Once the exclusive domain of the military and, with few exceptions, flying outside controlled airspace, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now slowly nudging their noses under the civil tent. Already, USAF RQ-4 Global Hawks routinely fly across the U.S.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
“Despite several crises, air traffic growth continues inexorably in Europe but with delays reaching an all-time low, the average delay per flight now standing at less than two minutes,” said Bo Redeborn, Eurocontrol director of ATM strategies, at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition earlier this year.
Senior U.S. and international government and industry officials told specialists attending two meetings recently that by 2020 as many as 100 satellites could be radiating GPS-compatible navigation signals to air, sea and land users, with the overwhelming proportion of users being on land.
The FAA has approved Rannoch as a class-1 provider of ASDI (aircraft situational display to industry) data, adding the company to the list of services that offer online subscribers access to real-time flight information. Rannoch said it will use the flight-tracking data as part of its AirScene suite of services. Currently about 20 companies are FAA-approved as class-1 ASDI data providers.
Performance-based navigation was identified in ICAO’s Future Air Navigation System concept of the early 1990s, which defined required navigation performance capability as a parameter “describing lateral deviations from assigned or selected track as well as along-track position-fixing accuracy on the basis of an appropriate containment level.”
A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asserts that certain FAA ATC systems are vulnerable to attack by “disgruntled current or former employees who are familiar with these (proprietary protection) features, nor will they keep out more sophisticated hackers.”
Eurocontrol and other aviation stakeholders across Europe have agreed on the outline of a plan to address ATC communications safety issues. These include callsign confusion, undetected simultaneous transmissions, radio interference, lack of standard phraseology and prolonged loss of communication. Authorities expect to implement the action plan early next year.
The FAA has approved handling agent Air Routing International to file and amend business aircraft flight plans directly with the agency’s Host ATC system. The Houston-based company says the approval will increase the efficiency of its flight-planning operations.
Traditionally, the FAA has implemented a Special Traffic Management Program (STMP) for operations at NBAA Convention airports. However, for this year’s convention–to be held November 9 to 11 in Orlando, Fla.–local FAA facilities will manage departure demand without a reservation require- ment at nearby airports. For arrivals, the FAA will use a new type of ground delay program called GAAP, introduced in late 2004.
There is no question that ATC radar is expensive. Indeed, many smaller airports can’t afford to pay a radar-qualified controller, let alone buy the hardware. But help may be at hand. With many years’ experience in the avionics field, particularly in the development of DME equipment, London-based electronics company Kinetic Avionic Products has devised a “virtual radar” that is small, lightweight and inexpensive.