters for race officials (usually three Miami Air 737's for lies in/out of nearby Anniston . There is high terrain nearby involving Alabama's highest point.
dctwooze
Latimer Taylor 2
This is the making of a bad situation. So what is the back up when the satellite - based navigational system is OTS? Will my RAIM have the integrity it is advertised to have? My solution to this would place the National Guard as our airport security(post 9-11), get rid of the TSA and that TSA fee should go to the service cost of maintaining the VORs as a backup. There are some really good ones out there. I will miss you CZI. How secure would this sat-based system be from hackers of other countries or our own? Sounds like we are relying more and more on automation which can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
A US Road map and a lot of prayer!
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
Policy published:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-07-26/pdf/2016-17579.pdf
japanjeff
japanjeff 1
So you know the 2013 film, Gravity? Chain-reaction destruction by space-debris. Probably unlikely, but still... yikes.
wb2cjs
wb2cjs 1
Bring back LORAN-C or similar as a backup to GPS. I believe LORAN was quite impervious to jamming, and only required a few transmitters to serve an entire region.

It won't replace WAAS-GPS approaches, but should be good enough for enroute.
TWA55
TWA55 1
Why not! I have always heard it is best to place all your eggs in one basket.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Put all your eggs in the one basket and --- WATCH THAT BASKET (Mark Twain)
http://herbison.com/herbison/broken_eggs_watch.html
johnnyelectron
Johnny Electron 1
So, when a CME, or enemy, wipes out most of our GPS birds, will be all be screwed? I gotta believe keeping a working network of VOR (or even the old LORAN navigational system) would be a no-brainer. Can military aircraft even fly without GPS assist? I certainly believe that we have to have a backup. Even our police and fire departments have to have a backup- in our city they have ham radio operators to man the hospitals, squads and fire stations.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
You still have a Stick and Rudder and even the most complicated Autopilots can act as a wing leveler and heading mode... :) Back to the maps, and don't depend on the IPAD... LOL it is looking at the GPS for its location!
jossh1
Josh Roose 1
I think this is a stupid move. Satellites are easy to fail requiring missions to go up and fix them. And they are hackable, VORs are not. They should leave them as a backup.
bros123
Drew Glover 1
Can I say one thing! Pay per use GPS. No pay no GPS, no GPS no nav airspace. Very simple funding formula which will get corrupted by governments. This is out toll airspace expanded.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Has anyone seen any cost savings estimates on the decommissioning? I haven't found any yet.
jrollf
jrollf 1
My understanding is this: FAA pays to maintain VORs, DOD pays to maintain GPS... Just a little motivation for the FAA to dump VORs.
c4net
Charles Fournet 0
Wait... did you just say 'cost savings estimates' in the same context with 'The FAA' .....?
joelwiley
joel wiley 0
Certainly. It is part of the bureaucratic kabuki used to provide window dressing for their plans. The other side of the coin is where the intend to spend them. You didn't think cost savings meant lower expenditures did you?

The follow-on scene is where the savings estimates are found to be overly optomistic and the spending underestimated.
c4net
Charles Fournet 0
.....BOOM" (mic drop!;-)
heimlinn
ERNST LINNEMANN 1
Holy Cow! The VOR (Vortac) replaced the TACAN system I worked on while in USAF in the 50s and 60's. TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation) AN/URN-3 replaced the Radio "Range", which was our low frequency first electronic navigation aid. How times have changed.
Look at your Garmin car navigation system and you can figure out why all these old navigation aids are obsolete.
Keep the wings up.
AURktman
AURktman 0
GA is a thorn in the side of the FAA. If GA was regulated out of existence, the FAA would cheer.

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joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Re ADSB feeding within the context of Flightaware:
http://flightaware.com/adsb/

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joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Mr. Hartmann, now that you mention it, I have the same problem with your posts. Using the 'reply' button helps with the conversation continuity.
Also, I have a question: you seem to have found a method to insert a date/time stamp to your posts. Is that a feature of the FA posting system? Thanx in advance.

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joelwiley
joel wiley 2
My 'same problem' with your posts is that you respond directly to some post, and rather than use the 'reply' button, you submit it as an original post. When one hits the reply button, two editing windows open - one under the replying post and one at that top which is an original post. On occasion, to my regret as it makes following the conversation more difficult, I overlook whether the cursor is in the 'original' or 'reply' window.



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sparkie624
sparkie624 1
A lot of this particular to your aircraft because all avionics are not certified on all aircraft. This equipment will have to be installed by a licensed aircraft mechanic of the type equipment that is certified to your aircraft and with all the legal paperwork. Don't misinterpret what I said about the ADF. I said a 747 could, I did not say he should. ADF Navigation by any standards was hard back in the day and today it is even worse because a lot of them have been shut down. ADF was never really that reliable of a NAV Aid and why even some airlines crashed back in the early days. I know if you fly IFR into some airports (SCE for Example) and ADF is required as all of there approaches require it.

Check out this article: https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2015/november/24/faa-begins-decommissioning-vors - It gives a list of the first 35 to be shut down. This is real and is going to happen, but it is not going to be a complete plan for many years to come... One thing I would highly recommend investing in is ADS-B as it WILL be required by Jan 1 2020... Again, I recommend talking to a Highly Qualified Mechanic/Avionics tech who can help you find equipment for your aircraft. Keep in mind that 1 system does not fit all and it has to be certified for your plane. If you have a system that is not certified in your plane then 1 you are illegal, and if it was not certified it could either receive interference from other aircraft systems or cause interference to to other systems. This move is expensive, but to keep flying that is what it is going to take.

If you own your own plane there is a lot of work you can do your self and by the same point there is even more you cannot. Installing this type of equipment requires modification to your aircraft structure (Antenna's, equipment mounting, and etc) and a Licensed Mechanic will know where to find the required info and comply with it legally. Note, you will need to search for "STC's" for your a/c to find which system works best for you.

Hope this helps a little! There are a lot of questions that just cannot be answered. I know on our fleet (flying for Delta and United) that we have not decided on which equipment/STC that we are going to use. Our sister company flying ERJ-145's are probably going to park most of there planes as the cost vs the expected lifetime of the aircraft does not make it a worth while investment.

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joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Mr. Hartmann, you reported reading up on the VOR subject. I inquired if you had come across any criteria reference, since I had not.

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sparkie624
sparkie624 1
To find airports, I personally like http://www.airnav.com - Search by station id, city, or airport name.

SCE - State College in PA

That is going to depend on your plane. I personally like Rockwell/Collins. I have not heard much from King lately, but they are good. Those are probably the 2 biggest, but then again if you will note my comment, you have to get one that has an STC for the plane you are putting it in. If you are putting into a plane that does not have an STC you will find that it is much more costly due to the foot work that is required for the approvals.

As for the 747, yes it could, but it would not really be feasible. Could not fly in RVSM Airspace so he would be altitude restricted - Not smart, Not Advised, and Not Economoical.

If you are flying VFR, and AM Radio station will work. If you are within 300 miles of nashville, 650 KHZ would work. As far as ADF Long Range plotted nav you would have to go VFR as ADF in IFR conditions is limited to approaches no Long Range ADF's as they have been decommissioned. Search the cities that you are flying to for local "AM Radio stations and that should get you close....

Making note to the article, this is only the start... MANY MORE TO FOLLOW.

as for an ADF approach, I am sure there are others, but this is one that I know of... http://155.178.201.160/d-tpp/1608/05240IL24.PDF which is in SCE

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tyketto
Brad Littlejohn 0
you are. Because some of these VORs are on a given airway, that particular segment of the airway would also be decommissioned. For example, take Manteca VOR (ECA), by Stockton, CA. It is on V113. That airway connects PXN to PATTY, to ECA, to LIN. V113 would be impacted from PATTY to ECA, as ECA would no longer exist. The airway would have to be redrawn somehow to go directly to LIN, if they keep it existing at all.

Another issue are airports. and let's take Omaha (KOMA) for example. Nearly every VOR that transitions to a STAR into KOMA and KOFF are impacted. ONL, OBH, SUX, FOD, and PWE are all on the list to be removed. ONL and OBH are on the HOWRY1 arrival, SUX is on the SUX1, FOD is on the LANTK1, and PWE is on the PWE1 arrival. All of those STARs would either need to be rewritten, or deleted, as the transitions and segments from those transitions would no longer exist. And seeing that a few of them transition off of an airway (OBH is on J128 and J10), those segments would be decommissioned as well.

It's a huge change, with massive repercussions, as it leaves both GA and commercial pilots flying on established airways less airways to use, and requires those aircrafts being used to have updated systems.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
No, everything could get a GPS overlay. IFR aircraft would then need a GPS.
dee9bee
dee9bee 1
Wouldn't the VOR's position just be converted to a GPS waypoint? The whole process sounds both messy and inevitable. What ever happened to those old 'A'N' 'Radio Ranges', anyway?

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ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 3
You really are dating yourself there. I've only talked to folks that used the AMBER system (my dad included). I grew up on ADF, VOR, and paper charts though. The only magenta line was the one my grease pencil drew on the acetate overlay.
dee9bee
dee9bee 3
I have to admit that I'm only a 'VOR Baby'. However, on my office wall is a framed WAC chart of the L.A. area from 1962 that still has the A/N legs on it, which surprised me. I learned to fly in the early 70s, so I only had to grapple with the ADF. Still had to fight the thing as a 767 Captain, only in the simulator, though.
30west
30west 3
Great stuff!! I learned to fly at SanVal Aviation on the East ramp of VNY in 1972.

The ADF was the oldest technology that I had to deal with, as well. In the late 90"s we still flew the AR Routes on flights from JFK to MIA and PBI in the 727's using ADF Navigation once on the Routes. Really great with TRW's near by! Transitioning to the 757/767 after the 727 and DC9/MD8 series was the "new" technology for me in the late 90's.
dee9bee
dee9bee 1
Sorry if I'm getting off-topic everyone. I was learning down at SNA in 1972..."You're number eight for landing, follow the aircraft ahead". I remember those AR routes and the ADF while on the MD80. Sure was nice to advance to the 'magenta line' aircraft!
30west
30west 2
Very true, remember hearing similar instructions as well.
n42769
n42769 1
VOR "baby" here too, but I have an old wall chart that has the early Victor airways and the OLD ARTCC structure.... even before Phoenix ARTCC was established. It was so far from EL Paso to Blythe that El Paso ARTCC had to ensure 15 minutes between flights into Los Angeles ARTCC rather than the 10 minute non-radar separation that the rest of the country used.

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joelwiley
joel wiley 3
Mr. Hartmann, can you provide a link to the reference where the criteria for 'essential VOR' sites are documented?
Thanx in advance
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Without VOR's.... How are you going to fly Green Needles?

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sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Green needles is flying raw data... Normal navigation is either GPS, or DME-DME via the use of FMS. Raw Data being you are receiving the station that you are flying to and work your course based on raw data, not data that has been filtered and modified by on board computers.

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sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Raw data is simply following your VOR or ADF needle to your destination. If you are navigating using RNAV, then that is by all respect FMS and that is using the navigation data by auto selecting frequencies and doing the calculations to allow you to fly a straight line from point A to Point B. Raw data or VOR or ADF you fly from station A, Station C, Station D, Station E, etc... zig zagging through Just to get you Station B. FMS will allow you to use all the stations listed, but calculate a path that would enable you to fly a straight line.

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sparkie624
sparkie624 1
No I am not that old, but with my experience with avionics I have be knowledgeable of it, where does the FAA say that a 747 cannot navigate from the East Coast to the West using nothing more than an ADF.... Actually for any plane flying regardless the minimum instruments as follows:

1.) Airspeed Indicator
2.) Compass
3.) Oil Pressure Indicator

If you were to fly a 747 or any other aircraft anywhere in the US under VFR Rules there is no other legal requirements to prevent you from flying it... However, common sense should prevail.

Personally I think every pilot should practice once in a while with the ADF... You don't follow straight to the needle, but rather to fly to or from the station you fly to where the needle does not move very much... And btw, not recommended during thunderstorms :)

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THRUSTT
THRUSTT 0
Californicated, lol!!!
wingbolt
wingbolt 0
GPS 07/023 ZKC NAV (WSMR GPS 16-11) GPS (INCLUDING WAAS, GBAS, AND
ADS-B) MAY NOT BE AVBL WI A 542NM RADIUS CENTERED AT 325928N1061655W
(TCS099053) FL400-UNL DECREASING IN AREA WITH A DECREASE IN ALT
DEFINED AS:
485NM RADIUS AT FL250,
412NM RADIUS AT 10000FT,
417NM RADIUS AT 4000FT AGL,
399NM RADIUS AT 50FT AGL
THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO ALL AIRCRAFT RELYING ON GPS. ADDITIONALLY, DUE
TO GPS INTERFERENCE IMPACTS POTENTIALLY AFFECTING EMBRAER PHENOM 300
AIRCRAFT FLIGHT STABILITY CONTROLS, FAA RECOMMENDS EMB PHENOM PILOTS
AVOID THE ABOVE TESTING AREA AND CLOSELY MONITOR FLIGHT CONTROL
SYSTEMS DUE TO POTENTIAL LOSS OF GPS SIGNAL.
DLY 0530-1330
1607150530-1607161330

On the day this GPS Notam was published, although some being repetitive there were 34 others just like it. It was on 7/12/16.

A diameter 1084NM. Even a multi sensor FMS would struggle with that using DME/DME if VOR coverage was sparse.

With first hand knowledge I can attest to the fact that sometimes the NOTAMS don't get published or the controllers advised of the pending military test. Ended up "driving my airplane" from Mustang VOR almost to Salt Lake City.

I take issue with the policy but doubt it will matter.

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jrollf
jrollf 5
One well timed solar event can take out GPS from minutes to days, or in the case of an unlucky direct CME (Coronial Mass Ejection) hit permanently (most satellites would be out of commission). When working at NASA we would discuss the threats to GPS from solar activity, but I never hear it discussed in political/public forums.

One occurred in 1859 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859) that was would of easily killed GPS satellites and taken down power grids. In such a case ground based navigation would be much easier to recover since it would take a lot of time to build and launch an entire new constellation of GPS satellites.
wrober
There was more than a trial balloon, and there was an actual test which demonstrated very widespread disruption in 2012/2013 time frame.

I think the impact could be very serious. It really does not take much earthside signal to mess up the GPS system. A few years back, a company called Lightsquared bought INMARSAT, a satellite communications company primarily to use its frequencies to establish a terrestrial 4G-LTE mobile network. They proposed and tested terrestrial "supplemental" transmitters operating on the GPS frequency guard band (1576 MHz is the GPS frequency, they proposed 1525-1559 MHz). The problem is the GPS satellites transmit very weak (relatively) signals and the physics of radio transmission pretty much dictate that a strong signal on a frequency immediately adjacent to a quiet signal will drown out the quiet signal.

Lightsquared managed to convince the FCC to grant a temporary waiver allowing it to broadcast "supplemental" terrestrial signals rather than satellite signals at much higher power outputs, effectively drowning out the GPS signals. A test was run sometime in 2012/13 timeframe based in New Mexico which effectively disabled GPS reception from Las Vegas to St. Louis, and that test was run at 1/10 of Lightsquared's plan. The FCC waiver was technically infeasible, Lightsquared's officers had a high volume of White House visits, campaign contributions, etc.

Ultimately, the waiver was revoked, the company went bankrupt, the owner Philip Falcone is facing securities fraud charges, and Lightsquared is now attempting to revive its plan with new pseudo-physics to convince the FCC it can do what it wants.

If I wanted to (which I don't) screw with GPS, it would be relatively simple to cause widespread GPS disruptions which would be very hard and very time consuming to clean up. For obvious reasons, I won't discuss how this could be done, but if I can think of it, so can others.
wingbolt
wingbolt 2
The one in the Southwest was in fact cancelled but they still exist in other parts of the country. My point was directed towards the fact that the remaining VOR's need to be above the level of "backup" and more towards "possible sole source". No doubt that some can be decommissioned but it would still be nice to keep enough of them around to be able to navigate around the country at any altitude accurately should the GPS system be interrupted. I don't think the controller was real thrilled putting me on a 350 mile vector. Not to mention what ya gonna do when your 750 goes TU.

[This comment was deleted.]

ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 5
That language really isn't appropriate for a public forum.

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