ADS-B is without question a promising solution to the many safety, capacity and other suboptimal characteristics of today’s air traffic management system. Moreover, most observers agree that ADS-B will be one of the essential keys to America’s NextGen air traffic control system and comparable programs worldwide. All that is a given. Unfortunately, its introduction appears to be off to a rocky start.
Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center
The FAA plans to restore its Chicago air route traffic control center (Artcc) to normal operation by October 13 following a fire that damaged the facility’s communications equipment and led to the disruption and cancellation of thousands of flights. The agency has also tasked its Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and unions to review contingency plans for major facilities in the wake of the September 26 fire, which was allegedly set by a disgruntled contract worker.
The FAA is moving ahead with a plan to expand the services offered by Houston Center in the Gulf of Mexico by September 2016. As part of the plan, the FAA will install three more ADS-B radios in Mexico to enhance surveillance over the Gulf with a 60- to 80-nm coverage overlap between Houston Flight Information Region and Merida and Monterrey ACC airspace.
The FAA mandate to equip with ADS-B OUT avionics is coming in fewer than 5.5 years, and many owners and operators are still waiting to upgrade their aircraft, either because they’re hoping prices will drop and technology will improve or they aren’t sure they’ll be keeping their aircraft beyond the deadline.
India has completed its ground network for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) tracking of aircraft, according to supplier Comsoft. The German company announced on June 12 that it has finished installing seven new ADS-B ground stations under a second phase of the deployment, which India has integrated into its ATC system.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced the completion of the ground-radio infrastructure for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), the surveillance piece of its NextGen ATC modernization effort. Of 230 ATC facilities nationwide, 100 already track aircraft by ADS-B, the agency said in an April 14 announcement.
Despite the news that air traffic surveillance group Aireon now has most of the key elements in place to create a functioning ADS-B system, the FAA has still not committed to the project for updating its oceanic air traffic management operations. And according to libertarian think-tank The Reason Foundation, the U.S. government might not view this important commitment as a priority.
The company the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration chose in August 2007 to install the ground infrastructure needed to track aircraft by automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) plans to complete that network in the continental U.S. this month. McLean, Va.-based Exelis, which was called ITT when the FAA awarded it the ADS-B contract, said 658 of the 660 planned ADS-B ground radio stations will enter service this year, including all 601 the company is installing in the lower 48 states.
Controller operational errors are on the rise, according to a February 27 audit report from the DOT’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), prompted by requests from the Senate subcommittee on aviation operations, safety and security and, separately, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. According to FAA data, controller operational errors at the Southern California (SoCal) Tracon, jumped from 33 in FY09 to 189 in FY10, an increase of 473 percent.
The FAA has released details of a new ADS-B-based oceanic airspace trial that started October 26 with the goal of reducing longitudinal separation between participating aircraft in the Oakland air route traffic control center’s oceanic control area. The in-trail procedure (ITP), which applies to climbing and descending aircraft, is designed to prove that more aircraft will be able to fly at their requested altitudes using the ADS-B reduced separation standards. A number of conditions must exist during the trial period in order for controllers to apply reduced separation standards.
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