FAA seems to be considering replacing the radar network with a GPS-based system for aircraft navigation.
Makes sense to me.
They can't replace radar with GPS because not all aircraft will have GPS and like radios, they sometimes don't work.
Not all planes have radio or electrical systems, so they still need maintain the old way of communicating, light signals.
Radar will have to remain as a backup or failsafe.
ADS-B technology has been around for some time now. It was developed jointly by the FAA and the big air freight companies that needed to get a lot of planes into one place very quickly. ADS-B allowed them to increase the density of the aircraft flying into the airport.
As for not all aircraft having GPS, that is true, but like the FAA did with Mode-C, they will make it manditory equipment if you want to fly into certain areas.
Also, not all areas of the country have radar services...
Will this help the London Airport where underground metal has been rendering some equipment useless?
I read some time ago that int Memphis Intl Airport is the test site for this system with the passenger aircraft and the FedEx aircraft traffic. http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato... the latest issue of Popular Science there is a small article about this - saving fuel.
GPS in aircraft is great (I remember early LORAN units, thought they were the neatest thing) the aviation system still will have different levels of technology for years to come, if only for redundency/safety. Aircraft still are equiped with low tech navigation (VOR, NDB's).
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