The FAA launched the second and third major acquisitions of the NextGen ATC modernization effort, naming Harris both to replace existing point-to-point voice switches with a networked system and to build a nationwide air/ground data communications (data comm) network.
Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast
Because runway incursions are on everyone’s radar (they have been on the NTSB’s “most wanted transportation safety improvements list” since 1990), the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General plans to look more closely at how the FAA is managing the airport surface detection equipment–model X (ASDE-X) program. ASDE-X provides detailed information to air traffic controllers, but not directly to pilots, about aircraft runway and taxiway operations.
Mandates requiring business jet operators that fly to Europe to equip their aircraft for datalink communications with ATC are fast approaching. The price of non-compliance will be higher costs and longer trips as operators are forced to fly at sub-optimal altitudes and on less direct oceanic routes.
It has been almost two-and-a-half years since the FAA issued “Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS–B) Out Performance Requirements to Support Air Traffic Control (ATC) Service.” The final rule sets forth the requirements for use of ADS-B in the National Airspace System and mandates compliance by Jan. 1, 2020. Throughout the industry there have been complaints of lack of equipment and high costs.
The director of Lockheed Martin’s En route Automation Modernization (Eram) program has said the system’s deployment across the U.S. is on schedule and on budget since the FAA recalculated, or “rebaselined,” its cost and schedule in June last year.
An article in AIN’s September issue addressed concerns that have been raised about the security of the ADS-B system, which is headed for widespread deployment around the world. ADS-B is designed to replace radar as the primary method for surveillance of airborne traffic.
Both Gander and Shanwick oceanic control areas (OCAs) are conducting a trial of reduced longitudinal separation standards–five minutes between eligible aircraft–in North Atlantic airspace. The separation minimum for turbojets maintaining constant Mach on the same longitudinal track in the North Atlantic minimum navigation performance specifications (MNPS) airspace is 10 minutes.
A new FAA Advisory Circular–Change 1 to AC 150/5220-26–updates vehicle requirements for the use of ADS-B with squitter output, soon to become necessary in ground vehicles on most major commercial airports using ASDE-X systems.
Last year there were a handful of companies promoting devices that could capture weather and traffic signals from the growing network of ADS-B ground stations deployed around the U.S. This year, the market and the makers of ADS-B devices have exploded, and buyers now have an array of choices.
The good news is that these devices are now available for both Android and Apple devices. The even better news is that some manufacturers have added fairly significant capabilities to their ADS-B devices, although some of these have yet to begin deliveries.
The ADS-B system that is the cornerstone of the FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization plan is at risk of serious security breaches, according to Brad Haines, a hacker and network security consultant who is worried about ADS-B vulnerabilities. Haines first outlined his concerns during a presentation he gave at the Def Con 20 hacker conference in Las Vegas in July.