The NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC) met in late June acting on several critical issues affecting NextGen implementation. The Committee is led by Chairman Dave Bronczek, President & COO of FedEx Corporation, and newly appointed FAA Deputy Administrator/Chief NextGen Officer, Dan Elwell, who serves as the Designated Federal Officer.
Two reports were presented and approved by the Committee during the meeting:
1. Goals and Priorities for Improving Operations in the Northeast Corridor – Phase One
The NEC encompasses airports and airspace stretching from Washington, DC/Baltimore to Boston. The recommendation defines the performance goals for the initiative to be operating the full operation, on-time, and predictably. The evaluation metrics are: completion factor; delay versus schedule; block times; and throughput. The recommendation also includes a list of capability objectives that are prioritized to achieve the goals and emphasized the following points:
- Adverse weather is a major issue in accomplishing goals in the NEC
- FAA Northeast corridor controller staffing is key to success
With the completion of Phase One, work has begun on Phase Two of the FAA Tasking, a collaborative effort by the industry and the FAA to identify specific implementations to achieve the goals. The initial 18-month plan will be reported to the NAC in October, and the longer-term plan finalized in February 2018. The recommendation will address the technical, operational and community issues that must be identified up front and then mitigated through the NAC collaborative process.
2. Enhanced Surveillance Task Group – Final Report: Enhanced Surveillance Capabilities in FAA Controlled Oceanic Airspace: Operational Need and Added Benefits
Completing over eight months of work, the recommendation endorses the use of Space Based ADS-B as the means for enhanced surveillance capability in FAA controlled oceanic airspace. According to the report, Space-based ADS-B technology, when coupled with Future Air Navigation System (FANS), controller-pilot data link (CPDLC), Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C), and required Navigation Performance Level 4 (RNP4) capabilities appears to be closer to providing a reduced separation of 15/15 than ADS-C when coupled with CPDLC and RNP4. The industry also recommends that the FAA should (as an ANSP) bear the financial burden for enhanced surveillance costs as it does domestically.
During the meeting, the Committee also addressed:
NextGen Integration Working Group Reports – Teams from the four priority areas (DataComm, Multiple Runway Operations, Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) and Surface) of the joint FAA-Industry NextGen Integration Working Group (NIWG) identified key challenges/risks being addressed by teams in each area as they continue to work collaboratively to meet their collective milestones.
- DataComm – Issues associated with the Pegasus 1 Flight Management System B757/767 aircraft prevents the FMS’s from being able to receive re-routes while airborne. Budget constraints are delaying the implementation of full EnRoute services. EnRoute DataComm service will allow pilots to request reroutes while airborne and is an important DataComm benefit long-sought by the aviation community.
- Multiple Runway Operations – Vertical navigation (VNAV) requirements for parallel approaches procedures are currently being discussed to determine how to proceed.
- Performance Based Navigation –Mixed equipage has a direct correlation on the ability to implement and achieve the full benefit of PBN procedures. The NAC has tasked the NAC subcommittee to generate a complete and accurate inventory of the fleet as well as identify the PBN NIWG plans affected by the issue.
- Surface –The need for operators (including airports) to exchange data elements with the FAA that are vital to the FAA’s Terminal Flight Data Manager program remains a key issue.
Time, Speed, Spacing Tools – The Committee discussed the FAA’s response to the NAC October 2016 recommendation on implementing decision support tools – ground-based time, speed and spacing metering tools essential for the successful implementation of PBN. Members emphasized the need to address pilot/controller/dispatcher cultural changes and the need for collaborating on change management to be successful, rather than simply deploying specific tools.
The next meeting is scheduled for October 4th in Chicago, Illinois hosted by United Airlines. For additional information on the work of the NAC, see the NAC Page.