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GPS testing could disrupt navigation in western statesGPS testing could disrupt navigation in western states

The FAA is advising pilots of GPS testing events scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in Arizona and California, and high-intensity GPS testing at a proving ground in Nevada, that are all likely to disrupt aircraft navigation in the affected areas and could delay arrivals and departures.

AOPA strongly urges pilots to check notices to airmen carefully before flying in the test areas, to note the increased likelihood of navigation disruption, and to clearly communicate any disruptions experienced to air traffic control during flight.

Pilots should be prepared to receive clearances for non-RNAV instrument flight procedures, airborne rerouting, and the suspension of “descend via” and “climb via” procedures during some testing as provided in the events’ specific notams.

The testing, scheduled for various times on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, will be centered on China Lake, California; the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona; and the Nevada Test and Training Range. In each instance, navigational GPS may be unavailable within a radius of several hundred miles at high altitudes, and in a smaller radius at lower altitudes, with flight delays and routings using non-RNAV procedures possible. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) also may be unavailable.

The Nevada events “are of ‘high intensity’ GPS testing and are more likely to disrupt aircraft navigation," the FAA said. Aircraft operating within affected areas, especially in the vicinity of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, may receive non-RNAV instrument flight procedures, airborne reroutes to the south and east of the affected area, and suspension of “descend-via/climb-via” procedures. Operations and exercises may be impacted in the R-2508 and R-2501 complex, the FAA said.

Pilots should report any effects on GPS systems to ATC and submit a filing using the FAA’s online GPS Anomaly Reporting Form, said Rune Duke, AOPA senior director of airspace, air traffic, and aviation security.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, NextGen, Navigation

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