Prominent aviation industry figures fear that a list of priorities developed to keep the NextGen ATC modernization effort on track during a time of funding pressure and ongoing “sequestration” budget cuts in the U.S. could undermine the ambitious, two-decade effort.
Air traffic control
Pilots and air traffic controllers within the European Union (EU) are applauding the European Parliament transport committee’s September 17 agreement to refine procedures necessary to establish a practical framework to collect and analyze aviation incident data and guarantee private information is not misused.
Chicago Jet Group received the first-ever Fans retrofit STC approval from the FAA on September 5, the company and partner Universal Avionics announced yesterday. The Fans 1/A+/controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) system, which was installed in a Dassault Falcon 50 that Chicago Jet group manages for a customer, uses an International Communications Group NxtLink ICS-220A Iridium satcom.
Stop-gap legislation enacted in late May enabled the FAA to abandon its budget-trimming plan–prompted by sequestration cuts imposed by Congress–to close the 149 contract air traffic control towers starting on June 15. However, the agency left open the possibility that the towers could be closed when the new fiscal year starts on October 1, which is now just two weeks away.
FreeFlight Systems has interfaced its Model 1201 Waas/GPS sensor with the Garmin GTX 330 mode-S transponder to provide an additional 1090-MHz extended-squitter ADS-B Out upgrade solution for GTX 330 owners. The upgrade solution gives aircraft owners more ADS-B Out equipage choices, depending on their aircraft type, existing avionics and flying requirements. It also ensures compliance with the FAA’s Jan.
The ATC committee of the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association (CABAA) can chalk up another win for local flight crews when a series of new IFR departure procedures for Chicago satellite airports take effect on October 17.
An August 27 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (IG) concludes that none of the 49 suggestions related to the hiring and training of new air traffic controllers outlined in the FAA’s independent review panel two years ago have been implemented.
China’s Air Traffic Management Bureau and Airbus’s air traffic management (ATM) company, ProSky, have signed an agreement to work together to modernize that country’s ATM system. The projects include updating the ILS systems at Beijing Capital Airport (ZBAA), conducting a capacity assessment at Chengdu International Airport (ZUUU) and other technology-based ATM improvements.
American Airlines has spent some $400 million in the past few years to retrofit its existing fleet for the planned NextGen flight environment in the U.S. But at this stage it has not seen the operational benefits it had hoped for, according to the airline’s director of airspace modernization and advanced technologies.
Online flight-planning service FltPlan.com has launched a completely redesigned website. The new site, which the company said is simplified and easier to navigate, features all the same previous tools, such as weather/notams, airports and FBOs, area fuel prices, nearby airports, quick trip information, digital charts, and aircraft tracking. This is the first major redesign of FltPlan.com since it started 14 years ago. Pilots create more than five million flight plans annually using FltPlan’s website and apps.