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RTCA Unveils Member Report on Digital Flight

December 21, 2023
Home / News / RTCA Unveils Member Report on Digital Flight

New Report on Digital Flight

RTCA has released its Member Report on Digital Flight, marking a key moment in the evolution of air travel. Led by retiring President and CEO Terry McVenes and requested by RTCA members, the report delves into the concept of Digital Flight, a transformative approach to change the way flight operations are conducted.

Digital Flight Defined

The report highlights the historical advancements in aviation and the need for harmonization in the face of diverse technological developments. Digital Flight represents a paradigm shift where flight operations are conducted with a primary reliance on digital information. This approach is facilitated by cooperative practices and operator-responsible separation, made possible through connected digital technologies and automated information exchange.

Digital Flight hinges on four essential elements:

  • Digital Information Connectivity and Services: Maintaining a digital model of the operating environment for informed decision-making.
  • Shared Traffic Awareness: Ensuring awareness of relevant traffic and intent for effective conflict management.
  • Cooperative Practices: Governing the behavior of Digital Flight operations to harmonize airspace use.
  • Separation Automation: Automating the separation function in flight path management.

Digital Flight Rules (DFR)

The report suggests the formalization of Digital Flight under a set of regulations known as Digital Flight Rules (DFR). Drawing parallels with the historical transition from Visual Flight Rules (VFR) to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), DFR aims to provide a regulatory framework for sustained Digital Flight operations. DFR would offer operators the combined benefits of airspace access enabled by IFR and operational flexibility facilitated by VFR, without requiring segregation from other airspace users.

The RTCA Member Report offers an introduction to Digital Flight, discussions on use cases, barriers, solutions, and a call to action for the aviation community. At its core, the report emphasizes the paramount importance of preserving and enhancing the safety and efficiency of all aviation activities. Digital Flight holds the promise of delivering significant value to the aviation industry, airspace user communities, and individuals involved in the aviation ecosystem, ultimately benefiting the public.

Access the Future

Terry McVenes, outgoing President and CEO, played a crucial role in fostering collaboration among aviation stakeholders to address the challenges and opportunities presented by Digital Flight. His commitment to safety and efficiency sets the stage for a safer, more efficient, and accessible airspace.

The full RTCA Member Report on Digital Flight can be accessed here.



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