Despite all the fits and starts, NextGen in the U.S. will eventually affect business aircraft operators, although perhaps not on the schedule that the FAA currently espouses. It is not too soon to start considering the impact of NextGen on business aviation and how it will drive equipment requirements.
North Atlantic Tracks
Nav Canada and UK NATS have implemented a new navigation standard that reduces longitudinal separations by half for properly equipped aircraft in North Atlantic airspace managed by the Canadian and UK air navigation service providers.
Flying a business air plane outside the U.S. isn’t all work. It’s also an adventure that offers U.S. pilots a chance to see how the other half–or actually the other 90 percent of the world–lives. Let’s be serious: Americans are spoiled by our own version of the aviation industry, such as when it comes to working the ATC system. A last-minute trip appears in Atlanta and we file a quick flight plan from our iPhones.
British air traffic management provider NATS has urged the country’s Civil Aviation Authority to give fast-track approval to a change in the standard instrument departures (SIDs) at London City Airport. The change, which could be adopted this summer, will formalize a wider initial turn after takeoff before aircraft rejoin the existing tracks.
Eurocontrol has again confirmed that reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace will be implemented in Europe starting January 24. The 1,000-ft separation standards will apply between FL 290 and FL 410, and non-RVSM-compliant aircraft will not be permitted at these altitudes.
With the anticipated publication this month of an NPRM in the Federal Register, the FAA is laying the groundwork for implementation of domestic reduced vertical separation minimums (DRVSM) in U.S. airspace between FL 290 and FL 410 in December 2004.
Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) is stepping up operating trials aimed at making greater use of both en route and terminal area airspace. New procedures being evaluated include the use of parallel offset tracks in place of radar headings alone; closer spacing of parallel routes with autonomous operations; and the use of precision area navigation (PRnav) procedures for terminal area control.
Sharp rises in the number of airline flights originating from airports in the U.S. and Europe are presenting FAA and Eurocontrol officials with some daunting challenges. Chief among these is the question of how to squeeze more capacity from airports and ATC route systems that in some places already seem stretched to the breaking point.
“Business aviation operators are becoming much more sophisticated about the ways they can use their airplanes outside the United States,” said Bill Stine, NBAA’s director of international operations and the man behind the curtain for the association’s annual International Operators Conference (IOC), held this year in San Diego.
A Boeing Business Jet heading to Geneva for the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in late May marked a notable milestone by becoming the first business jet to cross the North Atlantic using future air navigation system (FANS) technology to communicate with ATC.