Category Archives: exclusive

Visualizing NextGen concepts for a general audience

Airspace capacity estimator - 2030

As anyone who has ever tried to explain NextGen to friends or family knows, it’s not always easy to communicate NAS capacity issues to a lay audience.

I’ve gotten interested in how information graphics and rich web scripting tools can help make some of these concepts more approachable.  Here’s my first experiment, a simple app that allows you to play with factors that may contribute to capacity needs in 2030.

Move the sliders, and see how the factors affect passenger counts, ATC operations, delays, etc.

Leave a comment

Filed under exclusive

EXCLUSIVE: Bruce Holmes on the end of DayJet and the future of commercial aviation

If you’ve heard of DayJet Corporation, the JPDO, NASA’s Langley Research Center, or the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, then you know a little something about the career trajectory of Bruce Holmes. Over a 30-year period, Holmes went from flight instructor and test pilot, to aeronautical engineer, to a Chief Strategist role at Langley, to advocate for the decentralization of passenger aviation in the United States. After a stint at the JPDO in the office’s early days, he joined Ed Iacobucci at DayJet Corporation — the world’s first digitally-managed, per-seat on-demand air taxi service.

In this wide-ranging interview — one of his first since DayJet Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection — Holmes talks to Fly NextGen about DayJet’s final months, the future of per-seat on-demand, and what’s needed to make NextGen a reality.

Some quotes:

On DayJet’s potential: “We were convinced that we could produce efficiency gains at least in the range of 15 percent, and quite a bit more than that, in many cases.”

On the Eclipse 500: “The airplane [..] wasn’t quite ready for intensive utilization.  We needed the ability to create a fleet dispatch reliability of 90%; this was not possible at the early stage of maturity of the airplane, meaning we depended on having many more aircraft in the fleet than those required for revenue service.”

Hurdles for NextGen: “The hard part in front of us is that industry has some major decisions they would make but cannot because of the absence of policy on the part of government. The simple truth is that the legacy carriers are not in a position financially to adopt new technology. They just can’t.”

No national vision? “Right now, there is a sort of brain block between the federal sector and the state and municipal level in terms of public policy for funding infrastructure at small airports for this fairly new purpose of public transportation to and from smaller airports. [..] We don’t have a national air transportation policy.”

Leave a comment

Filed under exclusive, voices

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Charlie Leader, Director, Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO)

In our continuing series of exclusive interviews with NextGen newsmakers, we’re pleased to present an in-depth conversation with Charlie Leader, Director of the JPDO.

Some quotes:

We need to make more progress with the net-centric operations piece. The aviation information-sharing infrastructure that underpins this is just critical. We’ve made frustratingly slow progress in that area, but I think we’re poised to have that change fairly dramatically.

There’s been criticism in the past that the JPDO has created these incredibly complex plans that are not accessible to people. I think, first of all, to criticize the complexity is relatively naïve, because this is an incredibly complex project.

We have an expression in JPDO — we say that agencies are playing budget chicken. So the FAA will say, “Well, we don’t really have a requirement for that, so we’re not going to pay for it, but if DoD will pay for it, we’ll use it.” And DoD will say, “Well, we don’t really need it – actually, it looks to us like you need it.”

To read the entire interview, click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under exclusive

EXCLUSIVE: Embry-Riddle’s Christina Frederick talks to Fly NextGen about politics, next month’s big test, and why she’s nervous about a ‘huge FAA shakeup’

On November 18th, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will host a demo of some key systems around ERAM (En Route Automation Modernization) and TMA (Traffic Management Advisor) at its NextGen test bed facility in Daytona Beach. It’s a high-profile moment for the University, which has been lobbying heavily for funds that will allow it to develop and implement new technologies across the ATC spectrum.

Embry-Riddle’s VP of Research, Dr. Christina Frederick-Recascino, spoke to Fly NextGen about the demo as well as a wide range of related NextGen topics, including her hopes and fears for a new administration in Washington.

To read the interview from the beginning, start here.

Selected quotes:

On Embry-Riddle’s focus: “What’s really important to think about is that NextGen is not just aviation. It’s aerospace technology, it’s engineering, it’s the impact on the traveler.” (Link)

On who’s invited to the November demonstration: “The type of people that we want at this demo are people from the FAA who need to see that these disparate systems coming from different companies can be married together and could be implemented, you know, across the country.” (Link)

Research priorities: “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.” (Link)

On the post-inauguration FAA: “You don’t want someone coming who knows absolutely nothing — that would, I think, be a real setback.” (Link)

Message to Washington: “Please don’t stop now, don’t take that money that was lined up for NextGen and say, gosh, it’s better spent somewhere else.” (Link)

1 Comment

Filed under exclusive, news