When the federal government raised the terrorist threat index early last month to Code Orange, it piggybacked with it an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that blanketed the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area.
Avionics and ATC
New developments and products in avionics, specifically about aircraft electronics in the cockpit; and news, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
• Goodrich accepted terms of a licensing agreement with Honeywell to settle a lawsuit in which Honeywell claimed that Goodrich infringed on EGPWS patents. The deal allows Goodrich to continue selling its own TAWS units while paying licensing fees to Honeywell. But Goodrich won’t keep its TAWS units much longer because the company last month agreed to sell its avionics business to L-3 Communications.
• Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J) introduced legislation that would require ATC to remain a government function. The bill, S.338, is in response to President Bush’s recent executive order stripping ATC of its “inherently governmental” status and designating it a “commercial” activity, allowing it to be outsourced. Lautenberg argues that ATC privatization in other countries has increased costs and jeopardized safety.
The FAA is proposing numerous revisions to instrument flight rules and procedures to reflect technological advances intended to “facilitate the transition from ground-based navigation to new reference sources,” principally GPS and enhanced vision systems. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) cuts a 60-page swath through the Federal Register, affecting Parts 1, 71, 91, 95, 97, 121, 125, 129 and 135.
Previously this column has addressed efforts within the federal government to transform our nation’s air transportation system. Policy leaders believe that the business model of traditional airlines has reached its limit and simply is incapable of meeting the need for efficient travel.
NBAA is scheduled to sponsor an ATC user dialogue at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on October 29. The event will start with a lunch at noon. Air traffic controllers and ATC supervisors from the Eastern Region, New York Center, Tracon and local towers will be present. It’s expected that the discussion will center around new security-based operational changes. For more information, contact Bob Lamond at NBAA.
For most pilots, the attention-grabbing feature of the newest entries in the small-aircraft general aviation market, such as the Cirrus SR22, is probably their large-format cockpit displays. They’re colorful, bold and big, and they offer capabilities undreamed of in this class of aircraft even two or three years ago.
Bringing datalink weather information into the cockpit has never been easier or more affordable. A variety of newly available low-cost terrestrial and satellite uplink services are allowing buyers of relatively inexpensive cockpit multifunction displays to add special receivers and antennas and gain access to continuously updated terminal reports, forecasts, winds aloft, sigmets, airmets and Nexrad radar images.
In a September 9 report to the FAA Administrator, the DOT’s inspector general called upon the agency “to reevaluate the costs of Stars [the standard terminal automation and replacement system] and consider other alternatives.”
With only about 15 months left to go before the start of domestic reduced vertical separation minimums (DRVSM) in the U.S., the clock is ticking for business jet and turboprop operators that have yet to schedule an appointment with their local service center for needed upgrades.