The FAA has extended for a second year an operational evaluation of pilot initiated climbs and descents using in-trail procedures (ITP) in Pacific Ocean airspace. The trial involves 12 United Airlines Boeing 747-400s flying between the U.S. West Coast and Australia and New Zealand. Having extended the evaluation to Aug. 15, 2013, the agency said that it is also holding “exploratory conversations” with ANA and Japan Airlines to include some of their aircraft in the process.
Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast
Garmin has introduced two new avionics products targeting the Part 25 transport category market, the new GTS 8000 Tcas II unit and GTX 3000 mode-S transponder. Both new products received FAA TSO certification on August 7 and will be fitted on upcoming new jets featuring Garmin G5000 avionics suites, including the Cessna Citation Ten, Latitude and Longitude and Bombardier Learjet 70 and 75. Both also can interface with any Garmin G1000 through G5000 system and so will be available for retrofit programs, according to avionics product manager Bill Stone.
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.
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.