FAA boss lauds UPS use of ADS-B

 - November 27, 2006, 10:46 AM

Marion Blakey, administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, used her first visit to Farnborough yesterday to publicly endorse the ADS-B program express package carrier UPS is implementing at its Louisville, Kentucky hub.

UPS, in conjunction with Boeing and avionics innovator ACSS, is pursuing a program launched at last year’s Paris Air Show that aims to improve the efficiency of operations at Louisville. The ACSS software will help UPS pilots merge at cruising altitude before flying continuous descent approaches at fixed intervals “like beads on a string,” in the words of Capt. Karen Lee, director of flight operations for UPS.

The merging and spacing application will improve the efficiency of flight operations, saving the carrier an estimated $1 million in fuel in the course of a year. The elimination of low-altitude maneuvering associated with “dive and drive” approaches will reduce noise and emissions near the ground. And the procedure will reduce air traffic controller workload, leaving controllers to manage a predictable flow of traffic and intervene only when needed to accommodate a non-equipped aircraft or deal with an emergency, for example.

Another SafeRoute application, surface area movement management (SAMM), will also use the Boeing Class 3 electronic flight bag (EFB) that UPS has ordered for its Boeing 757s and 767s. This shows a map of the airport surface and traffic, on which the active runway turns yellow and then red as an airplane approaches it, in order to reduce the likelihood of runway incursions. ACSS president Kris Ganase said SafeRoute should start flight trials aboard an L-3 airplane in October and with UPS in December. Certification is expected next June.

Lee said the EFB retrofit was justified economically because it supports other applications such as electronic logbooks and charts as well as the ADS-B implementation, each of which has its own business case and its own benefits.