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Utility Company Jams GPS Near Airport

A team from the Federal Aviation Administration has traced some jamming of GPS near the Wilmington North Carolina airport to signals emanating from a utility company’s wireless control system.  Pilots reported mysterious and random interruptions in GPS service within two miles of the airport.   Area pilots had reported losing the signal in critical phases of flight, including instrument approaches.  The situation was serious enough that it prompted a 25-NM NOTAM around the airport warning pilots they could lose GPS.

According to the ILM Pilots Association newsletter, authorities shut down 85 “emitters” used by the system within two miles of the airport and the outages stopped.  Officials narrowed down the culprit to the control system’s antenna, which will have to be redesigned. The Federal Communications Commission and FAA will also watch to see if systems similar to the one in Wilmington are causing issues near airports anywhere else in the nation.