The Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) last week publicly released the final report that its Flight Deck Automation (FDA) working group delivered to the FAA in September. The FDA group was established by PARC, which provides industry-led guidance for the FAA, to address the safety and efficiency of modern flight-deck systems for flight-path management, including energy-state management, for both current and future operational use.
Required Navigation Performance
Because air traffic controllers are increasingly making traffic separation decisions based upon an aircraft’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS) capability–or lack thereof–the FAA has begun updating aircraft equipment suffixes for traffic operating in U.S. domestic airspace. For instance, a GNSS-equipped aircraft may now fly a random route without the need for ATC radar monitoring, where previously radar was always required.
It is becoming more and more likely that in coming histories of aviation, the key major milestones will include the introduction of jet aircraft, the widespread adoption of satellite positioning and the arrival of required navigation performance (RNP). Jets and satnav are now irreplaceable elements that we take for granted.
American Airlines has spent some $400 million in the past few years to retrofit its existing fleet for the planned NextGen flight environment in the U.S. But at this stage it has not seen the operational benefits it had hoped for, according to the airline’s director of airspace modernization and advanced technologies.
Airbus and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Air Traffic Management Bureau signed an agreement to cooperate on modernizing China’s air traffic management (ATM) system with the goal of improving air transport capacity and efficiency. Led by Airbus’s ProSky ATM subsidiary, the ATM initiative accompanies a broader collaboration between Airbus and the CAAC on aviation safety, a five-year extension of which the parties announced last Friday.
Horizon Air has received FAA approval to fly instrument approaches to required navigation performance (RNP) 0.1 standards in its Bombardier Q400s equipped with Universal Avionics UNS-1Ew flight management systems. The UNS-1Ew Waas/SBAS FMS enables Horizon pilots to fly stable 3-D flight paths to touchdown at airports in the Northwest U.S. that have published RNP approaches, but now to lower RNP 0.1 minimums. Compared to traditional but non-RNP approaches, the RNP approaches have been shown to save time and fuel.
The FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization program faces long-term technical risks and still uncertain acceptance by airspace users. But after a decade in development, NextGen could be stalled by a nearer-term threat: substantially reduced funding from Congress. In June, the House appropriations committee released transportation funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2014 that would reduce the FAA’s capital funding account, which supports NextGen programs, to its lowest level since 2000.
The FAA claims the NextGen Air Transportation System initiative is progressing, according to its recently issued NextGen Implementation Plan report, which projects a reduction in delays of 41 percent by the end of the mid-term implementation period in 2020.
The FAA’s NextGen Air Transportation System initiative is progressing, according to the agency’s recently issued NextGen implementation plan report. While the report focuses on improvements to airspace and navigation capabilities, the implementation plan, and especially appendix A, provides a detailed summary of technologies already implemented or planned as part of NextGen, a useful guide for those wanting to learn about ADS-B and other systems.
Airbus has chosen the ACSS T3CAS traffic management computer as the standard surveillance avionics suite for the Airbus single-aisle narrowbody family of aircraft (A318, A319, A320 and A321). T3CAS combines–in a single LRU–key surveillance avionics, including traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas), terrain awareness warning system (Taws), Mode S transponder with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) OUT and also ADS-B IN functions (airborne traffic situation awareness). T3CAS is also available on the A330, according to ACSS (Chalet A306).
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