Big Picture

With the moving parts of NextGen development scattered throughout the Federal Aviation Administration and across the United States, it can be challenging to make sure they all work together when delivered in the field and into National Airspace System (NAS) operations, reports Focus FAA.

The FAA’s Portfolio Management Teams meet that challenge by keeping their eyes on the big picture, ensuring that related NextGen improvements are developed and deployed, and work as advertised from an overall NAS benefits perspective.

“Everyone realizes we need to be together and pulling in the same direction,” said J.C. Johns, director of National Airspace System Lifecycle Integration, who oversees the teams. “This is the only way to be sure the NextGen effort is doing the right thing at the right time and in the right place to deliver benefits. Considering the current budget environment, this is more important than ever.”

Greg Cox heads the Closely Spaced Parallel Operations task from the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is a member of the Improved Multiple Runway Operations (IMRO) team. When he first heard about the portfolio management approach he thought it would just add another organizational layer to an already complex development process. In fact, the portfolio team helped Cox make progress. Soon, the first improvements to come out of the IMRO portfolio process will enable several airports, including Atlanta, to continue aircraft approach and landing operations during periods of low visibility at nearly the same pace as under clear conditions.

Cox gives credit to Leo Eldredge, who heads up the IMRO portfolio team, as well as teams involved with Performance Based Navigation and Improved Approaches and Low Visibility Operations. Eldredge, who is based at Headquarters, engages others in collaboration and helps motivate them to keep things moving.

Sometimes just getting everyone in the same room helps.

“Leo can look down the table at a representative for an organization and say this task is coming our way, what will it take to get it done?” said Cox. All three of Eldredge’s portfolios are related, giving him a strategic view of the big pictures.

This wide view enables the agency to perform risk management at the enterprise level, rather than just at the program or individual product level. Enterprise-level risk management is essential because everything will be more tightly integrated in the NAS than before as NextGen unfolds.

The wake separation recategorization project is another operational improvement being guided within a portfolio team. Jesse Wijntjes led the Separation Management team at the start of the year before taking a new assignment as the NextGen Data Communications Programme manager. He notes that the portfolio management approach helped support the efforts of the implementing organization led by Jeff Tittsworth for new wake turbulence standards.

These standards have increased capacity at Memphis International Airport by more than 15 per cent and are being received favourably by our customers and aviation partners. “The wake recategorisation efforts will and are making real enhancement in NAS operations,” Wijntjes said.





Posted in CAAs/ANSPs, Features, NextGen

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