Blog Editor’s Note: There are those in the FAA and the aviation industry who, when asked about the importance of GPS to aviation claim that they have backups and can do without.* Never mind that the entire system would slow down, become less efficient and more accident prone. And the same is true, they say, for individual aircraft.

But the real importance of GPS to the aviation system and individual aircraft is being shown every day. Industry continues to be concerned every time the military schedules a jamming exercise. And why would you fly a commercial airliner if its GPS isn’t working? It’s an important piece of gear, and how, as a captain, are you going to answer questions at an inquiry if something else goes wrong? Much better and safer to take the time, get it fixed and proceed with a fully capable aircraft. 

We wouldn’t be surprised if standard company operating procedures aren’t to not takeoff or to divert and land in the event of no-GPS.

Thanks to Guy Buesnel at Spirent, our go-to guy for GPS and aviation, for pointing out the below.  Guy will be discussing GPS in aviation at the IAIN World Congress in Japan this winter. The theme of the conference is Resilient Navigation and we are encouraging everyone who is able to attend.


The Aviation Herald


Incident: France A319 at Munich on Jul 14th 2018, loss of positioning system

By Simon Hradecky, created Saturday, Jul 14th 2018 21:08Z, last updated Saturday, Jul 14th 2018 21:08Z

An Air France Airbus A319-100, registration F-GRHB performing flight AF-1123 from Munich (Germany) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France), was in the initial climb out of Munich’s runway 26L when the crew reported they had lost their positioning system, they were maintaining runway heading and needed radar vectors to return to Munich. The aircraft stopped the climb at 5000 feet, was vectored for the approach and landed safely back on runway 26L about 20 minutes after departure.

According to information The Aviation Herald received both GPS systems showed a fault.

The aircraft remained on the ground for about 2:45 hours, then was able to depart and reached Paris with a delay of 3.5 hours.

Link to post at The Aviation Herald

*This is for manned aviation systems, of course, Don’t get us started on GPS dependence in unmanned systems…