The FAA is seeking comments on four potential plans intended to improve safety, reduce delays and handle growing air traffic in most of the nation’s northeastern airspace. The call comes as the FAA released its draft environmental impact statement on the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign Project. The redesign involves a 31,000-square-mile, five-state area encompassing 21 major airports.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
In a move that could prove a little embarrassing for the FAA, the agency quickly removed new requirements easing oxygen use in Part 121 operations upon learning that it apparently used inaccurate data to justify the rule.
The two companies that run ATC in Britain and Spain have launched a joint-venture company to develop a new air traffic management system for both countries. The new company, Sacta, will be owned jointly by the UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and Spanish counterpart Aena. Sacta ATC areas will be phased in starting with Canary Islands Center in 2007.
The FAA has published two general notices revising procedures for airports conducting taxi into position and hold (TIPH) operations. Both notices, which go into effect March 20, result from continued “operational errors” (read actual or potential runway incursions).
While ILS Cat I equivalency has been on FAA’s wide-area augmentation system agenda for many years, the agency’s recent announcement that it is lowering WAAS minimums was actually the starting gun for several activities required before private aircraft can execute 200-foot approaches beginning in mid-2007.
The first trial of the FAA’s new airspace flow programs (AFP) begins shortly, likely during the next occurrence of severe thunderstorm-related weather in the Northeast U.S. The AFP allows ATC to impose delays on traffic scheduled to fly through areas constrained by severe weather. Delays are designed to affect en route traffic only, not traffic for destination airports unaffected by weather.
In FY 2005, there were 327 runway incursions, of which 29 were serious Category A and B incidents, according to the FAA’s regional administrator for the Western-Pacific region. Testifying before Congress earlier this week, Bill Withycombe said that in terms of error types, there were 169 pilot deviations, 105 ATC operational deviations and 53 vehicle/pedestrian deviations.
The FAA says that the Alaska Capstone program of testing a host of advanced avionics (including automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast–ADS-B) in small commercial aircraft will become part of the agency’s nationwide ADS-B implementation.
Europe’s skies have become safer since two landmark accidents, according to a new independent survey commissioned by air traffic management agency Eurocontrol. A December 4 report stated that the 42 European states surveyed have all “considerably strengthened” their air traffic management frameworks over the past four years.
Europe’s controlled airspace is to be expanded to absorb air transport growth, leaving the general aviation community with the prospect of paying air traffic management fees and having to adjust to a more complex operating environment.