FLY NEXTGEN: Looking at the different areas of research that overlap around NextGen — which topics do you think are most critical?
CHRISTINA FREDERICK-RECASCINO: Where do you start? That’s a tough question. Let me put some Florida perspective on it. As you know, Florida is a real hub for NextGen implementation. I think that’s why this particular test facility, this particular consortium is very important. The ADS-B implementation is starting in Miami — Florida will be the first state, theoretically, that has full ADS-B implementation. And Embry-Riddle has been a long-time user of ADS-B. So that’s one area that will be incredibly useful –- our knowledge, coupled with the availability of ADS-B within the state of Florida. If you pair those two, the research, the testing or implementation projects that we could do using that technology as it gets implemented nationwide should provide best practices, lessons learned, and a blueprint for better implementation. That’s one area where we will be very involved in.
We’ll certainly also be involved fairly heavily in the air traffic management piece of the equation. The integration of weather — weather is a big interest of ours. And I think that weather is becoming more of an issue. As global climate change emerges and storms get more severe, the integration of better weather prediction and better weather displays is something we’re very interested in.
Another area of NextGen that some people may not see as NextGen but we would certainly add it to the mix is how unmanned systems are going to be integrated into the national airspace in a safe and effective manner. I think if you look at what’s the next generation of aircraft, the next generation of aircraft may be unmanned. The safety issues around letting unmanned aircraft of any size into the airspace are going to be important.
Then, I know an area that the consortium is interested in is surface management. We have Sensis as a partner, before they basically left the country we had TransTech [Control Ltd.] as a partner. There are some very interesting displays, digital displays out there that do a great job of surface management… Mosaic ATM with its virtual tower technology. Those are all emerging technologies — NextGen technologies — that we think will be important pieces of the larger puzzle.