RTCA’s technical standards oversight body, the Program Management Committee (PMC), will hold its fall meeting at RTCA Headquarters to approve four critical documents and workplans from RTCA’s Special Committees (SC).
The four standards under consideration for approval cover the following areas:
- Performance standards for new Airborne Collision Avoidance System designed to improve air safety, as a method of preventing mid-air collisions or near mid-air collisions. This new Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Airborne Collision Avoidance System X (ACAS X) (ACAS Xa and ACAS XO) standard goes beyond the current system and is designed for some of the reduced separation and traffic flows (including conventional aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems) envisioned by FAA NextGen and European SESAR initiatives.
- Enhancements for Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) that assist pilots with an electronic means to provide a display of the forward scene topography through imaging sensors and includes display element, sensors, computers and power supplies, indications, and controls. The document, Vision Systems for Takeoff, Safety, Performance and Interoperability Requirements Document Defining Takeoff Minima by Use of Enhanced Flight Vision Systems – provides operational, safety, performance and interoperability requirements to safely conduct takeoff operations using Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) in natural visibilities, lower than currently authorized.
Performance improvements in standards for the Data Communications (Data Comm) program that provides a direct link between ground automation and flight deck avionics for safety-of-flight clearances, instructions, traffic flow management, flight crew requests and reports. These new improvements allow messages to be transmitted without establishing a link first – all ground stations that receive the message transmit towards destination.
There are two documents:
Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS), MOPS for Aircraft Very High Frequency (VHF) Digital Link (VDL) Mode 2 Physical Link and Network Layer – defines processes and test procedures for Air/Ground (A/G) data communications systems for voice and text.
Communications Minimum Aviation Systems Performance Standard (MASPS), Signal-in-Space for MASAP Advanced VHF Digital Data Communications Including Compatibility with Digital Voice Technique – defines requirements for principles of operation of digital data communication systems with the current analog voice system and proposed future VDL systems that will include two different modes of operation – one for carrier sense multiple access for data and one for simultaneous voice and data capability.
Chaired by Chris Hegarty of The MITRE Corporation, the PMC is charged with producing timely and robust standards and guidance documents to ensure interoperability of aviation systems and equipment. RTCA’s standards and recommendations are frequently referred to by the FAA in Technical Standard Orders and Advisory Circulars, and provide at the very least, a partial basis for the certification of equipment.