Ask Scott : How important is GPS technology?

Ask Scott : How important is GPS technology?


You have questions about your avionics needs. Our VP of Avionics Sales, Scott Gregory has the answers.

When it comes to aviation, GPS technology is really about the shift that’s happening as we transition from groundbased to satellite-based technology (e.g., ADS-B). GPS delivers a more accurate and precise way to fly from one place to another instead of using ground-based aids for Performance Based Navigation. Chances are, you fall into one of two camps: you already have GPS, or you’re thinking about it.

What’s interesting to note is the difference between the GPS service we’ve grown up with in our cars and on our phones compared to the ones used in the air. The traditional terrestrial versions allow users on or near the Earth’s surface know where they are within 25 feet 95 percent of the time. That’s pretty accurate.

However, if you’re one of the aircraft using the satellitebased augmentation system known in the United States as the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), you can expect your positions to be accurate within 10 feet. That’s not much more than the wingspan of some NBA players. Definitely accurate enough to keep your aircraft safe from collisions. But beyond that, an aircraft equipped with GPS/ WAAS is able to fly shorter routes and take off and land more safely and efficiently

So, you’re asking how important GPS is? There are clearly a number of benefits to having it and very little downside. But the real answer depends on you and your individual needs. But in terms of getting to destinations safely and efficiently, there are few technologies that can get the job done quite like GPS.