The FAA should implement more precision-based approaches and departures and expand surveillance services to best take advantage of existing capabilities in the air traffic control system, a NextGen air transportation system task force report recommended Sept. 9.
AOPA participated in the government-industry task force charged with recommending near- and mid-term improvements to the air traffic control system and worked to ensure that continued access to airspace was one of the key recommendations in the final report submitted to the FAA.
“AOPA is energized by the commitment of the user community and the FAA to NextGen,” said AOPA Senior Director of Airspace and Modernization Heidi Williams, “and as a result of AOPA’s involvement in those discussions, GA users will be able to experience better access to existing technologies and services.”
NextGen modernization plans call for transitioning from ground-based to satellite-based navigation and surveillance in order to increase safety, efficiency, and capacity in the airspace system. RTCA, a not-for-profit corporation that develops consensus-based recommendations for the aviation industry, created the task force at the request of the FAA to give recommendations about how to implement improvements between now and 2018. Its main recommendations were to improve surface traffic management; increase runway access; relieve congestion and tarmac delays at major metropolitan airports and surrounding airspace; improve efficiency of cruise operations by increasing the ability to disseminate real-time airspace status and schedules; and improving access to airports and services.
AOPA has worked to ensure that NextGen modernization will include incentives for GA equipage and will result in real benefits for GA users. By implementing more precision-based approaches and departures and expanding surveillance services to areas not currently under radar surveillance, the FAA can ensure that pilots benefit from WAAS and ADS-B equipage.
AOPA staff also attended a series of meetings recently with a number of the FAA’s NextGen and ADS-B team to discuss ways AOPA and the FAA can continue working in partnership on NextGen initiatives following the RTCA final report. FAA staff included Vincent Capezzuto, director of surveillance and broadcast services, Victoria Cox, senior vice president of NextGen and operations planning, and Dr. Mike Romanowski, director of operational evolutionary partnership integration and implementation.
By Sarah Brown
The FAA’s cooperative approach to NextGen air transportation system planning is important to finding the best ways to improve our transportation system, AOPA President Craig Fuller said at a NextGen conference Sept. 15.
A modernized air traffic control system will improve safety and efficiency for all system users, and general aviation pilots will be willing to adopt new technologies if the price is reasonable and the benefits clear, Fuller said at “NowGen NEXT,” a conference held to present the NextGen Mid-Term Implementation Task Force’s recommendations for improvements to the air traffic control system. Leaders of the government-industry task force presented the recommendations at the one-day conference, organized by Avionics Magazine in partnership with RTCA, an organization that develops consensus-based recommendations for the aviation industry.
“I believe that the RTCA task force on NextGen, with its diverse participation, is a great model of how different elements of the aviation community can work together to address the needs and concerns of all stakeholders at the earliest stages of project development,” Fuller said in a “Community Perspectives” panel after the task force’s recommendations were presented. AOPA members have played an important role in adopting GPS technology and testing and refining ADS-B, he added.
“General aviation pilots have always been quick to adopt new technologies, particularly when the safety and utility of that technology is evident,” Fuller said. The recommendations in the task force report are a good start toward ensuring that NextGen technology is priced reasonably and has clear benefits for GA pilots, he added.
AOPA participated in the task force and worked to ensure that continued access to airspace was one of the key recommendations in the final report. Fuller noted that the recommended expansion of surveillance services into airports that don’t currently have radar and implementation of LPV approaches at airports that don’t currently offer precision approaches have the potential to create enormous efficiencies throughout the National Airspace System.
September 15, 2009