ATM Modernization, Commercial

FAA Releases Updated NextGen Implementation Plan

By Tish Drake | March 22, 2012
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In its annual NextGen Implementation Plan, FAA said it is "enthusiastic and confident" about the direction of its multibillion dollar Next Generation Air Transportation (NextGen) initiative, adding the agency has demonstrated steady and tangible progress in 2011 and expects more progress in 2012 and beyond. The report also responded to the NextGen Advisory Committee's (NAC) working group recommendations, issued in September.

"Even in the face of new challenges, the FAA remains confident about NextGen success. Given our history of overcoming difficulties, we are prepared to respond to any new obstacles," according to the report.

Going forward, FAA said it will focus on expanded surface data-sharing capabilities and the development of closely spaced parallel runways. During the 2013-2015 timeframe, FAA said it plans on developing and implementing mechanisms to provide National Airspace users with information about the current and future status of Special Activity Airspace, which is airspace set aside for military training and other specialized use, and leverage Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) infrastructure for surface monitoring. Initial tower datacomm capability for revised departure clearance is expected in 2015; FAA is set to award the datacomm contract this summer.

Also, in 2012, FAA will initiate Surface Wide Information Management for surface data; publish FAA responses to Aviation Rulemaking Committee recommendations on ADS-B In; issue a final investment decision on ADS-B In; and work toward satellite navigation alternatives to ILS for dependent staggered approaches.

"Uncertainties and constraints increase the importance of managing NextGen with the skill and determination that such a complex system engineering project requires. We are making considerable progress on challenges that are malleable to management solutions," according to the report.

Among the 2011 highlights:

-- More than 300 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) ground stations were operational by the end of 2011. FAA said it expects the total complement of about 700 radio stations to be in place and operating by 2014.

-- FAA said it published 354 Wide Area Augmentation (WAAS) LPV procedures in 2011. As of February 2012, there were nearly 2,800 LPVs at more than 1,400 airports nationwide.

-- Also, the agency advanced the design phase of its metroplex initiative in two locations.

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