Features

May 2010 Issue

Investing In WAAS

Will a pricey WAAS add-on to the average aircraft up the ante on safety and performance?

The FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) has been widely hyped as a boon to safety because it offers more precise approach guidance with vertical capability. While that’s true on some approaches, it can also cost an aircraft owner a bundle of money. Worse, the market offers limited choices in equipment—Garmin’s GNS430/530W and G1000 are among the short list. There are plenty of reasons to buy WAAS, and for many new installations WAAS comes standard. There’s also ADS-B, which relies on a WAAS-enhanced GPS position. But is the safety enhancement worth the upgrade costs for the typical pilot? And what exactly are you getting out of the WAAS deal?

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