NextGen moves closer to reality

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Next Generation Air Transportation System — known as NextGen — moved two steps closer to reality in late August when new programs became operational.

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What do GA pilots think about NextGen?

We asked our Facebook fans and subscribers to The Pulse of Aviation about their take on NextGen. Is it the best thing to happen to flying in a while? Or is it just more government-mandated expense to keep airborne?

Here are just a few of their comments:

  • Best thing to happen. But the cost will have to come down before it is widely accepted by individual operators.

  • More expense to satisfy Big Brother!

  • I want no part of it…invasive and too expensive.

  • The only reason anyone in GA should know anything about NextGen is to keep the sport of aviation from being screwed by it.

  • ADS-B is dependent upon GPS. The protection of the broadcast frequencies of our orbiting navaids will have to be ironclad. There can be no political indulgences granted for those wanting to test the compatibilities of new communication technologies in or near the frequency ranges of a GPS signal. The NTSB posted general aviation safety on its Most Wanted List. They should be one of many agencies that require the FCC coordinate more regularly with the FAA on potential navigation frequency interference in the interest of flying safety. ADS-B is a promising technology with many potential benefits. But as always, the Devil is in the details.

  • I agree that the devil is in the details. And, one significant devil is the cost to equip an airplane with ADS-B. Considering the majority of privately owned GA aircraft are 30+ years old, the cost to equip these planes becomes 25%–30% of the value of the plane. In these cases I believe many of these owners will simply be forced to vote with their wallet, and not install ADS-B. It simply makes no economical sense.

  • If a significant portion of the GA fleet does not equip with ADS-B, then the whole system will be marginalized. The FAA needs to make this equipment affordable to the vast majority of owners.

  • ADS-B (aka NexGen) is a fantastic system EXCEPT for two major issues. (1) The uplink NWS Radar imagery is late and too old to be of any value. (2) Worse, the FAA decided to BLOCK uplink under you are ModeS’ing. Their reason is that they want to FORCE you to take advantage of the new technology. In other words, the FAA DOES NOT CARE ABOUT FLIGHT SAFETY. Any pilot who sees what ADS-B provides WILL DECIDE TO TRANSMIT and make the necessary expense to do so. Just like the FAA’s “the iPAD is a new and revolutionary device for aviation” statement clearly indicates their lack of knowledge. There have been tabletPCs for nearly 15 years that do what the iPad does at half the cost.

  • I am a retired air traffic controller and a big supporter of the NextGen program. If the FAA follows through with the concepts the benefits will be worth the change. We have to embrace change as technology allows.

  • As a day good weather VFR pilot I don’t see any benefit for me and my type of flying. Being based in mid-Michigan the only traffic we see is at 30k ft. For the IFR guys that fly in the system it may make sense, but for average VFR GA pilot not much added value. Besides the cost currently to equip my plane exceeds it value by 2 to 1! I guess unless the FAA will foot the bill to equip my plane I’ll just have to give the major airports a wide berth if I get close!

  • NexGen must be considered as an AID, not the end-all and be-all just as any other of our “modern” aids like radar, wx, even radios and other avionics. These aids make the airplane more useful as did the controllable pitch propeller, the retractable landing gear, flaps and reliable engines. BUT, NexGen can be an excellent aid in support of see and be seen operations as well as IFR as there are many areas of the country where radar is quite limited for GA aircraft flying under 10,000 feet. Thus it would provide a very significant margin of safety both in the air and and could provide more safety for SAR operations. If I were active these days I’d go for it in a short minute.

So what do you think? Add your comments below.

Time to get familiar with NextGen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It has been said by FAA officials that moving from the present air traffic control system to a satellite-based one is like trying to replace a flat tire on a car while it is speeding down the highway.

And while implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) may be behind schedule and over budget, it is moving along and pilots need to get familiar with it.

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Are you ready to take a SWIM?

Over time I am sure that every pilot has appreciated the vast improvements in our communication abilities within the general aviation sector. Almost all of it is due to technological advancements [Read more...]

What’s your take on NextGen?

What do you think about NextGen — the Next Generation Air Transportation System — and its impact on general aviation pilots? Think it’s the best thing to happen to flying in a while? Or is it just more government-mandated expense to keep airborne?

Do you plan to take advantage of the services offered through NextGen? Have you already equipped your plane? If so, what has been your experience so far.

Leave your comments below.

NextGen months behind schedule, fiscal cliff could push it even farther

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is months behind schedule and FAA management faces many challenges before the massive project completes its movement from the planning stages to implementation.

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FIS-B: What every GA pilot always wanted (at least I do…)

This is the 14th in a series of articles looking at the impact of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) on GA pilots.

The last discussion on Traffic Information Service–Broadcast (TIS-B) was a clear example of how the FAA is trying to put together a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) program that all of us in general aviation can sink our teeth into. Flight Information Services-Broadcast (FIS-B) is no different. Again, it is offered to primarily general aviation airplanes that incorporate a Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) to operate under ADS-B.

So what is FIS-B? Flight Information Services-Broadcast will provide free weather to pilots, along with all the goodies that all of us use when planning most flights. I say “most” because I still see so many of my fly buddies go for weekend putts and never even consider any of these services.

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NextGen Institute slates annual public meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The NextGen Institute, a partnership between the government and private sector to work on the development and implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), will hold its annual public meeting Sept. 21 at the Department of Transportation headquarters. The meeting, “NextGen: Great Promise and Challenges Remain for Government and Industry,” is from 9 a.m. to noon. Speakers include House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri and Ranking Member Jerry Costello, and Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari. To register, click here.

NextGen Alliance surpasses 1,000 members

The National Alliance for the Advancement of NextGen (NAANG) has surpassed 1,000 members, signaling an “unprecedented support for improvements in air traffic systems among travel and tourism industry and business leaders,” according to alliance officials.

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Inspector General to assess NextGen progress

Is the FAA moving as it should in decisions and actions relating to the Next Generation Air Transportation System — NextGen — and if not, why not? That is what the office of Inspector General of the Department of Transportation will try to determine in an audit of the FAA’s progress on the program.

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