The recently announced Aireon joint venture to provide aircraft position reports from Iridium satellites equipped with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) receivers will help close gaps in the already extensive ADS-B coverage provided by Nav Canada, an Aireon partner.
Reduced longitudinal separation minimum [RLongSM], an ATC pilot program in the North Atlantic, produced no safety events during a nine-month evaluation period last year. “Normal longitudinal separation is ten minutes,” explained Dave Stohr, president of Air Training International. “The trial was running with five minutes between appropriately equipped and approved aircraft.”
FAA Order JO 7110.65 is the manual–some call it the “ATC bible”–that air traffic controllers turn to for guidance about ATC procedures and phraseology. Last week, the Agency updated a few procedures to reflect a change in thinking about speeds and aircraft separation.
For U.S. Part 91 business jet operators that fly to Europe, the upcoming Future Air Navigation System (Fans) mandate means not only new operational procedures but also yet another letter of authorization (LOA) requirement from the FAA. Fans and controller pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) are essentially functions that will be baked into the flight management system (FMS), yet each operator’s implementation of procedures, training and a maintenance program for Fans/CPDLC will need a formal stamp of approval from a local FAA office.
For U.S. airplane owners and operators the simple four-letter acronym RVSM (for reduced vertical separation minimums, the process for reducing to 1,000 feet the separation between airplanes flying above 29,000 feet) signals the beginning of an onerous process to get formal permission from the FAA to fly in what has become an ordinary fashion.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating a separation error between two Airbus A330s on March 30 in the far-northwest corner of the continent.
Air traffic controllers traditionally watch out for each other as a group, knowing full well that few people outside towers and radar rooms truly understand the daily pressures of keeping airplanes safely separated. But a report last week shows there just might be a kink in that armor of solidarity.
The FAA has issued Technical Standard Order (TSO) C-195a covering ADS-B Aircraft Surveillance Applications. The TSO means that new ADS-B surveillance applications, both systems and equipment, must meet minimum operational performance standards outlined in RTCA DO-317a, issued December 13 last year.
Like the key air transport sectors that it serves, Honeywell’s worldview is increasingly shifting eastward as markets in the Middle East and Asia continue to show strong growth. And the emphasis of the U.S. group’s technological development work remains focused on trying to ensure that traffic growth can be achieved without compromising safety.
The expected release in December of a proposed rule governing the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the U.S. national airspace system (NAS) will be a definitive step in the phased introduction of robotic aircraft in civilian airspace.