Prime contractor Raytheon and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration have finished installing the standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars) at the first of 11 large terminal radar approach control (Tracon) facilities in the U.S. Air traffic controllers at the Dallas/Fort Worth Tracon started “continuous operation” with Stars ahead of schedule in early May, Raytheon announced at the Paris Air Show last month.
Air traffic control
With President Obama’s FAA budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014 awaiting action by Congress, 11 aviation organizations signed a joint letter to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations committees calling for continued funding for contract air traffic control towers.
Select executives inside the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration are pushing hard to impose user and special fees on general aviation as part of a strategy to bridge the gap between the agency’s expenditures and revenues from its traditional fees and taxes. This includes charging $1- to $2 million for air traffic control and other services at airshows. However, it appears the FAA could reap billions of dollars in cost savings simply by implementing better management and business practices.
The FAA’s NextGen Air Transportation System initiative is progressing, according to the agency’s recently issued NextGen implementation plan report. While the report focuses on improvements to airspace and navigation capabilities, the implementation plan, and especially appendix A, provides a detailed summary of technologies already implemented or planned as part of NextGen, a useful guide for those wanting to learn about ADS-B and other systems.
The Reason Foundation believes there is a positive relationship between a private ATC system and aviation safety. The U.S. conservative thinktank’s director of transportation, Bob Poole, cited a 1996 MBS Ottawa study that looked at 10 self-supporting air navigation service providers (ANSP) around the world and concluded that performance–measured by seven different indicators, including safety–under a corporate structure was as good as or better than when the respective governments ran ATC.
Most of the resources to reduce runway incursions are already in place, according to the FAA’s group manager for runway safety, Jim Krieger, who believes the problem is well understood by pilots, controllers, airport managers and airport vehicle drivers. “Most of what we do now is evaluate an incursion after it occurs,” Krieger told AIN. “We need to look at all of the [data] outcomes and become more predictive about these events.
The Civil Air Navigation Services Organization has launched an initiative to improve runway safety at airports that will provide a runway safety checklist for airports and air navigation service providers (ANSPs), as well as key tips for both pilots and air traffic controllers. The effort includes a revised and updated education bookleton runway excursions, Unstable Approaches–ATC Considerations,as well as a smartphone app.
Rockwell Collins has signed a series of contracts to supply the Bristow Group, SunExpress Airlines and Iberia Airlines with various avionics equipment. This includes TCAS for Bristow’s 44 Sikorsky helicopters and a package to allow the airline customers to comply with Eurocontrol’s Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) requirement.
Airbus has chosen the ACSS T3CAS traffic management computer as the standard surveillance avionics suite for the Airbus single-aisle narrowbody family of aircraft (A318, A319, A320 and A321). T3CAS combines–in a single LRU–key surveillance avionics, including traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas), terrain awareness warning system (Taws), Mode S transponder with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) OUT and also ADS-B IN functions (airborne traffic situation awareness). T3CAS is also available on the A330, according to ACSS (Chalet A306).
ITT Exelis has been awarded a $42 million contract from the Aireon venture to provide automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data processing and distribution for its satellite-based air traffic surveillance system. Aireon, a joint venture of Iridium Communications and Nav Canada, will provide aircraft position reports to subscribing air navigation service providers (ANSPs) using hosted ADS-B payloads on the Iridium Next constellation of satellites.