Feb 2014 | No Comment

GAGAN passes certification milestone

30th December 2013 is an important milestone in the history of Indian civil aviation as initial certification of GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation) has been issued by DGCA and India joins the elite club of countries along with USA, Japan and Europe to implement the operational SBAS (Satellite Based Augmentation System). The certification will enable Indian Flight Information Region (FIR) to support satellite based augmentation services for precision navigation by suitably equipped aircraft. Airports Authority of India (AAI), plans to develop closely spaced routes that will allow increase in capacity, reduce fuel burns through flexible routings and ensure satellite based approaches to every runway end, thereby reducing the dependence on costlier ground based navigation systems. The transition from ground to satellite based systems will; however depend on the time that will be required for all airlines to operate the suitably equipped aircraft.

The GAGAN certification challenge was addressed through the establishment of expert Technical Review Team (TRT) by DGCA comprising experts from DGCA, AAI, ISRO, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and experts from system integrators from abroad. The TRT worked in collaboration over two years to ensure that GAGAN system met the safety critical standards for its usage in civil aviation. ISRO/AAI developed Operation testing and evaluation tools to analyze the GAGAN performance over Indian region. Indian region lies within equatorial anomaly region and posed challenges that were not experienced by other SBAS providers.

U.S. FAA downgrades India aviation rating

U.S. authorities have downgraded India’s aviation safety rating, citing a lack of safety oversight, meaning Indian carriers cannot increase flights to the US and face extra checks for existing ones. India’s government said it expected to resolve by March all concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, including appointing an adequate number of flight operation inspectors, and would approach the U.S. regulator for a review of its decision.

According to the US regulator, “The FAA has determined that India at this time is not in compliance with the international standards for aviation safety oversight,” India joins countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh that have a Category 2 rating. As of November 22, the FAA kept 81 of the 96 countries reviewed in Category 1.

Enhanced Differential Loran to back-up GNSS successfully tested

Dutch company Reelektronika has developed and successfully tested Enhanced Differential Loran (eDLoran) to backup GNSS. When piloting deep-draught vessels bound for Rotterdam – where the pilot boards about 35 miles off the coast – the Dutch Pilots’ Corporation (Nederlands Loodswezen) currently makes use of a portable, autonomous navigation aid based on GNSS. By law, ships navigating the Eurogeul and Maasgeul shipping channels in the North Sea are required to carry an autonomous navigation system.

Totally independent of GNSS and working in a completely different part of the spectrum (100 kHz), eDLoran uses signals transmitted by towers in England, France and Germany. Based on these signals, a location can be determined with an accuracy of better than 5 metres, meeting the Government Port Approach Systems specification. The test system that has been implemented includes an eDLoran reference station and eDLoran receivers for the pilots.

No GLONASS stations in US without Pentagon’s approval

US President Barack Obama has signed a bill hindering the construction of GLONASS stations on the US territory. The document rules that the matter requires the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to report the case to Congress first. Under the Republicanproposed bill, the Pentagon and CIA chiefs are to provide assurances that GLONASS stations will not be used for spying against the US or for improving the efficiency of Russian weapons, the New York Times says. The signing was preceded by protracted debates between various US agencies and departments.

In 2012, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency announced plans to build eight monitoring stations on US soil to improve the accuracy of GLONASS. Russia has 19 ground-based GLONASS stations on its own territory.

Lack of plow information due to faulty GPS

The New York City Sanitation Commissioner said a map that showed unplowed streets on the Upper East Side was due to a faulty GPS system. It was on a salt spreader, and also blamed traffic problems for streets not being plowed. The city’s map showed no plowing at all on numerous Upper East Side streets – specifically east-west streets from 59th Street to 67th Street east of Lexington Avenue.

Dark matter surrounding earth a possibility

In a major breakthrough, a GPS expert has discovered more grounds to believe that the earth can indeed be surrounded by an invisible halo of dark matter – the stuff that possesses mass and yet can’t be seen. After analysing nine months of data collection from global navigation satellite systems, GPS expert Ben Harris of the University of Texas found that his measurement of earth’s mass came in at between 0.005 and 0.008 percent larger than the “official” mass measurements as quoted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Isro to launch three IRNSS satellites this year

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will launch three satellites belonging to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation this year. IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1,500 km around the Indian mainland.

BeiDou declares full FOC

Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has declared full operational capability (FOC) for its regional service. The BDS program also released two new technical documents, including an updated interface control document (ICD) that describes the second civil signal, B2I, and a “BDS Open Service Performance Standard (version 1.0).”

Fighting climate change with GPS mapping

Indigenous communities in Indonesia are using GPS technology to demarcate the boundaries of their ancestral lands; a move many believe could also help mitigate the negative effects of climate change. Indonesia’s dense forests are home to an estimated 50-70 million indigenous people, and 10 percent of all known plant species, according to AMAN and the Rainforest Action Network, a non-profit international environmental advocacy group headquartered in San Francisco.

More than 600 cases for land rights have been filed in Indonesian courts by indigenous communities in the past three years, according to the Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education), based in the Philippines. These advocates of sustainability and tribal rights hope the two- and threedimensional maps will help the thousands of diverse aboriginal groups to guard the health of the environments they depend on for survival.

800 GPS-fitted ambulances in rural Jammu & Kashmir

Around 800 ambulances fitted with GPS would be made available for patients in rural areas in Jammu and Kashmir, India. People in rural areas would only need to dial the toll-free number 102 to avail ambulance services fitted with GPS under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)

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