Tag Archives: ERAM

Utah lawmakers, NATCA resist ERAM test

From the Associated Press:

Utah’s two U.S. senators are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to hold off testing a new computer system at a Salt Lake City air traffic control center that guides planes across portions of eight states.

Republican Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch wrote FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt on June 11, asking him to delay a test of the new system at the Salt Lake Air Route Traffic Control Center. [..] “Safety concerns demand that ERAM (the computer system) not be implemented until it meets and exceeds the standards of reliability and stability of the system it replaces,” the senators wrote.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the agency has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday with the union representing air traffic controllers to discuss the test. She said agency officials still have confidence the test can take place as planned.

The test is scheduled from midnight to 4 a.m. on June 18, said Doug Pincock, an air traffic controller [and NATCA rep — ed.] in Salt Lake City. During that period the main computer system that the control center has used for nearly two decades will be switched off and the new system, known as En route Automation Modernization, will be switched on, Pincock said.

Further information: NATCA’s press release; FAA ERAM fact sheet; Text of letter to Randy Babbitt from Sens. Bennett and Hatch.

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EXPLAINER: Everything you ever wanted to know about SESAR

Aviation Week’s David Esler has a very well-researched and in-depth article about SESAR, the European Union’s version of NextGen. It provides a lot of detail about how the two approaches differ (one example: NextGen implementation is being driven by the federal government, while SESAR is being driven by industry partnerships), and also examines questions of harmonization.

Interestingly, one of the key themes is “who’s further ahead?” See the following excerpt:

[On the topic of] who’s leading the parade toward 21st century ATM reform – both SJU [SESAR Joint Undertaking] and FAA solons diplomatically refused to describe themselves as ahead. Here’s what the SJU’s [Executive Director] Patrick Ky had to say: “We are maybe more advanced in how we want to organize our technical activities, whereas you in the United States are more advanced in the implementation of ADS-B. We have different contexts and different relationships with industry, but I think we are making sure with the FAA that we are moving in the same direction and fully in line with each other’s priorities.”

For the FAA perspective, we interviewed Steve Bradford, chief scientist of architecture and NextGen development. “That’s not accurate at all,” Bradford said when we queried whether the SJU was setting the pace in implementing ATM technology. “I’m not going to say we’re ahead, but we are spending money and have a full ADS-B implementation in progress and will have full service by 2013. And our new automation program, ERAM [En Route Automation Modernization], is ahead of schedule.”

We think any discussion of “who’s further ahead” is a bit like asking who’s winning a marathon at mile marker two.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about ERAM

Aviation Week has a fine overview of the soon-to-be-deployed En Route Automation Modernization system. A brief excerpt:

[The] ERAM system, developed by Lockheed Martin, represents one of the most complex and expensive upgrades the FAA has ever undertaken. ERAM is expected to begin controlling live traffic at the FAA’s Salt Lake City center late this month or early April, and at the Seattle center a few weeks later. Once the system has checked out at these two sites, it will be rolled out nationwide to the remaining 18 en route centers.

While problems remain as the operational date draws closer, they are not atypical at this point in such a large project, stress Lockheed Martin and FAA officials. The $2-billion ERAM effort is on schedule and within budget – something of a rarity for a major FAA modernization project.

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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)

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