Industry and government officials on Monday hailed the opening of the Florida NextGen Test Bed facility as the type of public-private partnership that will accelerate the implementation of the modernized air traffic management system.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a field hearing at the Test Bed facility in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Monday to mark the opening. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University President Dr. John P. Johnson, the Government Accountability Office and aviation industry representatives testified at the hearing.
“The Florida Test Bed is an example of how the federal government can harness private sector and academic resources in partnership to help modernize our air traffic control system and improve the safety and efficiency of U.S. aviation,” said U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “With the development of Next Generation air traffic control technology, software and systems in this area, we have the potential for one of the most significant high paying job opportunities since the start of the space program.”
The Florida Test Bed is one of three facilities that are providing real-world testing and demonstration environments for NextGen research. The other two are the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., and the NASA field laboratory in Dallas. The facility in Florida houses more than a dozen systems, FAA said.
"Although we are pleased to be here in Florida to cut the ribbon on this newly renovated building and to witness demonstrations of cutting-edge systems that are up and running in the Test Bed envrionment, this event should be more than just a celebration of what we have accomplished. Today we are calling on our industry partners to take advantage of the promise of the public-private partnership represented by the facility," Babbitt said. More