Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

"Mobs Do Not Storm the Capitol to Do Good Deeds." -- not James Lee Burke

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys underground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Let’s eat all of these people!” — Venom

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Kessler Syndrome and Travel

First, watch this video, suggested by a commentator, Gray Fox:

Any war between top-ranked powers will also be fought in space, in that satellites will be military targets. The GPS network will come down, as both sides attempt to degrade the other's navigation and targeting abilities.

The FAA has, for a long time, been pushing aviation from using VORs to GPS, with a minimal number of VORs for a skeletal backup system. This is foolishness. A minimally-capable system will have minimal capabilities.

Trucking, farming, emergenciy systems; all use GPS and all will be seriously affected if humanity can't get space debris under control. A war will make it worse.

Which is why I think this is largely inevitable. Humans have been very short-sighted when it comes to polluting the environment. Space is just another environment.


B said...

The FAA is supposed to keep a Minimum Level of Service (Minimal Operational Network MON)for VOR's.
I'm not sure how that will actually work out in practice though. Supposedly it will allow operation the old wy as there will be a VOR within 100 miles of every airport.

I think without GPS there will not be safe air travel any more.

Comrade Misfit said...

100 miles away gives a pretty high MEA and makes VOR-based approaches impossible.

IMO. I don’t fly anymore, I’ll defer to you on this.

J4rh34d said...

Here's hoping that Inertial Navigation Systems can replace or augment GPS for air travel. INS suffers from drift, but they can be zeroed out just before takeoff.

We'll probably see it coming as a civilian benefit of military research into counteracting GPS jamming.

Eck! said...

Reminds me of the movie Gravity, not accurate but the idea of space
junk messing up a lot of people days is real.

We had 18 years ago, Navigation for pilots was at its peak..

Dead reckoning and we knew how to do it.
ADF, poor persons DF system, simple and relaiable.
VOR, good accuracy to maybe 50-60 miles then it gets fuzzy.
Loran-C, average day less than .2mile error, bad day a mile
for VFR and MVFR more than adequate.
GPS, high prices spread good for less than 10M error even
with a hand held unit.

Most likely can't do DR, ADF has seen shutdowns as well as VORs.
Loran went away as well, it was cheap and reliable. GPS can
disappear with the next solar storm or get wobbly on command.

Of those there is talk of a Loran-E low frequency ground
system as it easy to run and maintain.

For the average airliner minimal redundant because of INS.
For the average smaller gets maybe INS. Still smaller GPS
and all still have VOR and many ADF as there are still AM
broadcast stations everywhere (useful for navigation).

For the little guy we will always have a window we can
look out of and follow road sighs and rivers.

But we can't fly without ADS-B out (in most areas) and
that requires GPS. Seems maximum failure is possible.


CenterPuke88 said...

VORMON (Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range Minimum Operating Network) is a goat fuck.


The selection of facilities was supposed to be dependent upon service provision standards, but the military has blown a good bit of the savings up with demands to retain TACANs (Tactical Air Navigation) in a number of areas. The problem is the VORs and TACANs are generally collocated, so where an old and leaky VOR shack was to be closed and demoed, now they have to extend the lease on the land, build several electrical boxes to provide the TACAN signal, then after paying to careful destroy the old building put in new TACAN equipment because they cannot reuse the existing TACAN equipment (wrong type for a smaller, box installation).

Supposedly, a GPS independent approach will be within roughly 1 flight hour for any civil aircraft...of course, some of the new, inexpensive navigation solutions may not function correctly to receive the non-GPS signals when the GPS shits the bed. We will also have literally no capacity to reinstall if the GPS constellation gets hammered, and they haven’t considered that such a strike would render space inhospitable to GPS satellites for some time. In summary, it’ll be back to beacons for some time.

Comrade Misfit said...

Back in the day, the antenna locations of high-power (50 KW) AM stations were shown in the charts. Not that anyone has ADF sets installed anymore….

B said...

My '80 340A still has an ADF in the panel. I should see what it would take to get it functional again....
Thing is, GPS is easily jammed even if no one takes out the satellites. VOR is much harder to jam, but takes maintenance (by the FAA) that the GPS doesn't. Plus the GPS is a lot more accurate (and in three dimensions) for approaches so everyone likes it, Plus it allows smaller airports to have fairly precision approaches without any on-airport equipment.

2 is one and 1 is none, however. if the GPS dies or is damaged, there are a lot of planes, Commercial included, that could not fly much of the time to a lot of airports if there is no GPS. Even with Inertial Nav, the approaches would need either ILS or GPS/Rnav equipment in a lot of weather.

Comrade Misfit said...

Are there any NDBs still active? They decommed the one at my last airport nine years ago.

That, to me, seemed really stupid. Throwing away a dead-nuts simple technology because of the beancounters?

DTWND said...

Many NDB’s were decommissioned along with most compass locators. Most newer pilots are GPS babies. About the only thing they look at on a chart is the three letter identifier to plug into their Garmins. And I am not exaggerating. Because of COVID, a lot of pilots didn’t fly. Most of my instructing this year has been for BFR’s and IPC’s. You would not believe how many of them have to have their iPhones and IPads turned on before we even move. Granted, GPS makes IFR flight easier, but there are still skills that need to be kept sharp, not just programming the Garmin and letting George follow the signal.

B, your statement that GPS is needed for safe air travel may be accurate because of the NEED for today’s pilots to have it to navigate. Most pilots that have been flying for 20 years or more probably still have the knowledge to fly using Time/Speed/Distance calculations and figuring wind correction angles. The know how may still be there, but it probably hasn’t been used for a while. And if the GPS system was taken out due to debris, you can bet that restrictions on GA travel would be put into place for IFR operations. Some kind of reservation system similar to those after 9/11 I would imagine. VFR flight may still be allowed but expect delays unless you were going into non-towered airports. Of course, if the GPS system was corrupted due to a war, then all betts would be off as it pertains to GA.

CFII & ATCS(ret)

dinthebeast said...

Shouldn't deorbiting dead satellites fall under Space Force's purview?

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Ten Bears said...

Not too far off-topic: have you seen the new flying motorcycles!? I'm getting one ...

What ever happened to IFR?

Comrade Misfit said...

That’s what we’re pretty much talking about, Ten Bears. Anyone who needs a GPS to fly VFR doesn’t belong behind the controls of an aircraft of any flavor.