While pilots agree that ADS-B is the next big thing for the National Airspace System, with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey describing it as the “FAA’s moon shot,” its implementation process has puzzled many. When Blakey last week launched the program with $80 million in FY 2007 funds, agency bureaucrats were still seeking go-ahead approval from the FAA’s top-level Joint Resources Council.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today named Dallas Love Field, Memphis International and Milwaukee General Mitchell International as the newest “gateway” airports for allowing certain pre-cleared general aviation aircraft to fly directly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
The International Council of AOPA (IAOPA) submitted a petition to the International Civil Aviation Organization to modify language proficiency requirements scheduled to go into effect in two years. All ICAO member states must “adopt, and controllers and aircrews must conform to and achieve, new English language proficiency standards” by March 2008.
With the latest deadline in the contract dispute between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) fast approaching, it seems increasingly unlikely that Congress will step into the fray. Both sides walked away from the bargaining table on April 5, with the FAA declaring an impasse. The agency submitted its final proposal along with Natca’s objections to Congress, which has 60 days to review the proposals.
The comment period was extended to July 1 for the FAA’s draft environmental impact statement on proposed plans to redesign the airspace in the Northeast, which is intended to improve safety, reduce delays and handle growing air traffic.
With the failure of Congress to take any action in the contract dispute between the FAA and the air traffic controllers union, the agency arbitrarily put its last contract proposal into effect as yesterday’s deadline expired. The FAA declared an impasse on April 5 after nine months of negotiations with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association that the agency claimed cost taxpayers $2.3 million.
ADS-B-equipped aircraft will be back on ATC radar screens in Alaska after an absence of several weeks. On March 24, following “misapplication” of separation standards by the Anchorage ARTCC, FAA officials in Washington ordered ADS-B aircraft returns removed from ATC displays.
As the user-fee battle rages, rhetoric from Air Transport Association member airlines is reaching vast audiences. Lost in the debate, however, is a reference made by ATA v-p of operations and safety Basil Barimo late last year, in which he coined the term “commercial airspace” and attempted to connect the user-fee issue with safety in relation to less experienced pilots flying very light jets in so-called commercial airspace.
Because international aviation regulators and aerodynamic experts failed again last week to reach agreement about the extent of the safety hazards created by Airbus A380 wake turbulence, interim guidelines remain in effect. When the interim recommendations were adopted late last year the experts had expected to reach a consensus earlier this year on final guidelines.
The FAA is proposing to decommission all 54 direction finders (DF) and associated DF approaches in all states other than Alaska. “DFs have been used sparingly over the last nine years and the equipment is beyond its useful life cycle,” the agency said.