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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NextGen technology launched in western Colorado

DENVER – The FAA and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) have activated new NextGen technology that will help pilots address inclement weather around Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) in western Colorado.

The technology, known as Wide Area Multilateration (WAM), improves safety and efficiency by allowing air traffic controllers to track aircraft in mountainous areas that are outside radar coverage, FAA officials explain.

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Company demonstrates NextGen tracking of manned and unmanned aircraft

Worried about the proliferation of unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace system? You’re not alone. Officials at Sagetech recently posted a video of a demonstration of the use of an off-the-shelf “NextGen” Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system, along with an iPad, which can help pilots track unmanned and manned aircraft around them.

In the demonstration, the unmanned aircraft (Arcturus UAV) is carrying a Sagetech Mode S ADS-B Out Transponder. The manned aircraft (Cirrus) is carrying a Sagetech Mode S ADS-B Out Transponder with integrated GPS Receiver and a Sagetech Clarity ADS-B Receiver, which receives the signals from the unmanned and manned aircraft and connects to the iPad via WiFi link and plots both aircraft on the map.

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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The fizz on TIS

This is the 13th in a series of articles looking at the impact of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) on GA pilots.

In my last post, ADS-B: Twice as nice, I spent a fair amount of time detailing the fact that there are two separate ADS-B systems in the U.S. — one for the big boys at 30,000-plus feet and another for the rest of us at 20,000 feet and lower having all the fun.

However, the FAA knew straight away that there was going to be an issue with GA in implementing ADS-B, due to costs, so agency officials started thinking of ways to bribe us into coming “on board” with ADS-B.

The FAA will offer two services that should be beneficial for all of us. One is TIS-B (Traffic Information Service–Broadcast) and the other is FIS-B (Flight Information Service–Broadcast). I doubt that any GA pilot would refuse either of these services, so it does seem that the FAA came up with a cool little offer to get all of us on board. That being said, there is still a ways to go before everyone out there goes for it, but it is at least a start.

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NextGen key to economic growth in New York

In a move that signals that the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is key to economic growth in New York, the New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA), an organization representing the leadership of New York’s aviation industry, has joined the National Alliance for the Advancement of NextGen (NAANG), as have about a dozen of its members.

NYAMA’s participation in the group signals the strong support for improvements in air traffic systems by New York State aviation leaders, officials said. [Read more...]

NextGen Institute meeting spotlights road ahead

The NextGen Institute, a U.S. government-private sector partnership, held its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.,  Sept. 21, where government officials and industry representatives gathered to highlight accomplishments in the development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and to discuss the road ahead. A report at Rotor.com, the website of the Helicopter Association International, quotes Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari: “NextGen will affect the global aviation system for the better. NextGen is the United States’ chance to continue to lead the world in aviation.”

But the report continues, quoting former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, who noted that if the Jan. 2 sequestration process indeed happens, it would be a “blow at a very critical point” in the NextGen implementation program and “delay, diminish, and jack up the price” of equipage. Read the entire report here.

ADS-B: Twice as nice

This is the 12th in a series of articles looking at the impact of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) on GA pilots.

Are two systems better than one? For Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, the cornerstone of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), the answer is yes and no.

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GA already benefiting from NextGen

General aviation is benefiting from changes to the switch to NextGen — think WAAS instrument approaches and T-routes — but the FAA needs to lay out a clear case for equipping aircraft with affordable systems to offer new benefits. That’s what the National Business Aviation Association’s Ed Bolen told a Congressional panel last week, according to a report at AOPA.org. “The FAA could alleviate lingering user uncertainty about costs and benefits of equipping aircraft early in the transition by laying out a clear case that firmly establishes system requirements, incentivizes early adoption, and provides accountability through the establishment of a comprehensive timeline and budget,” the report quotes Bolen.

NextGen getting on track but problems persist

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After long delays and high cost overruns, development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is starting to get back on track, but because of program problems, users of the system are reluctant to invest in equipment for their aircraft.

The FAA has been spending about $1 billion a year since the program was launched almost nine years ago. Expenditure for the completed project is forecast to be $20 billion to $27 billion, making it one of the largest single projects undertaken by the federal government.

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