Airbus and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Air Traffic Management Bureau signed an agreement to cooperate on modernizing China’s air traffic management (ATM) system with the goal of improving air transport capacity and efficiency. Led by Airbus’s ProSky ATM subsidiary, the ATM initiative accompanies a broader collaboration between Airbus and the CAAC on aviation safety, a five-year extension of which the parties announced last Friday.
Air traffic control
General Dynamics C4 Systems’ next-gen UHF and VHF air traffic control radios completed the first phase of the FAA’s factory acceptance testing program. According to the company, the new radios improve sound clarity, making it easier for air traffic controllers and pilots to hear one another. The second phase of testing, scheduled for this fall, will place with 90 of the next-gen radios in FAA facilities in Florida, Oklahoma and New Jersey to validate how the radios perform in the operational environment.
For operators flying with cathode-ray tube RM-850 radio management units with screens that are getting hard to read, Honeywell is offering an upgrade to the RM-855 with a liquid-crystal display (LCD). While Honeywell bought a quantity of the RM-850 displays, “[that] stock has now become depleted,” according to the company. “Honeywell is no longer able to repair units with CRT failures.” The RM-855 is a form, fit and function replacement unit; however, it requires a new mating connector. The existing wires need to be re-pinned into the new connector.
The European Commission released a final report on the integration of civil remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) into European airspace in June. The report’s aim is to achieve initial RPAS airspace integration, beginning with visual line-of-sight operations, in 2016.
Developed by European aviation technical organizations under the collective name ofthe European RPAS Steering Group, the 200-page report covers a wide swath of issues, requirements and plans over its proposed RPAS integration “roadmap,” covering the period 2013 to 2028.
The FAA is seeking responses to a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that it believes will significantly improve operational flexibility for operators using an enhanced flight vision system (EFVS). Comments on FAA-2013-0485 are due by September 9.
While the FAA mandate to install ADS-B OUT equipment for aircraft flying in U.S. airspace by Jan. 1, 2020 (above 10,000 feet or in Class B or C airspace) is more than six years away, aircraft operating in some countries’ airspace must be compliant starting in December.
The FAA released its final policy last week regarding the procedures for allowing aircraft owners and operators to have their flight information blocked from online flight tracker sites.
As part of continued cost cutting by the U.S. federal government, the FAA has announced plans to begin decommissioning some instrument approach procedures (IAP) to save on maintenance costs of ground-based navaids. The agency said the plan also stems from a near doubling of new IAPs in the past decade thanks to advances in satellite-based approach systems.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has delivered new precision departure release capability (PDRC) software to the FAA; it is designed to improve the flow of air traffic from the moment an aircraft leaves the ground until it reaches cruise altitude.
The FAA has begun initial deployment of a new time-based flow management (TBFM) system that the agency says will optimize the flow of aircraft into busy airspace. TBFM, which was recently installed in all 20 en route air traffic control centers, supersedes the three-year-old traffic management advisor “as a time-based scheduling tool that meters aircraft through all phases of flight to deliver the correct number of aircraft to airspace sectors and down to the runway at the exact pace at which the aircraft can be accommodated.”