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Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today commemorates the twentieth anniversary of the Garmin GPS 155 receiving FAA Technical Standard Order (TSO) authorization, the industry’s first FAA TSO-C129 approach approved IFR GPS receiver. The GPS 155 TSO received FAA TSO approval on February 16, 1994, which set the bar for future technological GPS advancements in aviation.
Garmin GPS 155 TSO (Photo: Business Wire)
“Our commitment to develop state-of-the-art technology is present yet today as we celebrate this industry-leading innovation in Garmin history,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “The GPS 155 TSO laid the groundwork for future aviation milestones and set the standard for product development, eventually ushering in the foundational technology for what is now referred to as NextGen.”
The GPS 155 TSO was the world’s first GPS navigation product to be fully certified to FAA TSO-C129, Class A1 standards for non-precision approach use. For the first time, pilots could fly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) throughout the departure, enroute, and approach phases of flight using GPS as their primary navigation source. This approval followed shortly after the FAA declared GPS initial operational capability (IOC), which had followed the Department of Defense declaring GPS IOC in December of 1993. This paved the way for aircraft operators to recognize the operational and safety benefits from modern era satellite-based navigation. It also enabled the prolific innovation of new, cutting-edge technologies based upon an affordable and precise position source such as moving map displays, terrain avoidance systems, and synthetic vision.
The introduction of GPS navigation into the aviation industry commenced the phase-out of older generation ground-based navigational aids (NAVAIDs). GPS provided instrument approach capability, particularly important for remote airports that did not have funding or accessibility to NAVAIDs. Offering a high level of integrity, GPS navigation proved to be more precise, which offered a level of safety traditional navigation could not provide. For the first time in history, the Garmin GPS 155 TSO enabled the use of this highly accurate technology for the purpose of flying non-precision instrument approaches in the national airspace system.