Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Government at work at the FAA

Apparently, the FAA has been sitting on a plan to implement GPS for airlines for over ten years. The details appear to be really incredible; despite the fact that most luxury cars have this, and despite the fact that the satellites are already up there, they're claiming that implementing GPS for airliners will require a new set of satellites and about $200,000 per plane, adding up to about $35 billion overall.

You, the taxpayer, will get to pony over $20 billion of this, while airlines will get to keep all of the $10 billion annually they'll save on fuel.

Call me simplistic, but I have to point out that military jets have been using the present GPS units for about two decades. I don't really think that they system is going to require new satellites, $20 billion from taxpayers, or $200k per plane to implement if they take a few hints from the good folks at OnStar.


Anonymous said...

I realize we're talking a rather different level, but still....if you can buy a TomTom or a Garmin at Walmart for under $300, there's got to be a way to put GPS on a plane for under $200K.

Bike Bubba said...

You got it. Now while certainly I don't want consumer electronics running my plane (annual failure rates up to 25%), I certainly think that they can do this more cheaply than they're planning.

My hunch here is that the FAA wants dedicated satellites to run everything, which gets you very quickly into the realm of "it better not fail for twenty years" costliness. Typical work by government guys insulated from the realities of the markets.