A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticizes the FAA for lax program cost and schedule monitoring and control related to its air traffic control modernization effort. Of 30 NextGen programs the GAO examined, 11 have experienced cost increases over their original estimates by $4.2 billion, representing more than 60 percent of the agency’s total delay costs for these programs.
Wide Area Augmentation System
Embraer announced at the Singapore Airshow that it has made substantial interior improvements to the Legacy 600/650 family, which will be available for aircraft produced this year. “Key to this is our effort to reduce cabin sound levels, which set a new benchmark for the Legacy 600 and 650 class of aircraft,” said Embraer Executive Jets president Ernie Edwards.
The FAA has issued a proposed plan to transition the national airspace system (NAS) to a performance-based navigation system that relies on GPS and “area navigation everywhere and required navigation performance where beneficial,” instead of defining airways, routes and procedures using VORs and other legacy navaids. A minimum operational network of VORs and an “optimized network” of DMEs would be retained, and this drawdown would be complete by Jan. 1, 2020.
The FAA supplemental type certificate for Garmin’s GTN series touchscreen avionics has been validated by EASA, and the GTN 650 and 750 can now be installed in aircraft registered in Europe.
Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 geostationary satellite, which ceased broadcasting the Waas signal covering some airports in Alaska on December 16, is now back under control.
Embraer’s Phenom 300 has received approval for the upgrade to Garmin’s synthetic vision technology (SVT). The FAA, EASA and Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil have all approved SVT for the Phenom 300’s Prodigy flight deck. SVT shows a color-coded 3-D “visual topographic landscape” derived from Garmin’s terrain-alerting database.
The final feature of Hawker Beechcraft’s upgrade and enhancement program for the Hawker 4000 received FAA certification Tuesday–the “Load 20” package for the super-midsize jet’s Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite. Load 20 is a significant modification–part of a major upgrade program that all Hawker 4000s are receiving at no charge to owners–and adds long-awaited functionality to the 4000’s cockpit.
Accord Technology’s NexNav mini GPS Waas Class Beta-1 sensor has been recognized by the FAA as meeting requirements outlined in Advisory Circular 20-165. The 20-165 requirements cover accuracy and other parameters that GPS sensors will need to meet standards for ADS-B operations. The FAA will require mandatory equipage with ADS-B out systems beginning in 2020.
West Star Aviation recently installed the first Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 to Pro Line 21 upgrade on the Falcon 2000. The upgrade is now available for Pro Line 4-equipped Falcon 2000/2000EXs.
It is only in the past few of years that GPS approaches, pioneered in Alaska in the 1990s, have started to become available. These form another element of a future, efficient system where aircraft are managed in time as well as space, take efficient paths and don’t waste burning fuel in unnecessary holds.