Next Generation Air Transportation System
The FAA and the European Union signed an agreement to work together on NextGen research. The agreement, sealed in Budapest last month, calls for both sides to research the interoperability of avionics, communication protocols and procedures, as well as operational methods under NextGen and its European counterpart, the Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar).
Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG) Calvin Scovel III told Congress that technical problems continue to plague the en route automation modernization (Eram) project. This nationwide upper-airspace flight data and management system is necessary for full National Airspace System introduction of ADS-B, DataComm and system-wide information management (Swim).
Mention ADS-B in a group of pilots and the likely result is puzzled looks and a change of subject. To many pilots, ADS-B is something that is coming someday, and they’ll learn about it when forced to. There is an easier way, however, and it’s not terribly expensive, in relative terms. Instead of going for a full-blown ADS-B in or out or both installation, which can cost thousands of dollars, why not run ADS-B on your Apple iPad?
Thales is adding four new functions to the TopDeck avionics suite it has developed for Sikorsky’s new S-76D. The initial version of the cockpit will complete certification in the next few months, ahead of the helicopter’s anticipated approval by the end of 2011, and additional options should be ready for service-entry next year.
Sikorsky’s new S-76D is the latest application for the Vigor health usage and management system (HUMS) developed by Goodrich’s Sensors and Integrated Systems division.
Kaman and Lockheed Martin continue to expand the missions being flown by the unmanned K-Max helicopter at the Army’s Yuma, Ariz., Proving Ground. The helicopter recently made multiple guided airdrops at 10,000 feet msl. The 16 payloads airdropped included medical equipment, food, simulated leaflets and bulk cargo and were programmed by the GPS-guided Joint Precision Delivery System (JPADS) or triggered from a remote ground control station.
While the general aviation industry has suffered recently, demand for GA products and services will continue to grow, paced by new business jets and light sport aircraft, the FAA told attendees at its annual aerospace forecast.
"Business aviation shows signs of rebounding," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "And weπre projecting growth in general aviation sectors, particularly in the jet and light sport aircraft sectors."
For those who manage the nation’s airports, the message coming out of their annual Washington Legislative Conference last month was one of gloom and doom.
Speakers warned attendees that House Republicans’ pledge to slash more than $32 billion from agency budgets over the next few months could affect everything from NextGen ATC modernization to the Essential Air Service (EAS) program.
Making good on promises of quick action on long-delayed FAA authorization, the Senate passed its "FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act" on February 17, with the House Transportation Committee approved is version of FAA reauthorization legislation a day earlier. The bill must now go to the House for a full vote.