New Garmin Unit Can Provide WAAS Precision Approaches

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Garmin says it expects to start deliveries this month of its GNS 480, which the company says is the first GPS navigator approved for precision approach operations. The unit will make it possible for pilots to complete an approach in low instrument conditions at airports that lack an Instrument Landing System (ILS). Upon FAA approval, Garmin said, the GNS 480 will utilize satellite-based navaids for precise lateral and vertical approach guidance -- similar to ILS operations -- without the need for ground-based navaids of any kind. "WAAS precision approaches promise to redefine the airspace system in terms of navigation and capacity, " said Gary Kelley, Garmin's director of marketing, in a news release. The GNS 480 uses a 15-channel WAAS receiver to update the aircraft's position at a rate of five times per second. The unit also provides oceanic-approved IFR GPS/nav/comm functionality and ILS/VOR capabilities, with a 3.8-inch (diagonal), 256-color moving-map display, and sells for $11,995.