In a rare show of unanimity, the Air Transport Association has joined with general aviation and others in lobbying Congress for a $4 billion stimulus package that could jumpstart NextGen and provide many of its benefits during President Barack Obama’s first term.
Air Traffic Organization
Federal and local officials broke ground early last month for a new Air Traffic Control System Command Center colocated with the FAA’s Potomac Tracon southwest of Dulles International Airport (IAD).
One of the first steps in developing the technology to automate the National Airspace System (NAS) is to coordinate and manage the data that is necessary for the technology to work properly. The system-wide information management (Swim) platform will allow all of the NextGen systems to “speak” to one another, as well as to other systems within other government agencies and industry partners, according to the FAA.
The focus of the NextGen Air Transportation System has largely been on the development of satellite-based navigation systems, trajectory-based operations and the various technologies that will form the underlying structure of the nation’s future ATC system. But NextGen’s success is not dependent upon new procedures and inventions.
In Daytona Beach, just 60 miles northeast of the Orange County Convention Center here in Orlando, the NextGen testbed facility at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is playing an important role in advancing air traffic control modernization. It’s a place where the politics of who will pay for ATC modernization can be placed to the side while researchers figure out how to make the various components of NextGen work together.
Everybody in aviation has heard about NextGen, the buzzterm that stands for the ponderous Next Generation Air Transportation System. But what is it, exactly? Ask 10 people and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. And don’t ask the popular media or tv or a politician: all they’ll tell you is that it’s “satellite-based” and coming soon.
The FAA on Tuesday awarded a $437 million contract to Raytheon to support the agency in training air traffic controllers.
The House of Representatives on July 22 unanimously approved a bipartisan aviation bill that tightens the FAA’s airline maintenance oversight procedures and creates an Aviation Safety Whistleblower Investigation Office.
A shortage of controllers at Chicago Center and an uptick in air traffic in that sector are a prescription for disaster that the FAA has so far ignored at the expense of public safety, claim officials for the air traffic controllers union.
Although the FAA has finally commissioned its first standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars), the agency has drastically reduced the number of systems it plans to install at the nation’s airports. And that has caused some people to question the FAA’s commitment to ATC modernization.