June 2001 Issue

WAAS Hits The Street

In Garminís 295, it delivers gnatís whisker accuracy. Then again, we havenít needed GPS to find the driveway yet.


With all the pomp and circumstance of a Taco Bell Grand Opening, the FAA last fall announced that its long- awaited wide area augmentation system for GPS was finally here. The WAAS satellites were in geosync orbit, the signal was up to snuff and, with a grand flourish, the FAA pronounced WAAS suitable for VFR navigation.

VFR navigation? Huh? The government has chewed through the better part of a billion dollars to field a system thatíll get hikers to within sniffing distance of a night latrine or keep a drunken power boat driver in center channel, but for pilots, WAAS is, in the words of Cactus Jack Garner, about as useful as a bucket of warm spit.

Nonetheless, through a...

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