AOPA this week gave two staff members of the House aviation subcommittee a glimpse of up and coming GA technologies like automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) and the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). That's because these staff members are the key advisers to the congressmen on the subcommittee who soon will have a hearing on the modernization of air traffic control.
"It is important that these staff members - who are not pilots - have an understanding of how these technologies work before heading into a hearing about ATC modernization," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Now, they have experienced firsthand how these technologies work in a GA aircraft and how they can help the GA pilot."
The staff members saw just how ADS-B worked in the cockpit to provide pilots with weather and traffic information. And they learned how a WAAS approach and an ILS approach are virtually the same inside the cockpit. WAAS, which improves GPS accuracy, has precision approach capabilities that could increase access to airports across the country.
AOPA also gave the two a taste of GA on the ground. They toured the Frederick Municipal Airport beside AOPA's headquarters in Frederick, Maryland (and stopped for a bite at the airport restaurant), and learned about the importance of hangar development, GA airport businesses, and encroachment prevention.
April 13, 2006