With GPS, does Warsaw airport really need an instrument landing system?

By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — You might not have realized it, but GPS isn’t just for motorists traveling the highways and byways of America. It’s also become an increasingly useful tool for pilots.

So much so that airports are evaluating whether they need to rely on expensive ILS systems, the tool airports have relied on for decades to help pilots as they approach airports at night or during bad weather.

That issue is now a major factor at Warsaw Municipal Airport continues to look at its existing ILS system which is no longer up to par. Specifically, one of the three components that comprise the ILS system is not functional and pilots rely on GPS on both runways, said Airport Manager Nick King.

King has recently sought and received input from some of the pilots at the airport on the issue. Some of their thoughts were pretty blunt.

“Why replace it? ILS are not being replaced in smaller airports because the GPS we have has the same accuracy that the ILS has,” King said.

“Is it a smart investment on the airport board’s part to put $1 million into an ILS into technology that most likely be supported in 20 or 25 years?” King asked rhetorically during Tuesday’s board meeting,” King added.

Aviation Board President Jay Rigdon reflected on the speed of technology.

“Two of us were on the board when we got the ILS and to think we’ve out-lived the ILS system — it gets you a little bit,” Rigdon said.

The aviation board took no action, but pledged to look deeper into the issue.

King said they have three choices on the matter. Those include upgrading the system and work with the Federal Aviation, continue to operate as is or get rid of the sysem and rely on GPS systems.

He said they need to make a decision within the next year because it is closely involved with possible changes to the runways.