American Airlines has spent some $400 million in the past few years to retrofit its existing fleet for the planned NextGen flight environment in the U.S. But at this stage it has not seen the operational benefits it had hoped for, according to the airline’s director of airspace modernization and advanced technologies.
Required Navigation Performance
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.
Horizon Air has received FAA approval to fly instrument approaches to required navigation performance (RNP) 0.1 standards in its Bombardier Q400s equipped with Universal Avionics UNS-1Ew flight management systems. The UNS-1Ew Waas/SBAS FMS enables Horizon pilots to fly stable 3-D flight paths to touchdown at airports in the Northwest U.S. that have published RNP approaches, but now to lower RNP 0.1 minimums. Compared to traditional but non-RNP approaches, the RNP approaches have been shown to save time and fuel.
The FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization program faces long-term technical risks and still uncertain acceptance by airspace users. But after a decade in development, NextGen could be stalled by a nearer-term threat: substantially reduced funding from Congress. In June, the House appropriations committee released transportation funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2014 that would reduce the FAA’s capital funding account, which supports NextGen programs, to its lowest level since 2000.
The FAA claims the NextGen Air Transportation System initiative is progressing, according to its recently issued NextGen Implementation Plan report, which projects a reduction in delays of 41 percent by the end of the mid-term implementation period in 2020.
The FAA’s NextGen Air Transportation System initiative is progressing, according to the agency’s recently issued NextGen implementation plan report. While the report focuses on improvements to airspace and navigation capabilities, the implementation plan, and especially appendix A, provides a detailed summary of technologies already implemented or planned as part of NextGen, a useful guide for those wanting to learn about ADS-B and other systems.
Airbus has chosen the ACSS T3CAS traffic management computer as the standard surveillance avionics suite for the Airbus single-aisle narrowbody family of aircraft (A318, A319, A320 and A321). T3CAS combines–in a single LRU–key surveillance avionics, including traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas), terrain awareness warning system (Taws), Mode S transponder with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) OUT and also ADS-B IN functions (airborne traffic situation awareness). T3CAS is also available on the A330, according to ACSS (Chalet A306).
Rockwell Collins has won separate contracts from China’s Xiamen Airlines and China Southern Airlines involving several of its avionics systems, including its Multi-Scan Threat Detection Radar and GLU-925 Multi-Mode Receiver (MMR).
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has asked GE Aviation to expand required navigation performance (RNP) at China’s Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport. The program, which is intended to simplify pilot and controller workload, will include seven more airlines and extend RNP capability to the mountainous airport’s instrument landing system (ILS).
Bombardier is offering an avionics block upgrade for its Challenger 300 in response to interest by operators in the Pro Line 21 Advanced system that comes standard in the new Challenger 350, the company announced here yesterday. Bombardier plans to introduce the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 retrofit as service bulletins during this year’s third quarter.