March 2010 Issue
Upgrading to WAAS: Only Few Options Exist
A WAAS buy-in adds real mission capability and workload reduction. But walk-away costs vary wildly with glass cockpits taking the biggest hit.
In February 1996, the FAA’s Technical Standard Order (TSO) C129 put IFR GPS navigation on the map. It was a complex installation with equipment that was quirky to program, but early adopters gained GPS-direct flight plans and GPS approaches—even though GPS was "supplementary navigation." Today’s IFR GPS installations are all about the augmented WAAS signal that’s worthy of sole-means navigation. They’re still a source of confusion and expense, but WAAS installations yield impressive automation and capability. Before you decide if WAAS is for you, you need to understand some behind-the-scenes facts and why you could be disadvantaged without WAAS GPS in your aircraft.
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