Skip to Main Content
This paper develops an empirical confidence bound for barometric altimeter altitude errors and shows how this bound may improve the performance of GPS-based approach and landing systems. This empirical bound is developed using historical meteorological data collected at a set of geographically diverse locations over a thirty year period. The confidence bound developed is shown to provide a Gaussian overbound on altimeter altitude errors in standard atmospheric conditions between a 10-5 and 10-6 confidence level. This confidence bound is integrated into the standard methodology for analyzing the performance of GPS-based landing systems and the results of a performance trade study using the confidence bound are presented. The results show that incorporating the empirical barometric altimeter confidence bound provides an increase in the coterminous United States (CONUS) service volume for lateral precision with vertical guidance (LPV) type approaches. While this increase is approximately 2% for an L1 single-frequency GPS user, it jumps to roughly 40% for an L5 single-frequency user.