The FAA’s industry-government Management Advisory Council (MAC) is recommending that the agency take several steps to save money, including consolidating some Tracons, contracting out more VFR control towers and reducing the number of FAA regions.
Next Generation Air Transportation System
With Transportation Department Inspector General Kenneth Mead predicting the busiest summer travel season in six years, the Senate aviation subcommittee has been warned that capacity constraints are likely to cause congestion and get progressively worse before they get better.
Leaders of several general aviation groups have been named to help the FAA Joint Planning and Development Office create a next generation air transportation system (NGATS) for 2025. NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen, AOPA president Phil Boyer, GAMA president Pete Bunce and Helicopter Association International president Roy Resavage will join other aviation officials on the NGATS Institute management council.
In the ongoing debate about what the next generation air transportation system (NGATS) should entail, the Air Traffic Control Association held a symposium in Washington in late June to discuss “Rightsizing the NAS.”
Where will aviation be in 20 years? What will the traffic mix look like in 2025? How many airplanes, how many passengers, how many airports, how many runways? How will we manage it all to achieve even higher levels of safety and security than we have today? And finally, how much will it cost to get there?
If there’s one thing that FAA COO Russell Chew has going for him as he faces $8.3 billion in budget losses by 2009, it’s that he has lots of people on the sidelines giving him advice.
While most speakers discussed current training issues and new learning concepts at the Air Traffic Control Association’s recent “ATC Training for the Future” conference, one presenter proposed that tomorrow’s air traffic controllers should possess, at minimum, a bachelor of science degree with emphasis on mathematics, computer science, engineering, probability theory and interpersonal psychology from an accredited university.
The FAA is more than two years behind schedule for commissioning equipment designed to improve runway surveillance to reduce incursions. Congress wants to know why and what can be done about it and asked the DOT Inspector General to launch an audit into the matter. While the FAA has procured 36 out of 38 Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X (ASDE-X) systems, it has commissioned only three for operational use.
There are more than 35,000 people living and working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, supported by nearly 650 helicopters flying as many as 9,000 flights each day. HAI worries about limited radio contact with air traffic controllers below 5,000 feet in areas where the minimum en route altitude is 1,500 feet. Also of concern is a lack of access to current weather data, which prevents IFR operations to several major Gulf oil platforms.
The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) Institute has named Stephen Fisher its executive director. A former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, he will oversee daily operations at the institute.
The NGATS Institute is an industry partnership supporting the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) in developing and implementing NGATS, a technologically advanced ATC system for the future.