Private pilots who experience problems with their Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational devices can now report the issue and share their experience with other pilots at a new website.
The site at http://nano.aero is run by specialist consultants Helios and sponsored by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Pilots using the site can report a range of issues including loss of guidance; position errors; database errors; satellite outages; and human factors occurrences. As well as being able to post reports, pilots can also add comments or provide additional information on existing reports. Pilots can post anonymously if they wish. Martin Robinson, Chief Executive of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, is working on GPS issues as part of the Airspace and Safety Initiative* and said: Many pilots now use GPS as a navigational aid. Because the GPS system offers such a high level of accuracy many people do not realise that the system can, and does, fail. As with other satellite-based systems there can be unexpected outages in the service, and system databases holding information such as airspace boundaries can be inaccurate. The new nano site will enable pilots to raise and share these issues. As well as being an educational source for pilots on GPS issues the data and experiences collected will also allow issues to be investigated and passed on to equipment manufacturers. Nick McFarlane of Helios said: We will be investigating some of the issues raised to see if we can resolve them or prevent them happening again - for example, by getting database errors corrected. This way we hope we can increase the safety of GPS on aircraft and provide a really valuable service.