Algorithm experts give WAAS advice

A panel of software experts will be formed to help solve safety problems

with the Federal Aviation Administration's nearly $3 billion Wide-Area Augmentation

System.

The advisers are being assembled after the FAA and Raytheon Co. stopped

work early this year on the system after discovering during testing that

WAAS did not meet certain safety requirements. WAAS is a ground- and space-based

system designed to verify and correct signals received from the Defense

Department's Global Positioning System.

The WAAS integrity monitor, which alerts an aircraft pilot when a GPS

signal is not accurate, failed to detect an instance where "hazardously

misleading information" was transmitted, according to testimony from Kenneth

Mead, the Transportation Department's inspector general. Mead spoke during

a hearing Wednesday before the House Appropriations Committee's Transportation

and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

Nine or 10 top experts in the safety algorithms WAAS uses will be assembled

to assess the best way to proceed and determine the schedule and cost impacts,

FAA Administrator Jane Garvey said. The experts are from Stanford University,

Ohio University, Mitre Corp. and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mead also suggested involvement from the National Academy of Sciences

or a similar organization.

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