WAAS Gets Solar Storm Protections

‘Iono Robustness’ upgrade alters the way WAAS reacts to solar events.

Solar Storm

Solar Storm

The FAA has begun a number of upgrades to the WAAS network that are intended to increase the system’s reliability during solar storms. One such upgrade, known as the “Iono Robustness,” will help reduce service interruptions to WAAS LPV approaches during the upcoming solar maximum (the 11-year peak in the solar cycle that will occur in 2013).

The upgrade, introduced last month, alters the software algorithms that WAAS uses to determine when solar storms will cause WAAS LPV disruptions. Over the past few months, there have been several iono storms that affected WAAS signals. The FAA said the new software algorithms would have ensured 100-percent availability for WAAS LPV service during these events.

During an iono storm, WAAS doesn’t shut down. Instead, the parameters that measure the storm impact on WAAS change, and that affects its availability. As a storm subsides, these parameters automatically lessen and service is restored. The FAA hopes the new software algorithms will lead to a marked increase in LPV up time once the solar maximum begins.