Landing System Is Cancelled

From:         Robert Dorsett <rdd@netcom.com>
Date:         03 Jun 94 14:13:36 
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	WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is so happy with new satellite
technology it has decided to abandon development of a
microwave-based system to guide aircraft landings.
	The Transportation Department made the announcement Thursday.
Cancellation of development contracts with Raytheon Corp. and
Wilcox Corp. is expected to save $59 million.
	The microwave system was intended to give pilots precise landing
guidance in all weather conditions, replacing the old radio-based
instrument landing system. Early versions of the microwave system
are in use at about a half-dozen airports.
	But the satellite-based Global Positioning System is showing the
potential to do an even better job.
	``Continuing the (microwave) development is not an economically
sound strategy,'' since it will unlikely be needed, said Federal
Aviation Administrator David R. Hinson.
	The FAA said the decision to abandon the microwave system in
favor of GPS was supported by the Air Transport Association, which
represents major airlines; the Helicopter Association International
and other industry groups.
	Hinson said his agency will work with international aviation
groups to iron out any problems the decision causes with foreign
airline plans.
	The Global Positioning System is based on two dozen satellites
circling the earth. It was originally a military project which now
has expanded to a wide variety of civilian uses.
	By measuring how long it takes the radio signal to travel to a
satellite and back the system can tell a pilot how far he is from
that satellite. By comparing signal time from four satellites the
system can calculate latitude, longitude, altitude and time --
locating the craft within yards anywhere in the world, Hinson
explained.
	And special devices located on the ground can narrow the
location down to inches, permitting landings in low visibility and
bad weather and even helping guide taxiing airplanes.
	Using the system, Continental has made 158 landings at Aspen,
Colo., that would have had to be diverted elsewhere because of
weather or darkness. As a result 10,183 passengers arrived at their
destination who would have had to be diverted elsewhere, the FAA
reported.
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