Monthly Archives: December 2008

Port Authority, Continental agree to test GBAS at EWR

The Port Authority of NY&NJ has signed an agreement with the FAA and Continental Airlines to launch a test of the Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) at Newark’s Liberty airport. In this press release, the Port Authority said EWR will be the nation’s first major commercial hub to install the technology, which allows for tighter spacing and precision approaches by providing supplemental, real-time aircraft position data to controllers.

Continental will pony up $1.1 million to equip 15 aircraft with GBAS gear, while the FAA will chip in $2.5 million. Honeywell will install the ground equipment.

In reporting the story, the north jersey Record newspaper put in a call to the Newark NATCA chapter rep, with the following result

Ray Adams, vice president of the Newark-based chapter of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, welcomed the new technology as long as the GBAS is phased in and backed up by the radar system. He said space debris and other related issues could interfere with the satellite signal.

“It can be disrupted very easily,” he said. “If you lose the signal and you have 5,000 planes in the air, you’re in deep doody.”

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What does LaHood mean for NextGen?

That’s the question of the day, after reports emerged last night that Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) will be tapped as Transportation Secretary. LaHood is retiring from his Congressional seat after serving on the House Appropriations committee for several years; he served on the aviation subcommittee back in 2000 and is considered a friend of general aviation. Bloomberg has a pretty good political (i.e. not aviation-focused) wrap-up here.

If you have any thoughts or predictions, email them to editor (at) flynextgen (dot) com.

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NextGen events for 2009: avionics and more

A few conferences and events with a NextGen focus are emerging for Q1 2009:

  • JPDO is holding an “all-hands” meeting at NASA HQ on February 5.
  • The 7th annual Avionics conference is being held March 11-12 in Amsterdam with a fair amount of content related to NextGen. Military + Aerospace Electronics has a good overview; the full program is here. Speakers include Mark Ballin from NASA Langley, Lars Lindberg from AVTECH Sweden, Philip Clinch from SITA (Switzerland), Julio Ferreira from Embraer, and others.
  • Aviation Week is hosting an ADS-B Management Forum in Washington DC on March 26-27. Details here.

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Industry groups submit their X-mas list to Congress

A coalition of aerospace groups has written to congressional leaders, requesting a laundry list of credits and investments that would help large industry players. Signed by AOPA president-elect Craig Fuller, the letter asks for:

  • $1 billion for the Airport Improvement Program
  • $3 billion to fund NextGen avionics (i.e. ADS-B transceivers, etc.)
  • Elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax on certain airport bonds
  • Extension of tax incentives for aircraft purchases through 2011
  • Early phase-in of planned tax incentives for domestic manufacturing
  • A permanent R&D tax credit

The AOPA has a summary of the letter here; you can find the full text PDF here.

Among the signatories: the AIA, ATA, ACC, ACI-NA, AAAE, CAA, GAMA, NBAA, Nat’l Association of State Aviation Officials, and the RAA.

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A380’s auto-braking system should help prevent runway excursions: Airbus

Flight International has a good wrap-up of Airbus’ presentation about its new auto-braking system at last week’s FAA Safety Forum in Washington. An excerpt:

Available initially on the A380, the optional software upgrade includes Airbus’s brake-to-vacate (BTV) system that allows pilots to preset their desired turn-off point on a runway. The system automatically commands the aircraft’s auto-braking system to stop in the required distance with a deceleration profile that saves brake life.

Originally developed as a means of reducing runway occupancy time – hence its exposure to a runway incursion – the system has evolved into a more comprehensive tool to prevent runway excursions (aircraft veering off the runway during landing roll or exit).

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SESAR project officially launched

The European Commission formally launched SESAR today — that’s the EU’s version of NextGen. An excerpt from the AP wire on today’s event:

The EU said the new system should make flights safer, shorter and less polluting by helping air traffic controllers direct planes more efficiently.

In addition, the EU hopes the new system will enable a tripling of capacity, cut air traffic management costs by 50 percent, curb greenhouse gas emissions and achieve an overall punctuality rate of 95 percent, officials said.

“This is one of the most complex research and development programs ever launched in (Europe),” said Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission, the EU head office.

The EU is looking at a “launch date” of 2020, but which capabilities that exactly entails isn’t terribly clear at the moment.

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In brief: Sensis nabs NASA contract for weather data integration

Did you know that NASA operates an ATM simulator at their Langley Research Center? Well, turns out they do — it’s called ATOS, and Sensis just got a contact to provide integration of weather data into that system. (Press release here.)

A sidenote: while looking into ATOS, we found an interesting NASA factsheet summarizing the agency’s interest in helping to develop 4D trajectory-based flight operations.

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