The FAA’s implementation activities of the Global Positioning System (GPS) are dedicated to the adaptation of the NAS infrastructure to accept satellite navigation (SATNAV) technology through the management and coordination of a variety of overlapping NAS implementation projects. These projects fall under the project areas listed below and represent different elements of the NAS infrastructure:

  • Avionics Development - includes engineering support and guidance in the development of current and future GPS avionics minimum operational performance standards (MOPS), as well as FAA Technical Standard Orders (TSOs) and establishes certification standards for avionics installations.
  • Flight Standards - includes activities related to instrument procedure criteria research, design, testing, and standards publication. The shift from ground-based to space-based navigation sources has markedly shifted the paradigms used in obstacle clearance determination and standards development. New GPS-based Terminal Procedures (TERPS) manuals are in use today as a result of this effort.
  • Air Traffic - includes initiatives related to the development of GPS routes, phraseology, procedures, controller GPS training and GPS outage simulations studies. GPS-based routes, developed along the East Coast to help congestion in the Northeast Corridor, direct GPS-based Caribbean routes, and expansion of RNAV activities are all results of SATNAV sponsored implementation projects.
  • Procedure Development - includes the provision of instrument procedure development and flight inspection of GPS-based routes and instrument procedures. Today over 3,500 GPS-based IAPs have been developed.
  • Interference Identification and Mitigation - includes the development and fielding of airborne, ground, and portable interference detection systems. These efforts are ongoing and critical to ensuring the safe use of GPS in the NAS.
To use GPS, WAAS, and/or LAAS in the NAS, equipment suitable for aviation use (such as a GPS receiver, WAAS receiver, LAAS receiver, or multi-modal receiver) must be designed, developed, and certified for use. To ensure standardization and safety of this equipment, the FAA plays a key role in the development and works closely with industry in this process. The avionics development process results in safe, standardized SATNAV avionics, developed in concurrence with industry. Due to the growing popularity of SATNAV and potential new aviation applications, there are several types of GPS-based receivers on the market, but only those that pass through this certification process can be used as approved navigation equipment under IFR conditions. Detailed information on GPS approach procedures is provided in Chapter 5–Approach.