People tend to think of NASA’s Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) project as a far-fetched plan to put an airplane in every garage and turn the skies of America into tomorrow’s commuter byways. The truth is the SATS program will bring GPS-based “highway in the sky” instrument approaches with lower minimums to hundreds of smaller airports, many of them used today by business aircraft.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
Airservices Australia has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to avionics makers for as many as 1,500 ADS-B airborne systems for installation in the country’s general aviation fleet. The RFP, which includes system design, manufacture and installation, is part of the country’s long-term plan to transition to ADS-B technology as the primary means of surveillance in en route airspace.
Raytheon Systems of the UK has received a contract from Eurocontrol to install four ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) ground systems to support trials aimed at validating the use of the technology as an alternative to radar for ATC surveillance.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in civil, non-segregated airspace took another step forward early last month at the unmanned systems trade show at the ParcAberporth research and development center on the west coast of Wales when Thales UK and Elbit Systems of Israel demonstrated their Hermes 450. The flight was the first of a pilotless aircraft weighing more than 330 pounds in non-segregated UK airspace.
Once the exclusive domain of the military and, with few exceptions, flying outside controlled airspace, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now slowly nudging their noses under the civil tent. Already, USAF RQ-4 Global Hawks routinely fly across the U.S.
“Despite several crises, air traffic growth continues inexorably in Europe but with delays reaching an all-time low, the average delay per flight now standing at less than two minutes,” said Bo Redeborn, Eurocontrol director of ATM strategies, at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition earlier this year.
Senior U.S. and international government and industry officials told specialists attending two meetings recently that by 2020 as many as 100 satellites could be radiating GPS-compatible navigation signals to air, sea and land users, with the overwhelming proportion of users being on land.
The FAA has approved Rannoch as a class-1 provider of ASDI (aircraft situational display to industry) data, adding the company to the list of services that offer online subscribers access to real-time flight information. Rannoch said it will use the flight-tracking data as part of its AirScene suite of services. Currently about 20 companies are FAA-approved as class-1 ASDI data providers.
Performance-based navigation was identified in ICAO’s Future Air Navigation System concept of the early 1990s, which defined required navigation performance capability as a parameter “describing lateral deviations from assigned or selected track as well as along-track position-fixing accuracy on the basis of an appropriate containment level.”
A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asserts that certain FAA ATC systems are vulnerable to attack by “disgruntled current or former employees who are familiar with these (proprietary protection) features, nor will they keep out more sophisticated hackers.”