Global Positioning Systems and Air Cargo Essay

1354 Words Jul 17th, 2006 6 Pages
This paper describes the concept of the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and how they improve the Air Cargo industry. In this paper we will discuss how GPS came to be and how it is used in every day air travel. The paper will also explain how the GPS systems improve the Air Cargo industry in tracking the shipment from one hub to another.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a system of navigation based on the integration of 24 satellites, 21 working systems and 3 backups, that relay information regarding craft position and velocity to users (Colborn, 1992). First initiated as a program by the US Department of Defense through their Navstar system, GPS was deployed and fully operational in 1994 and speculations of the utility of this
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It was also believed that the use of GPS in navigation would improve the accident rate for aircraft considerably, and as a result, an industry-wide directive for the use of GPS came into view as a part of this process (Phillips, 1994).

In order to determine the efficacy of the GPS precision landing systems with air cargo aircraft, the FAA conducted a number of tests utilizing a United Parcel Service Boeing 757-200PF, and found that the system was as beneficial with air cargo planes as with the air passenger planes from companies like United Airlines (Hughes, 1994). GPS was viewed as a means of improvement over ground-based systems in directing the precision landing process for cargo planes, but this is only one area of application and in the past few years, researchers have considered other ways that GPS can be employed to increase the efficiency and safety of air transport systems in general.

For example, accidents that have occurred related to flight control, including accidents that fall "into the category of controlled flight into terrain," have been effectively addressed through the use of GPS systems (Donoghue, 1997, p. 5). Controlled flight into terrain is a category of flight accidents in which aircraft are forced by mechanical or environmental problems to fly into areas of unfamiliar terrain and navigate through, and

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