- June 30, 2009, 11:38 AM

As a crucial reporting deadline looms, a private not-for-profit task force recruited to advise the FAA on Nextgen implementation is believed still to be some distance away from consensus on the program’s final objective.

The RTCA’s NextGen implementation task force is considering a number of approaches for moving ahead with the framework for the future ATC system (see AIN, April, page 50). The group, consisting of approximately 300 people from
24 separate organizations, is expected to offer recommended actions to the FAA
by next month.

The recommendations are expected to describe a mix of current technologies that would either still be valid in NextGen’s end state in the mid-2020s, or would provide compatible or upgradable stepping stones toward it. Untried future concepts would not be considered, and maximum use of present aircraft capabilities would be a key requirement. However, AIN understands that with consensus in the task force elusive thus far, some observers feel that industry proposals could help focus the effort.

A number of aerospace companies are expected to announce their plans soon to assist in speeding aviation’s transition to the next, mid-term NextGen operational plateau between 2012 and 2018, industry insiders tell AIN. Before making any announcements, however, none of the companies is prepared to identify itself.

With the reported encouragement of the FAA and other parties, the companies are said to be assessing combinations of airborne precision navigation using Rnav, RNP and ADS-B, and with enhanced surveillance using ADS-B, multilateration and fused radar. Air and ground elements would be inte-grated within current terminal auto- mation systems. The industry’s view is that near-term NextGen capabilities can be implemented today with minimum risk, and without the need for lengthy development, testing and certification.

Sources tell AIN that benefits could, among other techniques, include reductions in lateral separation; a 10-percent increase in runway acceptance rate; a wide-area multilateration backup to ADS-B and SSR; faster introduction of continuous descent approaches; and precision runway and terminal monitoring.