2010 Early Achievement Award

Presented to: Dr. Juan Blanch

Citation: For his significant contributions to the development of ionospheric and integrity algorithms for WAAS and the development of ARAIM.


Dr. Juan Blanch has been a member of the FAA's WAAS Integrity Performance Panel (WIPP) since 2003. As part of this group, he has single-handedly developed safety analyses for many of the monitoring algorithms. He developed and proposed a fundamental modification to the WAAS ionospheric estimation algorithm which solved a critical safety problem by using the chi-squared value to estimate the ionospheric state in real-time. This solution resulted in significant changes to the ionospheric algorithm and led to a large improvement in WAAS performance since its first inception in 2003.

Dr. Blanch’s thesis work that applied geospatial statistics to ionospheric estimation is now in the process of being fielded in WAAS. He independently identified the potential for applying Kriging to ionospheric estimation and defined this area of investigation. This technique more accurately models the behavior of the ionosphere and it better models ionospheric behavior for moderate disturbances. He developed the required safety analyses and persuaded the WIPP as to their correctness. Dr. Blanch was able to guide WIPP members through his full analysis, and where needed, provide additional documentation or algorithm modifications to establish full agreement as to its safety.

As a member of the FAA’s GNSS Evolutionary Architecture Study (GEAS), Dr. Blanch serves as one of the guiding members. His development of Advanced Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (ARAIM) is one of the key areas of investigation for this group. He served as one of the lead authors on the initial GEAS report that proposed ARAIM as one of the most promising future architectures to support world-wide vertical guidance of aircraft. The algorithm he developed can support a wide range of assumptions and readily handles multiple fault cases. He has also demonstrated that it has a relatively simple but rigorous proof of safety. He is currently assisting the Navy’s F/A-18 program to adapt ARAIM for their use after he successfully established its potential application to this program.

Dr. Blanch is a Research Associate in the Stanford GPS Laboratory, where he works on the design of integrity algorithms for the Wide Area Augmentation System and future GNSS based architectures.