GPS Units Will Make Attractive Planters

By Robert Mark on May 30th, 2007

What a difference a letter makes.

In yet another dose of infinite wisdom, the FAA recently transformed millions of dollars worth of avionics into window boxes when it released the updated “A” version of AC 90-100

The Advisory Circular that outlines Terminal and Enroute RNAV operations in the U.S., lists which specific GPS units are approved for IFR operations. The AC became effective immediately when it was released in March.

From the talk on the net, few people actually realized the impact the change would have on aircraft operating in the IFR system. Now, dozens of major GPS units from Honeywell, Chelton, Trimble and Northstar, in addition to many earlier Garmin units, can no longer substitute for ADF or DME equipment requirements on IFR approaches for many Part 91 and 135 operators that depend upon them for access to non-hub airports.

FAA says the changes were made in order to “harmonize with ICAO performance-based navigation criteria as well as the lessons learned from the initial U.S. RNAV implementation.”

Lessons learned?

Isn’t it interesting that just at a time when the FAA and the airlines are hounding general and business aviation to ante up more cash to pay for a bigger ATC system because we’re all getting in their way, they also make the equipment that would help more aircraft stay out of their way completely “Inop.”

The Feds have spent gazillions developing every conceivable derivative of GPS navigation over the past few years, so successfully in fact, that many aircraft of all sizes no longer carry DME or ADF units. They don’t need them because GPS has become a widely accepted substitute for those aging avionics. 

Now many have no ADF, no DME and no usable IFR GPS in an ever-increasing area-navigation world.

In a prepared statement, the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) said they believe the removal of GPS in lieu of ADF/DME was simply a typographical error on the part of the agency, and that the error is expected to be corrected soon.

This kind of FAA thinking thanks to Ms. Blakey and her crew is probably why you never see any top university graduates choosing FAA management as a career.

I doubt anyone has used the word “strategic” around the FAA since Jane Garvey left.

But assuming the FAA made this decision to trash so many GPS units on purpose is likely giving the agency higher ups far more credit than they deserve.

On purpose would mean they even gave the effects of their decision on users so much as a moment’s thought, which I doubt.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts:

One Response to “GPS Units Will Make Attractive Planters”

  1. Retired_ATC Says:

    “On purpose would mean they even gave the effects of their decision on users so much as a moments thought, which I doubt.”

    Oh I’m sure it was on purpose, only the responsible parties didn’t even understand the impact on the users, so much for given it a moment’s thought. A typo error is a good excuse to use if you believe them. Ms. Blakey and her mismanagment team have done a real “job” on reorganizing the FAA, so much that major loss of technical and professional experience is rampant. What was once the best and most professional federal agency has become a joke. But not to worry, more to come as the situation develops at the FAA/ATO.

Subscribe without commenting