U.S. Navy exercise could disrupt GPS signals for pilots

U.S. Navy exercise could disrupt GPS signals for pilots

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Beginning Jan. 16 until next Friday, a U.S. Navy exercise off the Southeast Coast will potentially disrupt GPS signals, making them unreliable or unavailable altogether.

A notice was sent out by the Federal Aviation Administration at the beginning of the week letting pilots know they could have issues with their GPS systems that they sometimes rely on.

Those on the ground using devices that have GPS on them shouldn’t notice any disruptions. But 50 feet or higher, that’s when your Global Positioning System might have a problem.

For the instructors at Savannah Aviation, the disruption in GPS service doesn’t mean they can’t take to the skies.

“Having that backup of the GPS approach is helpful, but we teach all our students how to navigate using GPS as well as ground-based stations,” said Chief Flight Instructor Zack Hartley with Savannah Aviation.

Hartley said GPS jamming does affect how they’re able to instruct students, pointing out without knowledge of multiple approach methods, losing a reliable GPS service can be dangerous.

“If the GPS is not responding the way it should, and you’re actually in the clouds and the cloud layer is at 200 feet and it’s wrong, then there are some serious consequences that come with that,” said Hartley.

Airports the size of Savannah-Hilton Head International are able to still safely guide aircraft in and out.

And Hartley said he hasn’t necessarily noticed anything since the military exercise began Thursday, but the FAA is asking any pilot to report any issues or disruptions in GPS service between now and next Friday.

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