President’s Message

Margaret Jenny, RTCA President

The year 2017 saw an acceleration of capabilities of new entrants into the airspace.  Drone operators and technologies took a leap forward in sophistication, bringing with them, an increased desire for access to the airspace.  NextGen capabilities such as controller-pilot data communications, performance-based navigation, multiple runway operations all brought measurable performance improvements to numerous locations throughout the NAS.  New standards were published, and new infrastructure deployed that will serve as the foundation for the next generation of air transportation system capabilities.

While great strides were made, many facilitated by the thousands of RTCA committee volunteers hammering out consensus on policy, operational and technical issues, challenges remain, some just over the horizon.

The NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC) set its sights on implementing NextGen in the Northeast Corridor.   Starting with defining the goals and how to measure their attainment, the NAC recommended priorities for capabilities to implement.  The NAC weighed in on Space-based ADS-B and continued to report on benefits being derived from select NextGen deployments such as Wake ReCat and PBN procedures.

The Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) set its priorities and began the hard work of forging consensus on three issues: airspace access, funding mechanisms, and federal preemption.  They delivered recommendations to the FAA on airspace access in November and plan to deliver recommendations on funding in early 2018.

The Special Committees (SCs) produced the first ever standards for Command and Control and Detect and Avoid for UAS.  We updated our GNSS standards, and published joint (with EUROCAE) standards documents for digital data communications. We published standards for Airport Security Access Control Systems, along with other critical aircraft systems.   

The Tactical Operations Committee (TOC) provided valuable input to the FAA’s PBN Route Structure as well as Phase Three of the Airspace Information Management Modernization Program.

The staff of RTCA are grateful to facilitate the demanding consensus process that produces valuable input to the FAA and helps ensure that the U.S. air transportation system continues to be the safest and most efficient in the world, and ready to welcome new entrants, such as UAS.

We wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2018.

- Margaret Jenny, RTCA, Inc. President