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FAA Urges Pilots to Rely on Traditional Navigation Amid Rising GPS Spoofing Threats

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is cautioning pilots about the increasing threat of GPS spoofing, advising them to familiarize themselves with traditional navigational tools. GPS spoofing, a sophisticated form of interference, involves broadcasting false navigation signals to disrupt aircraft’s navigation systems, leading to potential off-course flights and endangering safety. (www.airguide.info) More...

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JJ7
JJ Johnson 45
LOL. People screamed from the mountaintops don't get rid of VOR or ILS systems. Keep them as a backup and in case the GPS fails or gets jammed or interfered with or we go to war and suddenly the GPS constellation is zapped in space. FAA management several years ago would not listen. Now here we are.
drjohn
John Mulvey 13
I was one of those people. If a VOR goes down I just need a worker with a truck and a box of tools. If a satellite goes down I need a worker with a spaceship, a pressure suit, and a box of tools (actually, they just launch another satellite . . . but still really pricey, and adds to space clutter.) Now we are all waiting for the FAA to go out and bring those VOR's back on line . . yeah, right. I learned a long time ago not to put all my navigational eggs in one basket; have always backed up GPS with VOR's. And I am always very disappointed to see how MANY VOR's are off line.
n555cf
rbt schaffer 7
Wait till they get single pilot and then SELF FLYING airplanes they keep rattling on about
ghstark
Greg S 9
VOR and ILS systems are also jammable and spoofable. Any RF-based system is.
JJ7
JJ Johnson 15
One runway. The ILS signal is thousands of times stronger than a GPS signal from space. One runway impacted vs. hundreds of square miles of jamming with GPS and multiple airports and enroute and terminal navigation.
ImRetired
Mark Walker 6
Good point. Always have a plan 'B'.
drjohn
John Mulvey 4
Agreed. These Navaids are much more granular and limited to regions. GPS is a surprisingly weak signal, but with enough Ooomph you can spoof anything, still only in a small area compared to GPS
bgratzl
Bill Gratzl 5
Everything can be vulnerable, but just makes sense to maintain backup systems
pottaway
P Ottaway 3
Correct. Just ask John McClain from Die Hard II when the bad guys altered the glide path to the airport his wife was landing. Scary moment!
stansdds
Exactly!
btweston
btweston -3
So maybe vote for some government capability, eh?
HarrySchluderberg
Harry Schluderberg 11
This Spoofing is attempted first degree Mass Muder. Anyone caught and found guilty should face the death penalty. Regardless of age, race, gender or nationality.
CarlT120
Carlyle Swofford 2
I agree with you.
dkenna
dkenna 0
“I cherish peace with all my heart. I don’t care how many men, women, and children I have to kill to get it.” -The Peacemaker
ewrcap
David Beattie 5
GPS didn’t really become standard til the nineties. All through the 60s to the 80s, 727s, 737s and DC-9s/MD80s had two VOR/ILSs and an ADF (used mostly to listen to ball games) but it also identified LOMs. Most FMS systems work fine with IRS and VOR/ILS DME. Maybe we should invest inPAR equipment. I think the military still has them, no?
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 4
As I stated in a different squawk about this very thing, the more we move forward technologically, the more we move backwards. I just recently read a story about how AT&T wants to stop using copper landlines for phone users. There are those who use such due to no available cell service or internet broadband service, or just do not want to use cell phone. The nice thing about copper landlines, they work if the power goes out and one has a phone that does not need a power brick to run. I still have an old phone that I can use with a copper line.

Old nav aids work and unless someone were to jam ever frequency available, it is doubtful that any specific ILS set-up will be jammed by any local idiot. Pilots may need to freshen up on how to use the "archaic" tools of the past to reach their intended destinations.
Bursk
Randall Bursk 4
Agree with Plan B comment. Have a series of backups if you fly Atlantic, Pacific, SA, etc. Learn to adjust.
c210dao
Daniel Oppenheim 3
Say it isn’t so. The FAA wants us to use 60 year old technology which almost everyone advised not to decommission in the first place. Pretty soon they’ll be recommending that we contact Mr. Sherman and the “wayback” machine and start using “di-dah, dah-dit” again.
Seahawkmjk
Mike Kennedy 3
The problem is we have eschewed using traditional methods of navigation! This risk applies to aircraft, vessels at sea and even folks trying to navigate in the back country. Imagine if they were to combine GPS spoofing with an outage like that we saw with AT&T this week, definitely a leave the world behind a scenario.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
People wonder why I still want a landline. While I do have phones that require a power brick to run, I still have an old one that does not need such and will always work, unless all the wires somewhere are brought down.
TedJohansen
Ted Johansen 3
I remember reading an article about rebuilding LORAN at least 10 years ago as a backup to GPS outage/failure. IS that not a feasible option?
JimHerman
Jim Herman 3
This is the major reason I have preferred INS. You can't jam it without blasting the entire aircraft with EMP, or so I have been told.
Sorak
Sorak 5
GPS spoofing rather than simple jamming is a high bar to cross in my opinion. Closer to state level of complexity. JAMMING is relatively easy. From space really isn't that far away, about 350 miles, and other mitigation can be used to protect GPS signals such as shieding the receiver so it can only get signals from above. Doing that will reduce the effect of terrestrial GPS interference.

I would suggest placing the receiver at the center of a 15 degree cone that is 2 metal layers with an insulator between them. The outer and inner layers are grounded separately through through shunt resistors which will prevent the highly directional outside signals from reaching the GPS receiver. Terrain usually blocks anything below 15 degrees on a ground-mounted GPS antenna anyways. On airplanes It really doesn't matter either, there is still a lot of sky available even with that exclusion.

It is much easier for a criminal to go after the low hanging fruit of other RF Signsls used in navigation such as ADSB. There is zero error or fact checking on the ADSB signal. All that requires is about 1000 dollars worth of equipment. Various Security researchers have been warning about this issue for 5 or more years certainly before Covid.

VOR are direction dependent there is no security on that signal either all that someone would need to there is similar to GPS jamming but from a different location. Your radio would track the stronger signal even if the actual VOR site was not taken offline, however that attack would be very easy to detect and locate.
ColinSeftel
Colin Seftel 6
GPS satellites actually fly at an altitude of approximately 12,550 miles, not 350 miles.
StevenBukosky
Steven Bukosky 2
I do geocaching with a handheld Garmin GPS receiver. You can identify the satellites that it can "see" and they orbit in and out of range. That is why there are so many of them. Three are required for a fix. The more seen, the better the accuracy.
data4unme
Fred Christensen 1
GEOSYNCHRONOUS Satellites...same transmitters we use for Television.
ColinSeftel
Colin Seftel 4
No GPS are not in geosynchronous orbit. That would have put them at an attitude of 26,200 miles.
ljcotnoir
Leo Cotnoir 4
Actually, 22,236 miles.
ColinSeftel
Colin Seftel 1
You are correct sir.
keithcaley
Keith Caley 5
As a 'layman', I had gained the impression that GPS spoofing was indeed the preserve of States, and was being used specifically in & around conflict zones for military or security purposes.
Are there verifiable instances of GPS spoofing by private individuals away from such areas?
JimHerman
Jim Herman 6
GPS spoofing was done in a James Bond movie, so it must be true!!!
keithcaley
Keith Caley 1
As no one has, so far on this thread, offered any concrete evidence about the prevalence or source of GPS spoofing, I did a little 'Googling'...
According to Forbes, the consensus seems to be that the majority of reported incidents are attributed to Russia - https://www.forbes.com/sites/erictegler/2024/01/31/gps-spoofing-is-now-affecting-airplanes-in-parts-of-europe/
onwardlam
Onward Lam 2
Use multiple "gps" (in lowercase) to crosscheck. The US one is not the only one in town (space).
druck13
druck13 1
The others can be spoofed too.
ljcotnoir
Leo Cotnoir 2
Perhaps commercial aircraft should be equipped with celestial nav systems as a backups. Star cameras are not all that complicated.
drjohn
John Mulvey 3
Funny you should mention that. when I started flying as a Flight Surgeon with C-130's we used to do that; the nav would take Cel shots through the Sextant port. I don't think I've seen that in at least a decade.
ljcotnoir
Leo Cotnoir 2
Missiles and many satellites are equipped with automated star cameras that can prove a navigational fix in seconds day or night. Obviously they do not work under cloud cover. I recall reading of research into using pulsars for stellar navigation in a GPS-denied environment.
swinkey58
Daniel Hagan 2
I thought the article would be about how, by what means, and what is Traditional Navigation. Not elaborate on the fact that incidents of gps spoofing are occurring. The title does not depict its own announcement.
wd73383
WD Rseven 2
This is going to be a major problem for many pilots - those who have become used to letting the avionics fly the airplane from takeoff to landing and hardly ever actually hand-fly the airplane anymore.
kfleming23188
kfleming23188 1
Is there anything those of us running a piaware ground site can or should be doing to mitigate?
druck13
druck13 3
I don't see how. Unless you want to get yourself a primary survielance radar and start cross checking the GPS coordinates coming back from ADBS.
n555cf
rbt schaffer 1
I was halfway down the glideslope at KPUB in a snowstorm once and the needles were absolutely pegged.... so I pulled up a bit and still peged... Popped out at LOC minimums... GS needle inop... Keep checking until it's tied down...
w1cavico
William Cavico -1
There is the low tech way of hanging a laser pointer from the cabin overhead. Aim it to the floor/deck and mark the spot when in straight and level flight. If you lose instruments watch the laser beam spot of the floor an bring it back to the straight and level mark you previously made. You can do the same with a laser distance measurement device and read the variation in distance it reads during straight and level flight to give you an idea of your deviation magnitude from a straight and level flight.

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