Rockwell Collins CEO Clay Jones may not be a pessimist when it comes to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). But the leader of one of the world’s major avionics manufacturers is not brimming with optimism either.
Next Generation Air Transportation System
As the aviation subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives wrestles with deciding which of the FAA’s 402 Air Traffic Control facilities should be remodeled and which ones should be combined to reduce operating costs, Congressmen have been hearing testimony from the FAA, DOT and National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) offi
Under a new agreement, ITT Exelis will provide its real-time integrated NextGen flight-tracking data to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for academic research and analysis at its Daytona Beach, Fla. campus. ERAU said it could analyze the surveillance data to enhance electronic flight management systems, giving pilots better situational awareness and conflict detection/resolution.
Participation in the next-generation European airspace system will require business aircraft operators to invest in new equipment–to the tune of some $3.45 billion between now and 2024–as the concept of “first-come, first-served” is gradually retired, Patrick Ky, executive director of the Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) Joint Undertaking, told EBACE attendees yesterday.
Northrop Grumman (Stand 2321) announced here at EBACE that Cessna has chosen its navigation systems for the Citation Latitude business jet. One selection is the LCR-100 attitude and heading reference system, which uses both inertial navigation and GPS information.
“All of aviation, including general and business aviation, as well as the airlines, is working together really well to continually improve the environment,” NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen declared last month during opening comments on a panel discussion about the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme. But he quickly added, “We are also working together to fight wrong-headed environmental regulations that don’t work.”
Last month AIN reported on the disturbing increase in reports of GPS interference and deliberate jamming and raised the question of continuing GPS reliability if these incidents (attributable to small portable jammers used by truckers to obfuscate their whereabouts) increase in numbers and transmitted power.
It’s clear that the final release of the FAA’s Authorization Act has given a new fillip to the agency’s NextGen implementation activity. The 2012 Plan, released in March, has a much more upbeat flavor than its 2011 predecessor, which essentially looked backwards at accomplishments in 2010, when most activities were still in their early stages. Back then, the potential future benefits of NextGen were just that–potential.
Although the FAA has begun hiring and training more than 12,000 air traffic controllers to offset the large numbers of impending retirees, a disturbing number of new hires fail to complete their training, according to a January report from the DOT Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
At the FAA, some say, program management has traditionally been an oxymoron. Several past and current programs attest to that assessment, one of them being NextGen’s En Route Advanced Modernization (Eram) system, which faces significant delays and cost overruns. Delivery of that system’s upgrade could now slip from 2010 to 2016, and its costs go from $2.15 billion to $2.65 billion.