Availability impact on GPS aviation due to strong ionospheric scintillation

Jiwon Seo, Todd Walter, Per Enge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Strong ionospheric scintillation due to electron density irregularities inside the ionosphere is commonly observed in the equatorial region during solar maxima. Strong amplitude scintillation causes deep and frequent Global Positioning System (GPS) signal fading. Since GPS receivers lose carrier tracking lock at deep signal fading and the lost channel cannot be used for the position solution until reacquired, ionospheric scintillation is a major concern for GPS aviation in the equatorial area. Frequent signal fading also causes frequent reset of the carrier smoothing filter in aviation receivers. This leads to higher noise levels on the pseudo-range measurements. Aviation availability during a severe scintillation period observed using data from the previous solar maximum is analyzed. The effects from satellite loss due to deep fading and shortened carrier smoothing time are considered. Availability results for both vertical and horizontal navigation during the severe scintillation are illustrated. Finally, a modification to the upper bound of the allowed reacquisition time for the current Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) is recommended based on the availability analysis results and observed performance of a certified WAAS receiver.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5937276
Pages (from-to)1963-1973
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) CRDA 08-G-007.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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