Blog Editor’s Note: In the1990’s after the advent of GPS, the FAA planned to decommission its ground-based navigation aids and have aircraft rely entirely on space-based systems, essentially GPS and its augments. In 2001 a Volpe Transportation Systems Center report showed what a horribly bad idea that is. It also pointed out that it would be a bad idea for other parts of society to rely just on GPS for navigation and timing.

Aviation authorities in the the US and Europe, though, have never completely moved away from that idea. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get rid of those expensive ground-based systems,” they think, “and just use those incredibly expensive satellite systems, that are paid for by someone else!”  So the ground-based aviation navigation beacon network continues to shrink and age. We understand the FAA has dozens of new VOR equipment in storage, for example, that they have no funds or plans to install (wouldn’t you include the install funds with the purchase budget?).

And while some other nations are using new, much more capable and safer Instrument Landing Systems that could increase the safety, flow, and efficiency of major airports dramatically, we understand no efforts are underway to install them in the U.S. 

‘It’s a safety issue.’ Questions raised about GPS-based landing systems at US airports following 7 Investigators’ report 

Posted at 5:52 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 6:31 PM, Feb 01, 2021

(WXYZ) — The 7 Investigators were the first to expose an unsafe landing system at Detroit Metro Airport. Now an industry leader is coming forward, alleging that the FAA’s refusal to invest in better landing systems both here in Michigan and across the country could be putting airline passengers at risk.

RELATED: Whistleblower raises concerns over unsafe landing practices at Detroit Metro Airport

“The bounds of safety are being pushed because of our lack of interest in upgrading the ILS,” said John H. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of Watts Antenna Company.