German air navigation service provider (ANSP) Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) said that its plan to significantly raise the user fees it charges airlines resulted from less-than-forecast air traffic. The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has denounced the plan and warned that Germany’s airspace will become the most expensive in Europe.
Air traffic control
India has completed its ground network for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) tracking of aircraft, according to supplier Comsoft. The German company announced on June 12 that it has finished installing seven new ADS-B ground stations under a second phase of the deployment, which India has integrated into its ATC system.
FreeFlight Systems CEO Tim Taylor debunked the “myth” that aircraft operators delaying installation of ADS-B avionics would be able to purchase lower-cost units with more features later on. Testifying yesterday afternoon on behalf of GAMA at a U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee hearing about NextGen 2020 equipment mandates for general aviation, Taylor noted that the FAA set the ADS-B standards way in advance and that the functionality of an ADS-B unit bought today will be the same as that of an ADS-B unit bought on Jan.
The Houston Metroplex project took a step forward toward full NextGen usage on May 29 with the implementation of a number of new performance-based navigation procedures (PBN). The local controlling body, Houston Center, eventually plans to bring 60 new procedures online for George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston Hobby and a number of satellite airports in the area.
Later this month, the FAA plans to begin testing a new lighting system at Boston Logan Airport that will warn arriving pilots when their runway is occupied by another aircraft. Called the enhanced final approach runway occupancy signal (eFaros), the new system flashes the existing precision approach path indicator lights to indicate the runway is not safe for landing long before the aircraft is committed to touchdown.
UK manufacturer Aveillant last week unveiled a 3-D radar system capable of watching aircraft continuously to distances of 40 nm from the antenna. Since the new system’s antenna does not rotate it is capable of direct contact with the aircraft at all times. It then measures distance and altitude by tracking the target’s Doppler shift and reports back with speed, altitude and direction-of-flight information. The first demonstration of the system is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.
The FAA has reminded operators that continued operations within reduced vertical separation minimum airspace require aircraft maintenance in accordance with RVSM maintenance guidelines. The agency is concerned that many operators bring aircraft in for maintenance and fail to adequately document compliance with RVSM standards.
A curious conundrum is causing confusion for international business jet operators flying to countries where ADS-B out equipment and capability is mandatory. While there is no requirement in the U.S. and Europe for operators to have a letter of authorization (LOA) for using ADS-B out equipment, some Asia-Pacific countries are requiring that operators carry an LOA with their aircraft’s paperwork when operating in airspace where ADS-B out is required. The problem is that asking FAA inspectors to add yet another LOA package to their overburdened workflows further delays issuance.
A diverse panel of four aviation stakeholders kicked off the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 13th annual aviation summit this spring in Washington, D.C., with a lively discussion of NextGen that seemed to indicate that all sides are moving closer to consensus on how the system should be built and funded.
The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive for certain Rockwell Collins TDR-94 and TDR-94D mode-S transponders. The AD was prompted by instances of the transponders not properly responding to mode-S only all-call interrogations when the airplane transitioned from a ground to airborne state.