Boeing Business Jet operators are being invited to join an airborne trial of controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) over the North Atlantic as part of an evaluation by airlines of future air navigation system (FANS) concepts.
Controller Pilot Data Link Communications
Sharp rises in the number of airline flights originating from airports in the U.S. and Europe are presenting FAA and Eurocontrol officials with some daunting challenges. Chief among these is the question of how to squeeze more capacity from airports and ATC route systems that in some places already seem stretched to the breaking point.
It is no secret that the FAA in the last several months has been forced to shelve a number of important ATC modernization projects. But now a blunt assessment by Department of Transportation inspector general Kenneth Mead accuses the agency of misjudging the technological maturity of the canceled programs and failing to gauge their true costs.
“Business aviation operators are becoming much more sophisticated about the ways they can use their airplanes outside the United States,” said Bill Stine, NBAA’s director of international operations and the man behind the curtain for the association’s annual International Operators Conference (IOC), held this year in San Diego.
A Boeing Business Jet heading to Geneva for the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in late May marked a notable milestone by becoming the first business jet to cross the North Atlantic using future air navigation system (FANS) technology to communicate with ATC.
In the light of the European Union’s final go-ahead given to the “Single European Sky” (SES) initiative, speakers at the Jane’s ATC Maastricht Conference (see box) engaged in a lively debate about how to enhance air-traffic management performance.
A prominent moment of the 2003 International Operators Conference in Colorado Springs occurred just after the first day’s sessions. With dozens of pilots and aviation department managers standing around a nearby television, President Bush warned Saddam Hussein that the Americans and their allies were on the way. The war in Iraq erupted soon afterwards.
At about the same time Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta was announcing plans for a “next-generation air transportation system” to the Washington Aero Club in late January, word was filtering out of the White House that the Bush Administration wanted to cut the FAA’s facilities and equipment (F&E) budget for fiscal year 2005 by almost half a billion dollars.
Thales Avionics is in the final development phase of a new avionics suite, dubbed Top Deck, for regional and large business jets. It uses four 13.6-in LCD screens and has an “intuitive” man-machine interface.
Last month, FAA COO Russell Chew told a standing-room-only audience at the annual conference of the U.S. Air Traffic Control Association that a widening gap between the falling income and rising expenses of the agency’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) could reach a cumulative $8.2 billion over the next five years and he said the FAA must take positive actions to close this gap.