ORLANDO - The Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) has charged its
successful Operational Evolution Partnership (OEP) unit with crafting a
bridge to the Next Generation of air traffic control systems.
Next Generation should be operational by 2025. It takes the FAA
approximately eight years to implement new technology.
In a panel presentation by the FAA at the NBAA annual meeting on
Thursday, the agency said it is now "highly accountable and credible"
and can be counted upon to develop the next level of air traffic control
The OEP, an inter-agency team, has been working on increasing airport
and air space capacity at the nation's top 35 airports. It has been
charged with increasing capacity by 30 percent by 2013. It has already
achieved a 23 percent growth by developing 12 new runways since 1999,
said Loretta Martin, the senior operational advisor for OEP. The OEP is
now involved in an extensive outreach effort to get other agencies,
industry participants and the public involved. Research is also underway
to extend the technology to general aviation airports. "It has become
apparent that an effort to modernize the current system is too
expensive," said Karl Grundman, director of partnerships. "We need to
change the system."
The industry is now starting to implement ADS-B and SWIM. The UPS is
already using ADS-B to provide its pilots with situational awareness in
The FAA will be rolling out ADS-B for regular use next year.
The FAA has reached a point with several initiatives that are perhaps
ready to go from "Jules Vern science fiction" to a mature technology.
"Once a decision is made as to what mature technology to peruse,"
Grundman said, "We can implement it in a short time."
Current technical developments now under study:
- Cockpit Display of Traffic Information Assisted Visual
Separation (CAVS) - Provides the pilot with better situational
awareness in poor visibility conditions. It uses ADS-B technology.
- Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS) - A prototype system
that provides traffic flow managers with comprehensive connective
weather data designed to make short-term weather decision-making.
- Surface Traffic Management System (STMS) - Again building upon
ADS-B, the system provides surface locations to ensure safe movement
during foggy conditions. UPS is using this program at its Louisville
- Advanced Continuous Descent Arrival (CDA) - Enables pilots to
"glide in", reducing landing time and saving fuel. Uses ADS-B to
achieve desired spacing between aircraft.
- Route Availability Planning Tool (RAPT) - Integrates CIWS
convective and echo top forecasts with existing planned departure
routes. It allows ATC users to use existing and future gaps in
weather. Funding for RAPT begins in 2007.
- System Wide Information Management (SWIM) - Provides
infrastructure, standards and procedures needed to conduct
network-enabled operations so that precise information is available
in the right format and the right time.
- Traffic Management Advisor-Multi Center (TMA-MC) - A decision
support tool that provides enroute controllers and traffic
management coordinators with a single, coordinated spacing plan that
maximizes traffic arrivals across multiple facilities.