Because of some unexplained interference with GPS signals in Texas, aviation officials have been forced to reroute planes and close a runway.
Even though “there is no evidence of foreign tampering,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is looking into the problem with the global positioning system (GPS) that planes use.
After hearing on Monday that GPS signals in the area were no longer reliable, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport decided to close one of its runways for a while.
According to a warning that was sent by the FAA’s Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS), the suspected signal jamming affected a span of airspace that was about 40 miles long.
In yet another piece of advice that was sent by the Air Traffic Control System Command Center, pilots were cautioned that, in the event that their GPS signal was not operating properly, they could be required to go back to utilizing “earlier ground navaid based arrivals and radar vectors.”
“[Dallas-Fort Worth] is experiencing GPS anomalies that are dramatically impacting GPS,” the advisory stated.
“The cause is yet unknown. The length of this outage is therefore unpredictable and will remain in effect until further advised.”
A map of the affected region was recently produced by a service that monitors GPS interference. The picture shows an area that goes right over Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as a second, more compact area that is just north of Wichita Falls.
According to John Wiseman, who is the operator of GPSjam.org, the interference started at one o’clock in the afternoon local time on Monday. He also said that ground GPS signals were being disrupted.
A baffling event of a similar kind took place in Denver in the month of January, when the city’s Air Traffic Control department sent out a notification warning pilots about GPS issues.
According to Mr. Wiseman, the most recent occurrence in Texas did not seem to be tied to any military activities, nor was it believed to have originated from a solar flare given the small size of the region that was touched by the incident.
“GPS uses an extremely low-power signal and can be easily jammed,” he tweeted. “Unfortunately my guess is that we’ll never know what caused this.”