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.
Joint Planning and Development Office
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.
While the need for ATC modernization is generally undisputed, DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovel III told attendees of a House Committee on Science and Technology hearing on Thursday that “developing NextGen is one of the biggest challenges facing the FAA.
There are signs that Washington has acquired a sense of urgency (long past due, some would say) about the disarray that has thus far stalled progress on ATC modernization. Last month’s appointment of former FAA ATO v-p of operations planning Vicki Cox to the new position of senior v-p for NextGen and operations planning raised some questions about the agency’s desire to be more involved in planning the future airspace system.
In a surprise move, the FAA announced late last week that it appointed ATO vice president of operations planning Vicki Cox to become senior vice president for NextGen and operations planning. While surprising, the step was not unwelcome, FAA and industry sources told AIN.
The FAA has criticized the airlines for failing to equip their aircraft with the latest on-board weather technology, thereby limiting the amount of relevant data pilots receive. The agency commended general aviation, however, for embracing new technologies that will be an integral part of the NextGen air transportation system.
The next-generation ATC system (NextGen) will not be turned on instantly with the flip of a switch but rather will evolve over a period of years as components already developed become more predictive and repeatable.
The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has selected the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Team of public and private sector groups as the 2007 recipient of the Collier Trophy.
A group of personal air transport providers has asked the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) to accelerate the pace of implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), currently scheduled to become fully operational by about 2025.
As professionals engaged in business aviation, each of us probably has questions about what lies ahead for our community. Will there be sufficient airspace and runway capacity to accommodate an increasing number of operations without a subsequent increase in delays? Will the ATC infrastructure be improved, and if so, whose voices will dominate the debate for designing a new system?