The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), in a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DOD), expressed concern about restrictions to airspace and airports caused by the intentional jamming of GPS and are seeking mitigations on the operational impact of these interference events.
In a letter to the FAA and DOD, the organizations recognized the importance of DOD’s mission and the agency’s need to simulate the loss of GPS as part of its effort to defend and maintain the global navigation system. However, as NBAA and AOPA noted, the National Airspace System (NAS) has become increasingly reliant on GPS as the primary source of navigation and aircraft system functionality, while reducing reliance on ground-based navigational infrastructure.
“Despite reduced operations in the NAS over the past year, general aviation continues to show increased activity and volume, exceeding commercial airline operations,” the letter states. “In recent months, operators have continued to report operational impacts and reduced access to airspace and airports resulting from intentional GPS jamming events.”
Read NBAA’s and AOPA’s full letter to the FAA and DOD. (PDF)
The associations’ letter also noted the aviation community had not received a response from the FAA or DOD to a 2018 RTCA report on the operational impacts of intentional GPS interference, which included more than two dozen detailed recommendations to limit the operational impact of these events on civilian air traffic.
During the RTCA deliberations, the FAA and DOD acknowledged that the frequency and impact of these intentional jamming events grew significantly over the preceding decade and would continue to escalate, the trade groups added.
“The growing reliance on GPS in the National Airspace System, combined with the increasing frequency of intentional GPS jamming events, makes it imperative that the FAA and the DOD have mitigations in place to ensure the safety and reliability of the NAS during these events,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA director, air traffic services and infrastructure. “We look forward to working with the agencies to employ the RTCA report’s recommendations and ensure our national security and the safety and efficiency of the NAS.”
“It is vital that pilots have continuity and access to optimal navigational and safety tools, of which GPS is vital,” said Jim Coon, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy. “We strongly support our warfighters, but we believe DOD and FAA should review their GPS testing processes so that our nation’s airspace continues to be as safe as possible.”