WAAS: accuracy when accuracy counts
The FAA recently announced something that’s no surprise to those with Garmin WAAS enabled equipment, but it is worth the post just to point out how times are changing. The FAA announcement I’m referring to is that GPS LPV (localizer performance with vertical navigation) approaches now outnumber ILS approaches. They’ve also made a commitment to publish 500 LPV approaches a year, so LPV approaches promise to be the primary approach of the future. Having soloed in 1998, that makes me a relatively young aviator to many pilots. However, in these ten years even I have seen amazing advancements to airplanes, especially in the panel with GPS.
As many of you know, Garmin’s GNS 400/500 series products received WAAS certification in late 2006 and thousands of pilots have upgraded their GPS so that they can fly LPV, LNAV/VNAV, LNAV+V, and LNAV approaches. Another huge advantage with a WAAS upgrade to a GNS 400/500 series box is the ability for it to fly a procedure turn or published hold (depending on the aircraft’s autopilot). This means the GPS determines if you should do a teardrop, parallel or direct entry for you, and then it flies that procedure to the approach. The benefits of WAAS are enormous and pilots all over the US are taking advantage of them. For those who have yet to decide if a WAAS upgrade is right for you, we thought we’d give you some of the most commonly asked questions for WAAS upgrades:
1. How much does it cost? The upgrade is currently $2,995
2. Who has to do the upgrade? An authorized Garmin dealer
3. How long will my airplane be down? Approximately 2 weeks depending on the dealer
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