Official: FAA shows progress on NextGen

The Federal Aviation Administration has advanced its Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), which would improve management of traffic with automated computer and satellite systems, a senior FAA senior official has said.

Under NextGen, the FAA said it is transforming its ground-based air traffic control system to a satellite-based system, named the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which would let airline pilots have the capability to take on more of their own air traffic activities.

“Air traffic controllers would eventually manage airline traffic more than control it,” Vicki Cox, the FAA's senior vice president of NextGen and operations planning, said March 4 at an industry event sponsored by IAC.

The agency has begun to deploy ADS-B, first in Alaska, and UPS voluntarily equipped 107 of its aircraft with the technology. Pilots flying aircraft equipped with ADS-B technology in South Florida can now receive air traffic and weather information on their cockpit displays, she said.

“This is the first time that pilots are able to see the same traffic information as air traffic controllers,” she said. The outcome from using ADS-B in South Florida “paves the way for a national implementation of ADS-B,” she added.

By October, the FAA will have ADS-B capability over the Gulf of Mexico. The agency, in partnership with the Helicopter Association International, is installing ADS-B ground stations on oil rigs in the gulf.


About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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