Will Your GPS Be Affected?

January 27, 1999

AOPA is surveying GPS manufacturers to determine which IFR GPS units might be affected by the "end of week" (EOW) rollover at 0000Z on August 22, 1999, and year 2000 (Y2K) problems at 0000Z on January 1, 2000.

"We're asking for a unit-by-unit description of potential problems and how AOPA members can avoid them," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA Government Affairs researcher. "As we receive specific data, we'll post it in the members-only section of the AOPA Web site ( www.aopa.org/members/), with links to manufacturer sites where needed."

At press time, Northstar Technologies had notified AOPA that while all current Northstar GPS products are fully Y2K compliant, early M2/M6 GPS units (models 8000A, 8200, 8100A), GPS add-on boxes, and earlier GPS-60s would require a certain version of software. Company President Scott C. Lewis said that Northstar will upgrade units sent to them at no charge.

AlliedSignal, Inc. reported that the KLN 89 and KLN 89B GPS units will show an incorrect date on February 29 of each leap year, and the KLN 90 and KLN 90A will show no date on February 1 of a leap year. Neither anomaly will affect navigation. The company said that KLN 90 or KLN 90A units can be upgraded to a KLN 90B to avoid that anomaly.

Trimble Navigation has listed the Y2K and EOW rollover status of all its products on its Web site ( www.trimble.com/y2kwnro/chart.htm).

Other GPS manufacturers surveyed include Arnav Systems; II Morrow, Magellan Systems, and Garmin International.

[For more information, see also " Y2K2U" from the December 1998 issue of AOPA Pilot.]

As of January 27, 1999, AOPA does not anticipate receiving more information from manufacturers. Contact manufacturers directly.

What GPS manufacturers are saying

(From the December 1998 issue of AOPA Pilot.)

Bill Stone, product support manager for Garmin International, stated that all of its GPS products are fully compliant into the next century. "That is one of the advantages of being a new company," he said.

Garmin International, 1200 East 151st Street, Olathe, Kansas 66062; 913/397-8200; www.garmin.com; www.garmin.com/faqs/19.html

Northstar Technologies has issued a letter stating, "All GPS systems manufactured or sold by Northstar Technologies as of September 1993 are fully Year 2000 compliant. In addition, all GPS systems manufactured or sold prior to September 1993 can be upgraded to full Y2K compliance via a no-charge software upgrade."

Northstar Technologies, 30 Sudbury Road, Acton, Massachusetts 01720; 800/897-7251; www.northstarcmc.com; www.northstarcmc.com/Y2K.htm

According to the Trimble Navigation Ltd. Web site, all aviation products will be compliant, although most will need a "Week Number Roll Over Reset" period. The TANS (Trimble Air Navigation System) Vector navigation system will need to be cleared on August 22, 1999.

Trimble Navigation Ltd., Corporate Offices, 645 North Mary Avenue, Sunnyvale, California 94086; 408/481-8000; www.trimble.com

II Morrow's line of aviation GPSs are all End-of-Week compliant, but the company had not yet completed Year 2000 testing at press time. The testing should be completed and posted on the company's Web site in the very near future.

II Morrow Inc., 2345 Turner Road South East, Salem, Oregon 97302; 503/391-3411; www.iimorrow.com

AlliedSignal (Bendix/King products) has one of the best reports of its products at its Web site. Its systems will be fully compliant, with a few curious exceptions. The KLX 135 and 135A GPSs and the KLN 90 and 90A products flag February 1, 2000, as January 32. This problem occurs every leap year, so it is not really a Y2K problem but an inherent leap year problem. The KLX 135 and 135A GPS/Comm transceivers will be inoperative for the entire day on February 1. The KLN 90 and 90A GPS RNAV systems will show the date as January 32 but will function normally, and the date will be corrected on February 2. The KLN 90B is not affected.

The AlliedSignal KNC 660 FMS will need a special database for a month after December 30. The AlliedSignal KLN 89 and KLN 89B GPS RNAV Systems will display the wrong day on any February 29 until satellites are acquired.

AlliedSignal Aerospace, One Technology Center, 23500 West 105th Street, Olathe, Kansas 66061; 913/782-0600; www.alliedsignal.com; www.alliedsignal.com/aerospace/product/y2k/index.html

Magellan had not completed any testing at the time of this report, but Ken Kochi, sales and marketing manager for aviation products, said that the results of testing will be posted on its Web site. As of January 27, to AOPA's knowledge, Magellan has not released any information pertaining to its products and Y2K compatibility.

Magellan Systems Corp., 960 Overland Court, San Dimas, California 91773; 800/669-4477; www.magellangps.com/frames/frame5.htm

ARNAV has not released any information pertaining to its products and Y2K compatibility, to AOPA's knowledge.