A recently installed satellite system will increase navigation safety for corporate and private pilots flying to Delaware, according to city officials.

A recently installed satellite system will increase navigation safety for corporate and private pilots flying to Delaware, according to city officials.

On June 5, the Delaware Municipal Airport implemented a Wide Area Augmentation System to assist its growing number of flyers.

The WAAS is a satellite-based navigation system designed to improve the accuracy, availability and integrity of signals form global-position system satellites. City officials expect it to provide for precision approach operations which were limited when visibility was poor.

"It allows pilots to get much closer to the ground in bad weather," said Jim Moore, Delaware City Council's first-ward member and a private pilot. "It's really a great improvement.

"We're very, very close to the same minimums that the Columbus and OSU (airports) use now."

In recent years, the Delaware airport has experienced increased traffic from companies flying officials to and from Delaware, as well as private pilots.

City officials often tout airport as a valuable tool driving local economic development.

According to city data, the Delaware Municipal Airport is home to about 80 aircraft and handles an estimated 40,000 operations per year, including corporate activity, training and pleasure flying.

"Bad weather should not affect landings at Delaware any longer," Moore said. "On one of our runways, you can now come down to 300 feet off the ground with one-mile visibility. On the other, you can come to within 300 feet off the ground with three-quarters of a mile visibility.

"It's greatly improved minimums, which help the corporate aircraft get in and out, and also the instrument-rated private pilots."

Moore said the new system benefits any pilot who has related on-board avionics equipment.

"It's a satellite-based system and it's usable from inside the cockpit," he said. "There's no ground equipment, so that's another good thing.

"We don't have any maintenance costs for any ground equipment to operate."

The new system was published earlier this month in the Federal Aviation Administration's instrument approach book and, Moore said, pilots already have taken advantage of the new system.

nellis@thisweeknews.com