Traditionally, air traffic controller training has been a dry-as-dust classroom learning process, with piles of documents to study, rules to absorb and procedures to learn, interspersed with occasional breaks to watch the professionals at work in Centers, Tracons and towers.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
After 10 frustrating years of technical delays, escalating costs and contractor changes, the FAA’s GPS wide area augmentation system (WAAS) is approaching the level of performance the agency originally envisioned for it back in the late 1980s. With the system’s initial operational capability declared in 2003 and 18 months of satisfactory performance now behind them, WAAS advocates can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Whether pilots notice any difference remains open to debate, but anyone cruising in the upper flight levels over North America should at least be aware that they are passing much closer to other airplanes now that the mandate for reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) is in force.
The FAA is taking what the Transportation Department inspector general (IG) calls a “long overdue step” with regard to its standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars), trying to decide how best to salvage a program begun in 1996 and still not fully deployed.
The FAA has scheduled several “fact finding” informal meetings to solicit information from operators and others concerning proposed revisions to Los Angeles Class B airspace. Meetings will be held at various locations in the Los Angeles area on January 20, 22, 27 and 29. For more information, contact the FAA’s Debra Trindle at (310) 725-6611.
The German government gave the green light to sell to the public 74.9 percent of DFS, the agency operating the country’s ATC system. Shares of DFS will not be available before next year, with details of the privatization to be worked out this year. A government spokesman said there would be no restriction on who could purchase stock, and Lufthansa chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber told Reuters news agency that
A Super Bowl Special Traffic Management Program (STMP) for the Houston area will be in effect January 28 through February 3, requiring all non-airline operators to obtain arrival and departure reservations for seven airports within the greater Houston area. Reservations can be obtained up to 72 hours before arrival and departure times.
Comments are due by January 23 on a proposal to increase the size of the Minneapolis Class B airspace, namely expanding its upper limit to 10,000 feet msl. Traffic growth, recent TCAS alerts and the advent of a new runway are the main factors behind the proposal. In the first half of last year there were 17 TCAS events reported in the airspace to be included in the proposed changes.
At precisely 0901 UTC on January 20, new operating rules for reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) are planned to take effect in the U.S., southern Canada, South America and Mexico. Depending on your particular situation, you may be anticipating or dreading the event.
Think night-vision goggles (NVGs) are just for police and EMS operators? You might be surprised to learn that changes to Part 91 and 135 due out this year could extend the technology to all of general aviation, opening possibilities for a wide range of operators, including business aircraft flight crews, to start using NVGs.