The competition is under way to provide air-ground data communications in U.S. domestic airspace, a key piece of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). At the same time, the FAA has asked its NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC) to recommend a data communications “roadmap” through 2030, taking into account different datalink standards.
Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast
“Pressing challenges remain” in the FAA’s progression to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), says the U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general. In testimony October 5 before the House aviation subcommittee, DOT IG Calvin L. Scovel III cited the FAA’s Metroplex initiative.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt says convincing operators to equip their aircraft for NextGen is a big issue, which is one of the reasons why the NextGen Advisory Committee has a lot of industry representation on it, including NBAA and AOPA.
The expected release in December of a proposed rule governing the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the U.S. national airspace system (NAS) will be a definitive step in the phased introduction of robotic aircraft in civilian airspace.
Satellite communications provider Iridium may make space available on its next-generation satellites for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) receivers, making possible global surveillance of aircraft, with emphasis on oceanic flights in non-radar airspace.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has been in the hustings recently pumping NextGen and long-term FAA reauthorization. In several instances, he has broached the two topics in the same speeches.
Satellite communications provider Iridium is in discussions with other aerospace companies and air navigation service providers to equip its next generation of 66 low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) payloads, making possible global surveillance of aircraft to include oceanic and polar regions.
With a narrower pipe but greater reach for voice and data than its rival Inmarsat, the Iridium satellite network is becoming increasingly relevant for aircraft cockpits.
Flight trials to demonstrate new procedures intended to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of international flights crossing the North Atlantic have begun.
The high-level industry and government committee tasked by the FAA with developing “a common understanding” of NextGen priorities has recommended a set of baseline airborne equipment and next will advise on operational or financial incentives that would help aircraft operators install that equipment.