Advocating for NextGen

Representatives from a diverse group of industries and organizations joined Monday to discuss the successes and upcoming challenges of NextGen, the FAA’s initiative to modernize the nation’s air transportation system, and to warn in the last day of the fiscal year about sequestration budget cuts that threaten to impede NextGen’s progress.

“If we don’t keep moving forward on modernization with adequate funding for new technologies and capabilities, our nation’s air transportation system will be overcome by growing demand,” said Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “NextGen is a whole package — a system of systems approach. Piecemeal technological add-ons will not lead to the dramatic safety and efficiency gains NextGen promises.”

Providing the perspective of the airline industry, Captain Don Dillman, Airlines for America’s Managing Director of Flight Operations said, “Accelerated deployment of NextGen policies and procedures will modernize the U.S. aviation industry and make air travel even more efficient for passengers and shippers.”

Pilot Scott Rosenberg, who flies for Alaska Airlines, spoke about NextGen satellite-based navigation arrival procedures into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which promise to cut fuel consumption by 2.1 million gallons annually, and reduce carbon emissions by 22,000 metric tons.

“NextGen, particularly the Greener Skies Over Seattle initiative, has been a win-win for the community, the environment, the traveling public, the airlines and the FAA,” said Rosenberg. “The NextGen program has the potential to provide the largest aviation safety value of any project in recent history.

At the event, AIA released a new report on NextGen, which details recent program successes and addresses obstacles that stand in the way of additional NextGen progress.


  1. Keith Wood says

    NextGen is a solution desperately in need of a problem.

    Worse, it’s a DANGEROUS “solution,” making the skies LESS safe than they are now.

    Anyone who’s been around flying for a while knows of at least one case where a scope operator has saved a plane in trouble by spotting him flying the Three-Minute Triangle, or when a bizjet has come in with only the portable radio operating, or when a completely NORDO plane comes in through the soup, past radio towers and skyscrapers, to make a miraculous landing after an inflight disaster.

    Once NextGen takes over, you have to just say sayonara to those planes, all the people aboard, and the folks on the ground at the impact sites. A faulty transmitter, or a loss of power (not that EITHER can happen in flight, right?) — or a Bad Guy switching off the electronics — means that the affected plane becomes INVISIBLE to ATC.

    For this, they want me to spend upwards of $10,000 to put this into my $9,900 Stits Playboy (the classic homebuilt plane with no electrical system) . . ?

    Yeah, right.

  2. Jeff Davis says

    A few days ago I wrote to The General Aviation News about the economic unreality of ADS-B for the vast majority of the GA fleet: It just makes no sense to spend well north of $10,000 to equip aircraft whose hull value is less that $100,000. I also pointed out that, in my case, I would have to spend close $20k t get the benefits of ADS-B In’. As it turns out, I needed have worried about the delta cost for ADS-B, because it won’t be there.

    “Huh?” you say? Take a look at page 21 in the September 30, 2013, edition of Aviation Week & Space Technology. In an article entitled “NextGen Choices” a government-industry advisory group has prioritized the FAA’s NextGen program for the coming ‘austere’ budget environment. The committee is headed up by the CEO of Alaska Airline.

    The committee ranked 36 NextGen capabilities into three tiers: Fully Fund, Keep if Budget Permits, and Planned Budget Cut Victims. ADS-B ‘Out’ was in the top tier. ADS-B ‘In” was last on the list, 36th out of 36. So I can forget about worrying about having TIS and FIS capability: It’s days are already numbered, just waiting for the first austere budget. ADS-B ‘In’ has a great big target on it.

    With articles entitled “Advocating for NextGen” and “Rally planned to protect NextGen” this magazine in general and author Jeffrey Boccaccio with his unabashedly enthusiastic series on the subject in particular, have been NextGen/ADS-B cheer leaders for a long time. Folks, you have done the GA community a great disservice. I urge you to reconsider your position.

  3. Vaughn S. Price says

    Goodby Week end Pilots, The Airlines and Big Corporations have just taken over the free air we used to fly our General Aviation Aircraft in. I have been flying since 1945, with over 15000 hours , The control freaks have made flying in the Los Angeles basin a complete mess, The radio is now the primary requirement. Basic flying skills are a long lost art. and FAA wonders why there are so many stupid accidents. Mikes and headsets don’t fly Airplanes, People do!!, Or they once did in the hay day of Aviation

  4. Jeff Davis says

    I’m praying that NextGen is delayed. Why? Because NextGen will ground me.

    I have a very nicely maintained Grumman Tiger. I have worked hard to keep it in top shape. I’m an IFR-rated pilot and the Tiger has dual nav-coms and mode C transponder for the light IFR work I need.

    Recently I attended a Garmin seminar, presented through a well-know FBO that has lots of avionics experience, to learn how much it will cost to get my Tiger ADS-B compliant.
    A GDL-88 ADS-B datalink costs $6500 (I need the one with the built in WAAS GPS). To this I need to add three antenna’s (GPS and “Diversity”, don’t know how much those will cost). The FBO avionics-representative gave me a ballpark estimate of 32 hours for installation. So for well north of $10k, I would be NextGen legal. Note that I would have to spend substantially more to get TIS/FIS displayed in the cockpit!

    Spending this amount of money for an airplane worth around $50k is economically stupid. At the end of the day NextGen is totally unaffordable for the little guy. I suppose this is a great way to get the older airplanes out of the fleet.

    Maybe, just maybe, NextGen will be delayed until I am ready to give up flying. I am getting really tired of some General Aviation community members who are backing this disaster, perhaps looking to make a buck off of NextGen, while NextGen augers GA into the ground.

  5. Gary Leinberger says

    Why do we believe that the FAA has any interest in completing this NextGen project? What bureaucracy has ever worked to build a system that will reduce jobs? Turn this turkey over to the private sector – let Boeing and others bid to run the system. If they don’t perform fire them – something we can never do with the FAA. This is at least the FAA’s second shot at this – I remember the first failure was $ 6 billion before they let it die. Now $14 billion (?) is gone and they are ten years behind, and forecast the system will be done in twenty years. Government systems never work (Amtrak, Post Office, the VA ( a mere 400 days on average to see a new patient)). Don’t we ever learn that there is a cost to system, and if the government does them it both costs more and doesn’t work?
    I have bought the Mode S and 430W for my experimental, and use the ADS-B on my IPad for weather, etc. It is great – but why so long to get this in? When is the rest coming in? I will be dead and buried before I can really take advantage of these tools.

  6. James says

    NextGen is an outdated technology 20 years in the making, which means that by the time its ready to go, it’ll be 30 years old. We need plan that allows system to grow over time, not make big jumps every 75 years. NextGen is DOA.

  7. Kimberly Bush says

    As one who has followed this story with increasing incredulity, I was interested to speak with an avionics person last week about the true cost of this ‘wonderful upgrade’ for a GA owner.
    The 530 became faulty, so we flew the plane over to find out if it could be fixed. It could be reconditioned for around $1100. It is going to be replaced with a WAAS system for $4800. That price is not to far from what FAA’s Giselle informed us at the Airventure seminar in 2012 would be the TOTAL cost for the ENTIRE upgrade to make this little Cessna Next Gen ready. It now appears that perhaps she wasn’t aware that this is the approximate cost of each individual component of NextGen technology.
    Which goes right to the heart of what the old man in the front row was asking about “Why are you people determined to convince me to sell my airplane? You are pricing me out of that pilot’s seat.”
    Maybe I am the only one who wants the ‘sticker shock’ right up front, so that I can make a fully informed decision.
    Or maybe, just maybe, I like it when the person who is representing the agency who is promoting another unfunded federal mandate on life
    (Yes, I know that all caps implies yelling in electronic comms. Notice I didn’t use a single curse word. And have a GREAT day!)

  8. says

    The big problem with NextGen is that it is a cool acronym with the ability to suck all the oxygen out of the room and the money out of a budget.

    Instead of crying about money that isn’t there, try to do your job with the money that is there.

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