Updating of navigational equipment is underway at Penticton Regional Airport however plans for the creation of a GPS approach path remain up in the air.
Initially scheduled to be completed by the end of last year, the work would have allowed pilots to use co-ordinates from a global navigation satellite system to help land safely and eliminate the need to rely on visual cues that can be obstructed by low clouds, snow or smoke.
Spokesman Ron Singer of Nav Canada, the private corporation that operates Canada’s civil air navigation system, was unable to say exactly what the status of the work is but was checking into it at press deadline. It is hoped when finally in place the GPS would result in fewer flights being turned away due to limited visibility conditions.
There is no installation of equipment necessary on the ground because it is satellite based and is used by the aircraft’s instrumentation.
Singer said earlier the challenge is in the design of the approach and the angles.
According to the Nav Canada spokesman, the current work is part of a multi-million dollar, national update that involves replacing the existing localizer antennae on the airport’s instrument landing system.
“It won’t really change the service at the airport but the navigation aid will be more reliable, less down time, less repairs like having a new car versus an old car,” said Singer. “It sends signals up to the cockpit that lets the pilot know laterally where he or she is with respect to the runway centre line.”
The work is expected to be completed and operational by the middle of October.