Ten days before the January 20 Presidential inauguration, the FAA issued a six-page national security flight advisory describing airspace restrictions surrounding the event.
Air traffic control
Although the FAA needs to hire 11,800 new controllers through Fiscal Year 2015 to replace retirees and other vacancies, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) noted the agency’s own FAA Administrator’s Fact Book (a quarterly publication) reports that the overall total number of controllers dropped from 14,227 at the end of FY2005 to 14,206 in FY2006.
The FAA’s Alaska Region this year will assess the suitability of a communications satellite system with an unusual history to supplement its Capstone automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) project.
When the idea was initially being explored a number of years ago, FAA planners saw a use for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) only in Alaska, where the technology would allow aircraft operating beyond the reach of radar to develop their own position data using onboard GPS equipment, and then transmit that data to others in the region through either a microwave satellite uplink and downlink or ground-based VHF network.
Southern Star Avionics has completed required flight testing for Cessna Citation 560 and S550 airframes and expects to receive RVSM group certification for the types early next month. The $95,000 installation kits use IS&S digital altimeters with integrated air-data computers and analog interface units. The company said the upgrade is available for both single and dual flight director aircraft equipped with Sperry SPZ-500 autopilots.
The FAA has certified the CMS-1000 communication management system from Pentar Avionics. The panel-mount unit provides digital and analog input and output, ACARS processing, an optional internal VDL Mode 2 (VHF datalink) radio and optional GPS sensor.
Jeppesen has undertaken an ambitious yearlong effort to survey taxiways and ramp areas at high-use airports throughout the world. Using GPS surveying equipment, Jeppesen engineers plan to establish precise reference points on airports and compare them with digitized satellite imagery.
“The job of a controller is no longer just separating airplanes,” National Air Traffic Controllers Association president John Carr told attendees at a symposium on “Post 9/11 Security Impacts on Air Traffic Control and Aviation” in Washington, D.C., in late January. “They have to be aware of possibilities that we did not even contemplate on the morning of September 10.”
NBAA’s prophecy is coming true. The FAA published a “show cause” notice to extend the flight-reduction program through October 31 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The program went into effect on November 1, originally with an expiration date of April 30.
Europe’s ambitious program to introduce mode-S surveillance datalink technology has once again been rescheduled to account for operational and technical difficulties. On January 13, Eurocontrol announced a “rationalization” of the implementation timetable for mode-S elementary (ELS, known in North America as “upgraded mode-S”) and enhanced (EHS) surveillance for IFR flights in general air traffic (IFR/GAT).