Progress on the FAA’s ambitious NextGen overhaul of the ATC system in the U.S. has reached a vital juncture, one in which a long list of high-tech challenges confronting developers must be addressed quickly to avoid program delays and cost overruns in the future.
Air Traffic Organization
If NextGen were an upcoming movie, Swim–for system-wide information management (Swim)–would get top billing for its leading role, and would certainly pick up the Best Supporting Actor award as well. That would only be fair, since Swim will provide the glue that will hold all NextGen’s myriad components together, according to speakers at a recent FAA/Air Traffic Control Association New Technologies Symposium in Atlantic City.
Airport upgrades and the Next Generation Air Traffic System are part of the Obama Administration’s plans to invest more than $50 billion in the U.S.’s transportation infrastructure in the next year, the first installment of a six-year transportation strategy that includes creating an “infrastructure bank.” White House officials said the cost will be offset by raising taxes on oil and gas companies.
Presenters at an RTCA symposium in Washington, D.C., last week warned that the FAA’s ambitious NextGen overhaul of the ATC system in the U.S. faces daunting challenges that must be addressed now to avoid delays and cost overruns in the future. But FAA officials speaking at the event also pointed to progress in deploying ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) ground stations across the U.S.
President Obama announced in Milwaukee yesterday that airports and the Next Generation Air Traffic System will be part of a more than $50 billion investment in the U.S.'s transportation infrastructure in the next year, the first installment of a six-year transportation strategy that includes creating an “infrastructure bank.” White House officials said the cost will be offset by raising taxes on oil and gas companies.
A DOT Inspector General report warns that the FAA is facing several challenges that could delay its transition plan to NextGen. Most critically, the watchdog agency said, the FAA has not set realistic NextGen expectations and firm requirements for what can be achieved in the midterm and for assessing the associated risks.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the best part of a generation has been expended in talking up the promised benefits of the U.S. NextGen air traffic management system. But, like its counterpart Single European Sky program over here, NextGen is now becoming a reality and the ITT group is a big part of this reality.
The top official in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called on the nation to “acknowledge, recognize and deal with the conflicts between us all on the issues of general aviation and corporate aviation.”
Ask any politician or media person what NextGen is and what it will do,
and the chances are that the answers will include three common themes. First, you’ll hear that it uses satellites; second, it will be a boon to the traveling public; and third, it’s “on its way.” So far, so good. However, the devil is in the details, and NextGen has details in spades.
Separate testimonies late last month before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the DOT Inspector General raised serious issues concerning the FAA’s management of its NextGen project.