It’s clear that the final release of the FAA’s Authorization Act has given a new fillip to the agency’s NextGen implementation activity. The 2012 Plan, released in March, has a much more upbeat flavor than its 2011 predecessor, which essentially looked backwards at accomplishments in 2010, when most activities were still in their early stages. Back then, the potential future benefits of NextGen were just that–potential.
Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast
Just because there’s no FAA regulation requiring Part 91 operators to complete an official international training program before they blast off to other parts of the planet doesn’t mean skipping such a program is a good idea, even if it is legal.
NavWorx added Wi-Fi support to its line of ADS-B receivers and Universal Access Transceivers (UAT), enabling the exchange of data wirelessly with portable and panel-mounted display devices such as Garmin avionics and the Apple iPad. Its Wi-Fi-enabled WxBox can also receive free broadcast weather from a nationwide network of ADS-B stations. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi allows its ADS600-B UAT to wirelessly transmit ADS-B/TIS-B traffic and FIS-B weather and flight information to devices.
Among the new products announced yesterday at the 55th Aircraft Electronics Association Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., were more new ways to hook Apple iPads to cockpit electronics. Aspen Avionics is nearing certification of its Connected Panel iPad interface, now due by July.
Sporty’s Pilot Shop introduced a wire-free weather receiver for the iPad. Called Stratus, it combines an ADS-B and GPS receiver into a single unit that wirelessly streams Nexrad radar, text weather, TFRs and aircraft position to the ForeFlight Mobile app for iOS devices. The Wi-Fi connection allows multiple iPads to connect to Stratus, making it possible for two-pilot crews to view weather on separate iPads. There are no monthly subscription fees for the weather information, according to Sporty’s. Stratus costs $799.
The FAA’s $550 million system-wide information management (Swim) program to fashion a unified information management system from the various flight data, weather and advisory systems used in the National Airspace System calls to mind a hub-and-spoke computer network exchanging digital signals with the big iron in the sky.
Hilton Software has released a major update to its WingX Pro iPad moving-map software. Some of the improvements to WingX Pro version 6.2 include adding local and national Nexrad weather radar to ADS-B capability (available using the separate SkyRadar ADS-B unit), the ability to switch moving-map GPS information and airspace notifications on and off, adding a favorites function to the moving-map search and an improved timer function on the moving map.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) said it has demonstrated an early prototype of its “due regard” radar for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on a manned surrogate aircraft, joining other efforts to develop airborne “sense-and-avoid” systems that could help introduce UAS into unrestricted airspace.
Auburn University has selected Southeast Aerospace, of Melbourne, Fla., to develop an ADS-B STC for the Cessna 172S, which will also include an approved model list (AML) STC for ADS-B installations in a variety of similar aircraft models. The Auburn installation includes FreeFlight’s Rangr ADS-B out system, which is a 978 MHz UAT (universal access transceiver) solution. The system includes the FreeFlight FDL-978-TX Rangr UAT, TC-987 control head, RF decoder, 1201 GPS/Waas receiver, two L-band antennas and a GPS/Waas antenna.
With Congressional differences resolved, the FAA Reauthorization Bill has been signed by the President and is now a formal government act. A done deal, right? Well, perhaps not totally done. Those who read the October report of the FAA-sponsored Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) on implementation strategies for ADS-B in were certainly surprised to see that the bill called for in to be mandated in 2020, at the same time as ADS-B out.