NextGen, NowGen: If you were to select one area of particular promise that will help the FAA deliver quantifiable benefits to the aircraft operator and flying public, what would it be?

Sandy SamuelSandy Samuel, Lockheed Martin: The area where the most quantifiable benefits will be realised is in optimising operations in and around the airport. Tools that integrate arrival, departure and surface management are essential in managing the airspace and airport surface in the most efficient fashion.  Capabilities that share the operational information and allow collaboration between ANSPs, airlines, and airport operators will be necessary.  Finally, digital data communications, that allow the aircraft and ground automation to operate in complete synchronisation, will enable the optimised plan to be executed and the benefits realised.

Alan Bloodgood, Metron Aviation: The implementation of the FAA’s Surface CDM and the NextGen Weather Concepts hold great promise for aircraft operators and the travelling public. Surface CDM is expected to nearly eliminate long taxi out times which have seemingly become the norm at many major airports, particularly during severe weather events, a welcome change for the passengers.

As well, the concept includes a scorecard element, which introduces detailed visibility into the performance of airport surface operations. The visibility will enable stakeholders to collaboratively reach consensus on elements of Surface CDM which may necessitate improvement, and equally important, identify elements that are functioning well. The implementation of the FAA’s Surface CDM and NextGen Weather Concepts will yield measurable benefits to the customers they serve and most importantly, the travelling public that simply desires to safely depart from point A, and arrive at point B, at the times promised by NAS users.

Bobby Sturgell, Rockwell Collins: What may not be recognised is the integration of the capabilities for broader benefits.  Under the SE2020 initiative, Rockwell Collins is working with the FAA and airlines to establish Best Equipped – Best Served policy and performance objectives.  This will help to incentivise equipage that is tied to direct benefits through improved system access.  This coupled with improved weather systems ensures that information can be shared with the decision-makers to reduce delays.  This is a direct benefit to the flying public and to aircraft operators desiring access to the system.

We look forward to other initiatives like the Data Communications Integrated Services programme moving forward and providing the infrastructure for improved information sharing and collaborative decision making that will further benefit the users of the airspace and airports. These efficiencies will provide measurable benefits in the reduction of delays, reduction of fuel consumed, and the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Saab Sensis - KaminskiKen Kaminski, Saab Sensis: Saab Sensis through ITT Exelis is providing a Wide Area Multilateration capability to the FAA’s Surveillance Broadcast Services (SBS) programme.  As demonstrated in the Colorado Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) deployment across several Ski Country airports, this capability has delivered quantifiable benefits to a number of stakeholders. WAM was selected to enhance the safety of flights in the mountainous area that lacked radar coverage. WAM’s expandable and scalable nature, lower acquisition and lifecycle costs made it the preferred solution. Additionally, WAM does not require special aircraft equipage, thereby allowing it to provide surveillance service immediately upon deployment.

The system is also improving flight efficiency. Before the WAM system, during Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), air traffic procedures limited the airport operations to ‘one-in, one-out’. To demonstrate this point, airport arrival rates during visual flight rule (VFR) conditions were 12 to 15 per hour. During IMC, that number dropped to four or five per hour. With the implementation of the WAM system, IMC rates now approach the VFR rate. The more efficient route permitted by the enhanced surveillance provided by WAM results in less fuel burned and reduced carbon emissions.

Neil Planzer, Boeing: The low hanging fruit really is expanding the number of RNP procedures, the processes that enable them and the number of airports that implement them.  This will require some very significant plans to make the equipage a desirable event and the need to make the procedures to allow the controllers to allow the approaches to completion.

Fred Messina, Booz Allen Hamilton: One of the greatest NextGen challenges is to simultaneously satisfy the wide range of interested stakeholders who are also weighing the viability of investments in NextGen technologies that will lead to additional measureable benefits. NextGen was conceived to transform infrastructure and generate new increased capabilities in how air traffic services would be provided within the NAS along with improving safety and enhancing security. It was focused on bringing new proficiencies into the system to support users, operators, service providers and ultimately taxpayers while also reducing operating costs and replacing aging infrastructure.

The concept of ‘best equipped, best served’, or BEBS, has been attracting a great deal of attention and debate in the realm of operational and financial benefits delivery, and the encouragement of equipping aircraft in the NAS. True realisation of measurable, operational benefits will come when the technology investments are synchronised with accompanying policies, procedures and incentives that allow full utilisation of those new capabilities. One of the most critical steps to achieving quantifiable benefits will be the agreement on, and implementation of, a set of BEBS techniques as quickly as possible.

Steve FultonSteve Fulton, GE Aviation: There are tremendous potential near-term economic and environmental efficiency gains to be made in airspace through public-private cooperation between the FAA and innovative and motivated commercial enterprises.  By combining efforts with private industry, the FAA can focus its efforts on planning, building, and maintaining the largest, safest aviation system in the world, while taking advantage of the investment, enterprise and capability that qualified commercial enterprises bring to the table.

Brian Davis, Honeywell Aerospace: The Honeywell SmartPath GBAS allows airports to increase capacity, decrease air traffic noise and reduce weather-related delays as well as offers substantial maintenance and fuel savings. Unlike traditional Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), SmartPath isn’t required to be installed at the end of each runway. Instead, a single system can support operations with up to 26 unique approaches across four runways simultaneously, making installations less costly and less disruptive to airport operations. It provides greater environmental efficiencies, mitigates the need for taxiway short-holds, and reduces airport maintenance costs — GBAS-enabled airports can save up to $500,000 per system a year over ILS, which is more costly and time consuming to maintain.

Ed Sayadian, ITT Exelis: With ADS-B implementation underway, the next key NextGen enabler is Data Comm.  Data Comm will enable pilots and controller to exchange significantly more information, faster, and safer.  This in turn enables more complex and faster delivery of clearances and other messages allowing not only the controller and pilots to directly communicate, but also the ground automation computers with the aircraft’s FMS.

An example of the near term benefit that this service will be able to offer is the revised departure clearance. Aircraft equipped with Data Comm will be able to get revised clearances, due to, for example, severe weather, much faster offering them significantly reduced delays.  The Data Comm will service also support optimised profile descents, 4D trajectory operations, En-route weather rerouting, and reduced pilot/controller workload.

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