Rich Sugden's GPS Approach Diary

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The whole, sordid tale of the Driggs ID GPS approach for students of bureaucratic inertia and gluttons for punishment. Others proceed at your own risk. A special supplement to "The Saga of the Driggs (Idaho) GPS Approach."

The Cast of Characters


  • FAAANM-220 (SEA) Flight Procedures Office
    Vic Zembrusky (206-227-2224,

  • AVN-120 OKC GPS Program Development
    Bill Henderson (M) (405-954-6454)
    Al Mostello (405-954-4548)
    Don Harmer (405-954-6454)
    Melissa Graffigna (405-954-5296)

  • AFS-440 OKC (Departure) Criteria Development
    Lyle Wink (M) (405-954-5904)
    Jim Nixon
    Dave Eckels (405-954-5852)

  • FICO SAC - Flight Check
    Jerry Hampleman (916-566-7486)
    Scott Thompson

  • FICO OKC - Flight Check
    Charlie Peters (405-954-9798)
    Jim Huntington (405-954-9810, -9789)

  • ANM-500 Air Traffic (Manages ANM-530 below)
    Helen Parke (M) (425-227-2500)

  • ANM-530 SEA Air Traffic Control
    George Orr (M) (206-227-2507, -2530)
    James Riley

  • ANM-103N National Resource Specialist Branch - SEA
    James Treacy (425-227-2760
    Peter Skaves (

  • Flight Standards - SEA Office
    John Chapman (425-227-2221)

  • Flight Standards - BOI Office
    John Goostrey (208-334-1238 x225)

  • ANM-7 SEA ARTCC Legal
    Richard McCurdy (425-227-2162)

    Switchboard (801-320-2000)
    Airspace & Procedures - airspace legal designation
    Arnold Bosley (M) (801-320-2530)
    Bob Fairchild (U59)
    Ted Fisher (801-320-2534)
    Jim Murray
    Paul Brophy (801-320-2567)

  • AFS-400 Technical Programs Division (D.C.) (202-267-3720)
    James Enias (202-267-7211 and 800-842-8736 x77208

  • AFS-420 Flight Standards D.C. Office
    Paul Best (202-267-3737

  • AFS-450 Standards Development OKC
    Carl Moore (mgr)
    Steve Jackson (405-954-6899

  • AGC-230 (DC) General Counsel office
    Patricia Lane (M) (202-267-3073)
    LoraLee Peter (202-267-3073, -3915)
    Carol Johnson 202-267-3132 (docket office clerk)

  • National Flight Data Center (NFDC, DC) (publish the approach)
    Ms Toni Tapscott (202-267-9299)
    Kim Dagger (202-267-9308)
    Ken Flueash (202-267-9293)

  • National Oceanic Survey Office (NOS)
    Pat Danks (301-713-2630)
    Charlie Wykoff (301-713-2630)

Other Feds

  • DOT Operator (202-366-4000)

  • White House (202-456-1414)

  • V.P. Gore's Office (202-456-2816)

The Avionics Companies

  • GarminGarmin Inc., Olathe KS
    Gary Burrell (President) (913-397-8448 x 1307)
    Bill Stone (VP Tech Support) (913-397-8448 x 1342)
    Clay Barber (database) (913-397-8448 x 1375)
    Doug Carlson (Dir. Flight Test, MIS) (913-397-8200)

  • AlliedSignal (Bendix/King)

  • Magellan Inc.

  • Northstar Inc.

  • RNAV Inc.

  • Trimble Inc.,
    Wayne McGrew (tech support) (800-487-4662
    Vince Valldeperas (marine tech support) (800-487-4662)
    Dave Reinhart (tech support) (512-432-0253)

  • Jeppesen
    Mick Archer (303-784-5423)
    Mark Besoche (303-784-4391)
    Del Smith


  • AOPA
    Doug Helton (301-695-2215)

The Saga

  • 7/15/96 - Spoke with Vic Zambrusky at the Seattle Flight Procedures office (ANM-220) regarding the status of the Driggs GPS approach, which has been in the planning stages for over a year. He says that the approach is imminent as far as he knows. It has been drafted and is ready to be published. He will check with the FAA office in Oklahoma City preparing the approach.

  • 7/16/96 - Mr. Zambrusky called back and there is a delay in approving the approach because it is a free-standing GPS approach, and there are no "departure criteria" for a GPS instrument departure, that doesn't rely on other navaids at the airport. He advises me to contact Bill Henderson at AVN-120 in Oklahoma city, which is the GPS Program Development office.

  • 7/16/96 - Spoke with Mr. Henderson, and he advises that indeed the "departure criteria" are holding up the approach, which is otherwise ready to be published. He suggests that I contact Lyle Wink, the manager of AFS-440 in Oklahoma City, which is the office developing the "departure criteria".

  • 7/16/96 - Lyle Wink is unavailable, so I spoke with Dave Eckels at AFS-440 and he says that the "departure criteria" are being developed, but that it is going to take about 6 months to come up with approved criteria. He explains that after the FAA agrees on suitable criteria that the criteria will be circulated among numerous industry, general aviation, commercial and airline aviation, military and foreign organizations for comment — then they will probably be revised and recirculated again, until the final format is agreed upon. No, they will not approve an approach into an airport without an IFR departure. No, they will not approve a departure that simply follows the missed approach. No, they will not approve a "VFR" segment, or "must maintain own terrain clearance" departure. I asked if there was anything we could do to accelerate the process, and he said, emphatically, that we should not get our congressmen involved because it would only confuse and slow down the process. I agreed to be patient, but informed him that I would be calling back monthly to check on the progress of the criteria development process.

  • 8/13/96 - Spoke with Mr Wink at AFS-440 and "things are on track" and he sees no unexpected delays. Again asked why it took so long to simply define how departures would be designed, since the approach criteria should be much more restrictive, and they had already been approved. Long litany of bureaucratic steps followed. He echoed Mr. Eckels' opinion that there were no other options for getting the approach approved without going through the full "departure criteria" development process.

  • 9/9/96 - Spoke with Dave Eckels at AFS-440 and he reassured me that the "departure criteria" development was in progress and going smoothly.

  • 11/18/96 - Spoke with Mr. Eckels and was again advised that the "departure criteria" were progressing through the development process "without a hitch so far."

  • 12/16/96 - Mr. Eckels advises that there are some "stumbling blocks within some committees" in the FAA and there may be some delays beyond the original 6 month estimate. Asks me to call back next month.

  • 2/26/97 - Dave Eckels tells me that the FAA (?) has not been able to agree on "several" items in the "departure criteria", they have not been sent outside the FAA for any comment yet, and that "we're essentially going to have to start over" — another 6-7 months will be necessary to get the criteria developed "he hopes!". I expressed my frustration and disappointment that AFS-440 could not get the "departure criteria" developed and approved in seven months, and advised him that I was going to try to recruit some political pressure now to get the approach approved. He didn't seem to particularly care and again told me that "it was not unusual to have to wait this long, or longer". He did mention that one of the things that was holding up the process was a request from VP Gore to get the departure criteria for a stand-alone GPS approach at Soldotna, Alaska approved ASAP.

  • 3/1/97 - Sent Internet email to VP Gore, all Wyoming and Idaho Senators and Representatives ref. dilemma with GPS approach at Driggs. Specifically asked VP Gore to include us along with Soldotna, AK in his request for action by the FAA.

  • 4/18/97 - Spoke w. Vic Zambrusky (206-227-2224) at the Seattle FSDO and he confirms that VP Gore has instructed Flight Standards in Washington DC to expedite the Soldotna AK and Driggs GPS approaches. Mr. Zambrusky spoke with Melissa Graffigna at AVN-120 in Oklahoma City, and she is drafting the approach.

  • 4/18/97 - Called Ms. Graffigna, and apparently the original approach, due to be approved 7/96 was a straight-in Runway 21 approach with seven step-downs over the mountains. She has redrawn the approach to begin with IAF west of SABAT on V298 to LAMON, then south with a small dog-leg at Tetonia FAF. Missed approach will be a right turn teardrop back to one of the intermediate fixes. MDA is to be ~600 agl. She mentioned that Air Traffic was asking for the approach ASAP. I offered to do anything I could to help with the design of the approach, being familiar with the area/terrain. She said that if I was a plastic surgeon, maybe I could offer some services in exchange (humorously). I mentioned that, as a family physician, I could only offer a free pap smear (humorously!). Asked if we could get a direct-line approach from LAMON intersection, and she will check with Supervisor, Al Mostello. I should call back 4/21/97.

  • 4/21/97 - Called Melissa Graffigna, and approach will have to be as drawn. Direct-line approach would have missed TERPS approach polygon intersecting terrain SW of Driggs and would require additional 400' added to MDA. Should finish drawing within 48 hours and send to QC, Flight Check and Air Traffic in Seattle. Also spoke with her supervisor, Al Mostello, who expressed distress that VP Gore was putting pressure on their office for a particular approach. He did not feel that seven months was excessive to get the 'departure criteria' out of the FAA, and had lots of bureaucratic reasons for the delay(s). Discussed 'Direct Rule' for airspace allocation (need Class E for the airport plus a pocket around the IAF and intermediate fixes), where ARTCC is allowed to allocate the airspace if there is no adverse public comment from the airspace designation process. Said he would call to see if Seattle ARTCC had already assigned the airspace when the approach was to be released last summer. Could be up to eight month further delay if not! Also, I should know that my comment about donating a pap smear could be taken seriously as sex descrimination. I told him that the comment was made in jest, and Melissa's comment about plastic surgery was what prompted my answer in the first place......he doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor!

  • 4/21/97 - Al Mostello called back from AVN-120 and said that it looked like the airspace had already been allocated. He will check for sure and call back again.

  • 4/23/97 - Gus Boyd from Driggs called. He had spoken with Bill Henderson, manager of AVN-120 and the approach drawing had been finished and forwarded, flight check was scheduled, and the approach should be released mid-July — in time for the FAA fly-in!!

  • 4/28/97 - Gus Boyd talked to Bill Henderson again, and it looks like the airspace has not been designated yet, and that may cause a long delay (6 - 8 months!!). I called Mr. Henderson, and he assured me that the approach would be out of their office within a few days, but I should expect a long delay waiting for the airspace designation, which HAD NOT been done when the original approach had been designed.

  • 4/29/97 - No answer at Al Mostello's office in AVN-120.

  • 4/29/97 - Spoke with Jim Riley at Seattle Air Traffic, ANM-530 who confirmed that no airspace had been designated Class E for the Driggs approach, because the departure had never been designed back in July, 1996. Also, he said that after the airspace was described in legal format by Salt Lake ARTCC, it would be recommended by ANM-530 to the General Counsel's office (AGC-230) in Washington DC, who would come up with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, post it in the Federal Register, wait for public comment, send it back through the loop for changes, repost it (read loop-loop-etc...) then draft the final airspace designation rule, and then forward the package to the National Flight Data Center (NFDC or ATA-100) to have the approach published at the next charting cycle (every 3 months). He thought the entire process would take 8-10 months. He was not familiar with the "Direct to Final Rule, with comment" process — and generally was quite pessimistic, blunt and not very helpful. He said George Orr, his supervisor, was the one to speak with, and I asked if he would please ask Mr. Orr to call.

  • 4/29/97 - George Orr called back from ANM-530 and said that the "Direct to Final Rule" process (skipping all the NPRM input - change - input - change delay) might be feasible, but every time he had recommended it to the General Counsel's office (AGC-230) it had been turned down. East of the Mississippi everything down to 1,250 ft. is designated as controlled airspace, so approaches there do not have to wait for airspace designation. Everything west of the Mississippi, however, has to go through the designation process. He was very optimistic, positive and helpful, and I thanked him for his attitude. He said "I just started in this position, so I haven't had time to get pessimistic yet". After the airspace is legally described by Salt Lake ARTCC, his office will forward the approach packet to the Airspace and Air Traffic Rules Branch (AGC-230) of the General Counsel's office in Wash. DC for approval. He said he would recommend a "Direct to Final Rule, with public comment", but that Patricia Lane, the manager of that branch, would have the final say. He gave me her phone number so I could inquire about the philosophy behind the "Direct to Final Rule" process.

  • 4/29/97 - Patricia Lane's phone extension doesn't exist, and I'm referred to the DOT operator, who connects me to the "alternate number" (267-3915), where I get a gentleman who refers me to the acting manager of AGC-230, LoraLee Peter. He transfers me, but I wind up back in the FAA computerized answering system, which says "Good day..." and hangs up. Back to the DOT operator, who tells me that she does not have any extension for LoraLee Peter anywhere in the FAA. She gets me back to the main number for AGC-230 (267-3222), where I'm informed that LoraLee Peter just married and her maiden name is still in the phone books. Finally, I get through to Ms. Peter. Ms. Peter advises me that she is just filling in for Patricia Lane, but that she is familiar with the airspace designation process. She thinks that the "Direct to Final Rule, with comment" process might be feasible, but the fact that new Class E airspace must be designated might require the full NPRM process. I should know, however, that for the past year the airspace designation process has been delegated to the Regional Air Traffic offices, and Mr. Orr should be able to make the "Direct to Final Rule..." decision, in conjunction with the FAA Regional Counsel office in Seattle. If they wished, they could consult with the General Counsel office in Wash. DC. The "docket" for the proposed approaches is in the General Counsel office, but they are prepared by the regional offices, and the General Counsel office does not have to be involved.

  • 4/29/97 - Called George Orr back at ANM-530 to let him know what Ms. Peter said about the "Direct to Final Rule..." process — that his office, in conjunction with the Regional Counsel office, could perform the final approval of the "Direct to Final Rule" process — and he sounded much more pessimistic this time. He said he would keep me posted, but it didn't sound like I had made much progress, or convinced him that his office had the final say to avoid the NPRM loop delay.

  • 4/29/97 - Called Washington DC and got the White House phone number, (202) 456-1414. The male operator, with an ominous tone to his voice, was reluctant to put me through to Vice President's Gore's office until I had gone through quite a few details of the saga, but finally put me through to their voice-mail, where I left a message asking for one of the staffers to call back ref. another potential delay in getting the GPS approach approved. Waiting.....

  • 4/30/97 - Spoke with Vic Zambrusky at ANM-220 in Seattle ref. conflict between Mr. Orr at ANM-530 in Seattle and LoraLee Peter at the AGC-230 General Counsel's office in Washington regarding the "Direct to Final Rule" process. Mr. Zambrusky had also heard that Mr. Orr's office was not going to propose the "Direct to Final Rule" process. Vic suggested I contact Mr. Orr's supervisor, Helen Parke at ANM-500 in Seattle (425-227-2500) and ask her to help resolve the conflict. Vic also advised that we would need an approved altimeter system, or AWOS-1, for the local altimeter setting before the approach would be authorized. He recommended an Airport Improvement Grant for funds for the AWOS-1 (or 2,3) or asking our congressmen to append the request for funds for Drigg's AWOS directly on the FAA appropriations bill from Congress. He is going to fax the details of the dual-altimeter installation directly to Teton Aviation.

  • 5/5/97 - Called Helen Parke with ANM-500 in Seattle, George Orr's supervisor, and described the dilemma of Mr. Orr's comments regarding the "Direct to Final Rule" process and LoraLee Peter's statements regarding the General Counsel's role — that the process could be approved, in conjunction with the Regional Counsel's office in Seattle. She said she would discuss the matter with Mr. Orr and get back to me with an update.

  • 5/5/97 - Spoke with Vice President Gore's office, through the Press Corp's office, and they are going to try to find the staffer that was involved with my original email request for assistance, and get back to me. Their direct phone number is: (202) 456-2816.

  • 5/5/97 - George Orr called back ref. discussion with Helen Parke earlier today, and he has confirmed that the "Direct to Final Rule" process can, indeed, be initiated out of the Seattle office and he is proceeding in that direction. He did want me to know that after the notice in the Federal Register if there are any adverse comments he will have to restart the NPRM process, which might take even longer. His office has received the drawing of the approach and has forwarded it to SLC ARTCC for their legal description and their evaluation ref. any impact on the IFR environment. He will call me back next week with a progress report.

  • 5/5/97 - Tried to reach someone at the Airspace and Procedures office at the Salt Lake City ARTCC — but all the Airspace staff are out. Paul Brophy, of another office, suggested I call Arnold Bosley (801-320-2530) who is the manager of the office for updates. Bob Fairchild is the person who will be doing the Driggs airspace specifications. Mr Brophy thought it would take 10 - 14 days to get the description back to Seattle.

  • 5/13/97 - Spoke with Arnold Bosley at SLC ARTCC and he expects to be done with the airspace description by the end of the week and have it back to the Seattle office by next week.

  • 6/3/97 - Returning from Sandpoint this afternoon, overheard an FAA Flight Check flight inspecting the Dubois VOR. Asked them about getting our GPS approach checked and they advised that they were not equipped for GPS flight checks. We should call the FICO office in Oklahoma City to check on the schedule.

  • 6/5/97 - Contacted FICO (Flight Inspection Central Operations), Charlie Peters, in Oklahoma City (405-954-9798) to check on the scheduling of the Flight Check for our GPS Approach. Mr. Peters stated that his office could not start the flight check process until the approach had been completely approved and he had the "approach package". Also, he thought the Flight Check for our GPS was a moot point because "no controllers were clearing pilots for stand-alone GPS approaches. I told him I would

  • 6/6/97 - Talked with George Orr at ANM-530 (SEA ARTCC) regarding the airspace designation, and he indicated that the SEA ARTCC Legal Office (ANM-7) had forwarded the Airspace Docket #97-ANM6 to AGC-630 General Council's Office in Washington for publishing in the Federal Register, requesting Direct to Final Rule, with public comment — to be received by 8/15/97, with a publish date of 11/1/97.

  • 6/6/97 - Spoke with Carol Johnson, the docket clerk in AGC-630 (202-267-3132), and she has Airspace Docket #97-ANM6, but it is missing Richard McCurdy's original signature from ANM-7, the Legal Office at SEA ARTCC. After she receives his original signature the Docket will be published in the Federal Register 4 days later.

  • 6/6/97 - Called Mr. McCurdy's office at SEA ARTCC Legal Office, and he is away on vacation until 6/9/97. Left a message on his voice mail asking him to contact Ms Johnson at AGC-630, when he returns, to arrange to send a signed docket so that it can be published.

  • 6/6/97 - Called SLC ARTCC (801-320-2000) and spoke with Scott Jorgenson in the Procedures Office regarding whether or not ATC was clearing pilots for stand-alone GPS approaches (see conversation with Charlie Peters at FICO yesterday) and he assured me that they were being cleared, and that he had personally cleared pilots for the stand-alone approaches at Ely and Tonopah.

  • 6/6/97 - Tried to reach Charlie Peters at FICO ref. the above, but he has taken Friday afternoon off. Spoke with Steve Slezicki, the Procedures Representative at FICO and he informed me that they had received our approach package, #542, yesterday and had faxed a request for Flight Check to Sacramento, and it is scheduled to happen June 9th — Monday!!! If the pilot approves the approach it will be sent to NFDC in Washington, awaiting the airspace approval process via the Federal Register, public comment and George Orr at ANM-520.

  • 6/17/97 - Spoke with Carol Johnson, the docket clerk in AGC-630, and our docket (#97-ANM6) is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register today.

  • 6/17/97 - Called NDFC to get the IAP publication dates, and spoke with Kim Dagger (202-267-9308). The dates are as follows, with Change Order dates indicated with (C), and cutoff dates for receipt of the approach procedure packet also indicated. There is a drop-dead date for changes at 30 days prior to the publication dates, for AVN-120 to make any last-minute changes.













    AVN-120 can submit a "proposed" procedure packet for the cartographers to start working on for final publication if there are "no changes to the enroute structure", and a new procedure can be published at a Change Notice time if there are no changes to the enroute structure — otherwise the approach must wait for a normal publication date. NDFC receives the "approach packet" from Mr. Henderson's office at AVN-120.

  • 6/17/97 - Spoke with Bill Henderson at AVN-120 and he indicated that he did not see any way to have the approach published earlier than 11/6/97, since there is a 30 day waiting period after the public comment period ends on 8/15/97 before the airspace can be finally approved. He is going to send in the "proposed approach" packet to NDFC within the next two weeks so they can start working on the chart drawings. And waiting...

  • 7/15/97 Received an email from Nina Smuckler, ( Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Helen Chenoweth, from Idaho, who had received a copy of my original email to V.P. Gore. She had been unable, to date, to find out anything about the GPS approach at Driggs — 4 months since she had received the email!! Amazing! Replied to the email, asking her to contact George Orr's office in ANM-530, in Seattle ARTCC asking that our approach be approved without undue delay.

  • 10/2/97 - Spoke with George Orr at SEA ARTCC, and he informed me that their office received no public comment by 9/9/97, hand-carried the file to NFDC office requesting the approach be published under the final-rule process, and he expects it to be published the first week of November, 1997 !!!!!!!

  • 10/6/97 - Called Kim Dagger's office at NADC to see if we could get a copy of the approach faxed to Driggs so we could begin some training before the approach is published next month. She was out, and I was referred to Charlie Wykoff, who said that the approach was at NOS and that I should call Pat Danks at (301) 713-2630. She was out and I was referred to Charlie Wykoff (301) 713-2962, who said he would look into getting us a copy of the approach.

  • 10/10/97 - Never heard from Mr. Wykoff, so called Ms. Danks at NOS again. She said that she would not have a copy of the approach until 2 weeks prior to the publish date, and I should call back then if I still wanted a copy for training. No, she did not know if any other office might have a copy of the approach procedure.

  • 10/27/97 - Called Ms. Danks at NOS back, and she "did not come in today", and so was referred to Bill Maynard, who said he would look into getting us a copy of the approach. Left my number, both phone and fax, and asked if he would let me know if the approach drawing was being sent. It is now 10 days from the publishing date and we still haven't seen the proposed approach procedure!

  • 10/27/97 A fax copy of the GPS-A approach at Driggs arrived!! — Unfortunately, there are no lat/long's on any of the interections, so we cannot practice the approach until it's published. Also, the missed approach climb altitude, which is back to the first waypoint on the approx. straight-in approach, is 15,000 feet! Called AVN-120, who designed the approach, and spoke with Don Harmer, because Bill Henderson was out. He would not release the lat/long. coordinates because of concerns about "someone plugging in the wrong coordinates, even VFR"!! He mentioned that the coordinates of all the waypoints/intersections were available in the National Flight Data Directory (NFDD), which is published weekly. He suggested contacting Jeppesen & Co. to see if they would furnish the coordinates. As for the missed approach climb altitude, he suggested contacting the local ARTCC (Seattle) office and requesting a change to the approach procedure.

  • 10/27/97 - Called for Vic Zambrusky at ANM-220 in Seattle to discuss getting the 15,000 missed approach altitude revised, and to see if he could give me the lat./long.'s for the waypoints, but got his answering machine.....left a message.

  • 10/27/97 - George Orr, from ANM-530 in Seattle called (I thought returning Vic Zambrusky's message — but he said their offices were widely separate and his secretary had indicate that I'd called — ??). He didn't have the lat./long. coordinates and said that he would have Mr. Zambrusky return my call regarding the missed approach altitude. He didn't have any idea where the message to call me had originated??

  • 10/27/97 - Called Jeppeson Inc. in Denver and their data office provided the lat./long. coordinates for PIKEQ (N43 56.7 W111 08.5) TIHQI (N43 49.5 W111 05.8) and DIGUQ (N43 44.9 W111 05.9) waypoints.

  • 11/3/97 - The November 6th revision of my NOS approach charts contains the GPS approach for U59, albeit with a missed approach altitude that is a little unreasonable. Also, the departure calls for doglegs to two waypoints that are not defined in the approach chart manual, (should be in the electronic databases) and then to LAMON. Called Vic Zambrusky to ask about the missed approach altitude and he said that his office has already contacted Melissa Grafigna at AVN-120 to see if the altitude can be lowered. Finally!!

  • 11/7/97 - Well, it's a beautiful day for flying at Driggs, and we're about to shoot the GPS approach for the first time. We have inserted our latest Jeppesen NavData card, that arrived yesterday, into our Garmin GPS-165, cranked up the plane, and taxiing out to the runway are looking for the Driggs GPS-A approach —- and (*&&^$%%$#*&*(*& it is not there!!! The unique GPS waypoints for the apprach are there, but the approach does not show up on the "Route" page, and none can be selected for the airport!! Since we're already running, and it's such a nice day, we hand-loaded the lat./long.'s for each waypoint and shot the approach anyway. It's a pretty good approach, but I still do not know why the FAA had to put a dog-leg in the approach 5 miles from the runway, nor specify a missed approach climb altitude of 15,000 ft. to the same IAF waypoint that calls for 10,000 ft. on the approach.

  • 11/7/97 - Called Tech. Support at Garmin and spoke with Randy, who indicated that our GPS receivers did not have the latest software that would support stand-alone approaches. Ours, supposedly, would only recognize GPS overlay approaches. We pulled all three of our Garmin GPS receivers and FedEx'd them to Garmin for the software updates.

  • 11/10/97 - Randy called from Garmin and said the receivers had arrived, the software updates had been installed, but the Driggs GPS approach was not on the datacards. This seems strange, since the unique waypoints for just this approach are on the cards. He said he would call Jeppesen and find out what gives. The GPS receivers have been modified and are enroute back to Driggs.

  • 11/11/97 - Haven't heard from Randy at Garmin, so called again and left a message on his voice mail "because he's on another line" regarding the missing Driggs approach on the Jeppesen NavData card.

  • 11/12/97 - Still haven't heard from Randy at Garmin, so called again and found him in. He was unable to get hold of Jeppesen, but had left several messages. I told him I would try.

  • 11/12/97 - Called Jeppesen in Denver and, after going though several answering machines, phone mail slots, and a couple of operators, finally got through to Mick Archer (303) 784-5423. He checked the database and found the waypoints, but the approach was not stored, as such. Further checking revealed that "Garmin told us not to include any GPS circling approaches" in the data supplied to them for their NavData cards. The Driggs approach, since it does not line up directly with the runway(s) is labeled a "GPS-A", or circling approach. He suggested that I contact Clay Barber at Garmin, who apparently receives the data from Jeppesen.

  • 11/12/97 - Called Clay Barber at Garmin (913) 397-8448 ext. 1375 and he explained that at the time Garmin designed the GPS receivers they never anticipated that there would be any GPS circling approaches (now there are 37 in the U.S.) and therefor there is no "data type" in the software to accept that "type" of approach. He suggested that I contact the head of tech. support, Bill Stone (ext. 1342), or the President, Gary Burrell (ext. 1307) to see what could be done about this policy.

  • 11/12/97 - I was unable to get through to Mr. Burrell ("unavailable, according to his secretary) but I did speak with Bill Stone. He again explained the "data type" problem, but didn't have any idea when they might start supporting the circling GPS approach. I explained how important this fact was to our airport, and he said he would call me with that information. He suggested that if Jeppesen would supply the approach labeled with a runway number, like "GPS rwy 21", their receiver would process it correctly.

  • 11/12/97 - Called Mick Archer back at Jeppesen, but was only able to get his voice mail. Asked the operator for the Product Manager for the NavData division, who turns out to be Bill Kellog, but he is also "unavailable". Left messages for both to call to see if we can get the "data type" changed for the Driggs approach.

  • 11/12/97 - Called Vic Zambrusky at SEA ARTCC to see about some sort of letter from FAA to Jeppesen, authorizing them to re-label the approach as "Runway 3/21", but he was out. Left a message on his voice mail.

  • 11/12/97 - Called John Goostrey at the Boise FSDO to see if he knew of anyone at the FAA who would authorize Jeppesen to rename the approach. He didn't know of anyone offhand, but would look into it and get back to me.

  • 11/12/97 - Called Jeppesen back again, and spoke with Doug Rhomberg in NavData and he indicated that Jeppesen could re-label the approach with some FAA authorization (Form 8260 ?). He said he would be happy to coordinate the re-labeling with Garmin. I offered to call the other GPS manufacturers to see if others had the same problem with circling approaches. Doug indicated that the re-labeled approach could be directed only to Garmin, so it wouldn't confuse other manufacturers receivers.

  • 11/12/97 - Vic Zambrusky from SEA called back. He thought that the GPS circling approach problem had been solved by the manufacturers. He did not think it would be possible to get the FAA to authorize the relabeling of the approach, even though it would be relabeled only for the GPS receiver, and not for the approach plate, which would remain "GPS-A" — and that it would only be temporary until Garmin fixed the problem. He seemed most concerned that the other manufacturers would feel that Garmin was receiving some special consideration from the FAA!! — even after I pointed out all the effort that has gone into getting the approach published!! He gave me the name of the FAA National Avionics Resource Specialist, Jim Treacy, in Seattle (425) 227-2760 and said that he would have the information on which, if any, of the manufacturers did/did not support circling approaches. Mr Treacy was out, so left message on his voice mail. I hope all these folks that get voice mail from me do not call back at the same time!

  • 11/12/97 - Spoke with a technician at Allied Signal / King in Olathe (800) 257-0726 and he checked a KLN-90B on their bench and the Driggs GPS-A approach came up, including both IAF's.

  • 11/12/97 - Talked with Brian at Trimble technical support, and one of their units did not show the Driggs GPS approach, but the Data card was outdated. Wayne McGrew in tech. support is going to check the unit with a new card and get back to me. Northstar Avionics in Acton, MA (800) 628-4487 has closed for the day.

  • 11/12/97 - Brian Stone with Garmin called back and we had a conference call with Rulon Horsley at American Avionics regarding the limitations of the Garmin units with GPS circling approaches. In essence, Mr. Stone said that Garmin engineering was looking at the problem but their memory space was limited and he did not know if they would ever support the circling approach in the GPS-155 or GPS-165, though they could support them right now if they were labeled with a runway number. He did not think they could be labeled with an alpha character like "A", however.

  • 11/12/97 - Wayne McGrew with Trimble Tech Support called back and neither their Model 2000 Approach nor the Model 2101 IO GPS receivers were able to call up the Driggs GPS approach, though they both had the waypoints in their data cards. He does not think the Trimble GPS units are able to handle circling GPS approaches. He suggested contacting Sue Caldwell in Engineering about their databases and software.

  • 11/19/97 - Called Gary Burrell, President of Garmin (800-800-1020 x1307) to inquire about the status of fixing their GPS receivers to accept circling GPS approaches. He was unavailable and left message on his voice mail. Bill Stone with Technical Support returned the call, and had no new information. He "thinks" Garmin can make the software changes, but will not commit to any time estimate — only that it will be "several months to a year".

  • 11/19/97 - Talked to tech. support at Northstar, and one of their technicians brought up Driggs on their M-3 GPS unit, and it supports the GPS-A approach. Sent an email to AVweb on Internet to point out the problem with Trimble and Garmin, to see if they had any suggestions.

  • 11/19/97 - Tried to reach Jim Treacy at the Seattle FAA avionics office, but he is still out of town. Left another message on his voice mail.

  • 11/19/97 - Called AVN-120 in Oklahoma City to speak with Bill Henderson. He is out of the office, and spoke with Don Harmer about who might authorize Jeppesen to relabel the NavData card data. He was pretty pessimistic, and said it would have to come from an office "much higher". He suggested contacting John Chapman at the Seattle Flight Standards office (425-227-2221), or Paul Best at the Washington DC office (202-267-3737). Tried John Chapman in Seattle, but he is out of the office. Left a voice mail message.

  • 11/20/97 - Called Paul Best at the Washington Flight Standards office, and he referred me to Steve Jackson at the Oklahoma AFS-450 Standards Development Office. I explained the problem with the GPS-A circling approach label for Garmin and Trimble, and he echoed the same concerns about "I don't know if we can relabel a circling approach as a GPS-rwy03, since that implies the approach is straight-in", even though I carefully pointed out that the printed approach plate would be unchanged, and could even contain a note that the approach might be temporarily selected in some GPS receivers as a "runway xx" approach. He is going to check with some other people in his office and get back to me. Also, he suggested that I explain the problem to AOPA, who are working with the manufacturers and FAA to encourage standardization.

  • 11/20/97 - Talked to Dave Reinhart at Trimble technical support, and he does not know why their 2000 Approach, and 2102 IO GPS units do not support circling GPS approaches. I explained that if Trimble and Garmin had a common problem with the approaches, the relabeling solution would work for both. He is going to check with engineering to find out, and then call back.

  • 11/20/97 - Steve Jackson with AFS-450 called back and asked how recently I had spoken with Garmin. He thought that Jeppesen had conveyed a "fix" to the GPS manufacturers for the circling approach problem several months previously. He had spoken with Del Smith at Jeppesen and they were looking for a solution.

  • 11/20/97 - Called Del Smith at Jeppesen and he indicated that the data that they send to King contains the GPS circling approach datatype. He does not know if King modifies the datatype to make it recognizable by their GPS receivers. We have passed the deadline for the December data update. Now, Jeppesen needs authorization to relabel the GPS approach by 12/12/97 in order for it to be incorporated into the NavData database card for the 1/1/98 release date.

  • 11/20/97 - Spoke with technical support at AlliedSignal / King and they indicated that they made no changes to the data as supplied by Jeppesen. They used the datatype supplied by Jeppesen to describe the circling GPS approach.

  • 11/20/97 - John Chapman called from the Seattle Flight Standards office. He does not know why Don Harmer with AVN-120 referred us because he only deals with airline matters. He thought that we would have to have approval from the Technical Programs Division, AFS-400, in Washington to get the approach relabeled. He thought that we would have to put everything in writing for them to consider any action. He supplied their address but did not know the manager's name:

    • Federal Aviation Administration
      Technical Programs Division, AFS-400
      800 Independence Ave.
      Washington, D.C. 20591
      (202) 267-3720

  • 11/20/97 - Dave Reinhart from Trimble called back and said that his software engineers told him that Jeppesen had taken out the GPS-A approach descriptions because there was not enough room on their NavData card — and that their units would recognize the approaches when Jeppesen put the descriptions back in — ??

  • 11/20/97 - Called Mick Archer at Jeppesen to see if, indeed, they had removed the GPS-A approaches from the Trimble cards due to space constraints. Left a message on his voice mail.

  • 11/24/97 - Talked to Mick Archer at Jeppesen, and he was able to determine that one (of many) data files that Jeppesen extracted for them ( contained data for stand-alone and circling GPS approaches. Trimble runs the Jeppesen data through their own packing software that likely strips out the circling approaches (or their receivers just do not support them, like Garmins).

  • 11/24/97 - Spoke with Steve Jackson at AFS-450 and he had heard from Jeppesen that the Garmin engineers had called asking about possible data formats for the stand-alone circling GPS approaches, so he was encouraged that the problem might be fixable without relabeling the approach in the NavData cards.

  • 11/24/97 - Called Gary Burrell, President of Garmin, again to see if he would intervene in the software rewrite that would be necessary to recognize the GPS circling approaches. Unavailable and left a message on his email.

  • 11/25/97 - Doug Carlson, Garmin's Director of Flight Test, MIS and MRP, called back for their president, Gary Burrel, because "he has been really busy these past few weeks". He reiterated that the reason that Garmin's GPS receivers would not recognize the "GPS A" circling approach was because the FAA had assurred Garmin that there would only be straight-in GPS approaches. He indicated that he "knew" that the software would not accept any datalabel other than those for the approved approaches (possible interim fix) and was resistant to checking with their software engineers to see if any alternate labels might get through the packing software or the GPS receiver software parsing routines. He also stated that any software change would require a 20,000 page "Fault Tolerance Specification Test - #DO-178) that could take months to accomplish — all this just to get the receiver to recognize "GPS A" rather than "GPS rwy21"! Difficult to believe. He is going to call me back next week to let me know if they have any timeline for the proposed software fix.

  • 11/25/97 - John Goostrey from the Boise FSDO called and he had spoken to ANM-530 in Seattle, who indicated that they had gotten the approach approved, but didn't have any notion of what to do ref. the problem with particular GPS receivers.

  • 11/25/97 - Jim Treacy with ANM-103N (National Resource Specialist Branch - involved with GPS hardware) called back. He did confirm that if Garmin makes changes to the operating firmware in the GPS receiver they will have to do the Software Fault Tolerance tests, though it is not as extensive as Doug Carlson from Garmin indicated. We discussed multiple options for an interim solution until Garmin can fix the software, and Mr. Treacy favored relabeling the approach with "VOR-A", and then making the phantom VOR essentially continually out of service — which would accomplish the same thing. He is going to look into the options and get back to me. It's wonderful to talk to someone who looks for solutions and not obstacles!

  • 11/25/97 - John Goostrey (Boise FSDO) called back and their office had checked with several GPS manufacturers and had determined that Appolo supported the approach, Magellan was checking, and "Wayne" at Trimble told them that he could "talk me through" how to get the Garmin GPS to work at Driggs - ??

  • 11/25/97 - Unable to reach Wayne Valldeperas at Trimble tech. support, so called Dave Reinhart in tech. support and found out that Wayne is a marine tech. rep. (!) and Dave doesn't have a clue what he might be talking about. Dave has found out that the trimble.word data card from Jeppesen does contain the Driggs GPS approach and it does work on their Model 2101 IO GPS. He said that he doesn't know why "Jeppesen removed the GPS-A approaches from their other data cards", but they have been instructed to replace them at the next revision date.

  • 11/26/97 - Received a c.c. of Jim Treacy's email to several FAA offices concerning our plight at Driggs. He asked for comments on several possible solutions, including my rec. to relabel the approach as "GPS-rwy21"; his suggestion to relabel the approach as a "VOR-A GPS" approach, with the VOR notamed as "out-of-service" indefinitely; or create a Special Approach Procedure" for Driggs using the Jeppesen NavData data. He has asked Peter Skaves in his office to follow-up on this issue while he is out of the office until 1/5/97.

  • 12/1/97 - Received the following follow-up email from Mr. Treacy: "New Information: I spoke with Bill Stone at Garmin today; he told me that the Garmin 155 and 165 GPS receivers are capable of recognizing a VOR circling approach. A VOR/GPS circling approach comes out of the data base as a VOR circling approach. If we were to merely change the designation of the GPS A approach to VOR/GPS A, without any information associated with a VOR, the approach would be displayed by the receiver as a VOR A approach. Bill did not know if the Garmin receivers can operate from a special approach procedure as opposed to a public procedure. He will call back with the information and leave it with Pete Skaves if I'm out of the office. The solution that Les Bervin and I prefer, is to issue a special VOR/GPS circling approach procedure with a note indicating that there is no VOR and the approach can only be flown using the GPS."

  • 12/1/97 - Sent an email reply to Jim Treacy and Peter Skaves, thanking them for their assistance, and inquiring whether or not they thought we could make the 12/6 deadline for the NavData and IAP 1/1/98 publication date.

  • 12/1/97 Spoke with Peter Skaves in Seattle Flight Standards, and he said that Jim Enias ("Ennis") at AFS-400 in Washington, D.C. was going to effect the changes necessary to get the approach relabeled, or otherwise revised so it will work with the Garmin receivers - pending revision of the software by Garmin. Called Mr. Enias but he was on the phone - left message on his email.