The DOT Office of Inspector General plans to begin an audit of the FAA’s initiatives to address ATC staffing levels on September 7. For years, various groups have expressed concern that some ATC facilities are either under- or over-staffed. “However, determining the extent of those imbalances is problematic,” said the IG office, because staffing is affected by a number of issues.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
A Government Accountability Office study of five foreign air navigation service providers, including Nav Canada, found that since “commercialization,” all have maintained safety, controlled costs and improved efficiency. All five have invested in new technologies that they say lowered costs by increasing controllers’ productivity and produced operating efficiencies, such as fewer or shorter delays.
Just two locations–Atlantic City, N.J., and Wichita–are in service to provide ground-based aircraft height monitoring to meet RVSM altitude-performance requirements. Cleveland and a yet-to-be-determined city in Arizona are slated to go into service “soon.” Roanoke, Va., and two cities in Canada are also behind schedule.
The FAA is expected to announce a major ILS contract award within the next 90 days, according to agency insiders. As currently written, the contract will call for the purchase and installation of as many as 615 instrument landing systems between 2007 and 2013. The large majority of systems will provide precision approaches at new locations while the balance will replace older equipment.
In a first for an avionics installer, Duncan Aviation has certified and installed the Universal Avionics EFI-890R retrofit cockpit system in a customer Challenger 600. Part of Duncan’s Glass Box Project–which seeks to pair appropriate avionics upgrade hardware with various business airplanes–the Challenger cockpit features four 8- by 9-inch LCD flight displays and a 4- by 6-inch MFD-640 multifunction display.
The FAA’s industry-government Management Advisory Council (MAC) is recommending that the agency take several steps to save money, including consolidating some Tracons, contracting out more VFR control towers and reducing the number of FAA regions.
Rockwell Collins’s new SAT-6100 satellite communication system made its world debut aboard the Bombardier Global 5000 at the Paris Air Show last month.
They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows. So, it seems, does loran, which has recently been recognized by four quite disparate groups: the U.S. Congress, the government of France, the telecommunications industry and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). But in Washington, inter-agency budget struggles cloud further progress with the system.
The six-ton I-4 communications satellite Inmarsat launched in late March has taken over satcom transmission routing responsibility from the previous I-3 satellite covering the Indian Ocean Region, according to Inmarsat officials. While this news might not have much immediate impact on the average satcom user, there will be a notable change once Inmarsat switches on the I-4 satellite’s SwiftBroadband high-speed-data services late next year.
SATS, the small aircraft transportation system research program funded jointly by industry and government, concludes later this year, five years after it superseded the Agate (advanced general aviation transportation experiment) program, which set this ball rolling in the mid-1990s.