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RTCA April 2021 Digest

April 15, 2021
Home / News / RTCA April 2021 Digest

Moving Beyond NextGen: ATCA’s Blue Skies Initiative


A few years ago, the aviation industry started thinking about what was to come after the initial time frame that NextGen had published for airspace modernization, which was 2025. With the industry in the midst of a paradigm shift due to the explosion of new technologies and the rapid rise of new airspace entrants, we could no longer look at transformation as we did before.

“Various organizations, committees, companies building new types of platforms, and traditional aviation players were all having independent conversations about what the future concepts for airspace should look like post-NextGen,” said Pete Dumont, ATCA President/CEO.  “We have finite airspace with new platforms, such as drones, urban air taxis, and commercial space vehicles, all trying to compete for airspace with traditional commercial operations – and nobody was looking at a holistic view. What was desperately needed was someone to step up and look at the work needed to integrate these concepts together.”

Thus, the Blue Skies Initiative (BSI) was born. The Air Traffic Controllers Association (ATCA) took on the leadership role of pulling government and industry together to carefully start the planning process. It defined the mission of Blue Skies Initiative, and created a structure much like RTCA, with an Executive Committee made up of experts in the field such as RTCA President & CEO Terry McVenes which oversees Working Groups (WG) of competitors who collaborate on common goals. The BSI WG members are talented subject matter experts from across government and industry. Participants must be willing to dedicate their personal time and even go through a vetting process. The WG is chartered with developing a future-ready framework for modernizing the NAS that defines a short-, mid-, and long-term vision for aviation.

As part of the overall BSI charter, the WG reaches out to other organizations to ensure complete aviation industry engagement that also supplements and complements their work, such as RTCA’s work and the work of the FAA NextGen Advisory Committee and The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

“DOT, FAA and NASA cannot be solely responsible for setting rules and requirements for our future airspace,” said Gene Hayman, BSI Executive Chair . “So, BSI is a call to action for the entire aviation community. We must come together as an industry and define our future airspace before it’s decided for us.”

For more information on Blue Skies, visit atca.org.  The organization published an eBook in December and there is also information available on its Tech Symposium in May and its Annual Conference & Exhibition in September.



RTCA Welcomes Dozens of New Members in the First Quarter including:

Booz Allen Hamilton



Hyundai R&D Lab

Chelton Ltd





Performance Software

Genesis Air Mobility


Flight Data Technologies

Aircraft Olympos

Shared Spectrum Company

Jovian Software Consulting

eRC-System GmbH

MicroAir Avionics

Blue Skies Aviation Solutions

FBR Aviation

Vela Prima Nusantara


The Albers Group


Committee News Header Image

RTCA President Terry McVenes Reflects on the Past Year and Expanded Special Committee Scope

A year has now gone by since the global pandemic dramatically impacted both our personal and our professional lives. While it may have changed how most people work, the changes have not had as big of impact on our Special Committee members who are used to having participants working virtually in our plenaries and working group meetings. This has been reflected in the energetic work that was accomplished by our Special Committee members and in our Program Management Committee (PMC) approving 26 documents during 2020. In the coming months we will be honoring 85 recipients of our “Outstanding Leader” and “Significant Contributor” awards for these publications.

During 2020, two significant new documents, the SC-239 White Paper and the SC-241 Cabin and Crew Cleaning document, were added to the Terms of Reference and completed before the end of 2020. The dedication of our members continues to meet the needs of the aviation community in a responsive and timely manner.

We are all excited to return to face-to-face meetings as we continue into 2021. However, at RTCA, that return will look different as we have made significant capital improvements to our facilities in our commitment to serve you better.

In the Summer of 2020, RTCA completed consolidating our offices on the 9th floor of 1150 18th Street NW. Included in our updates are a dedicated training room and an additional small conference room. Along with the new space our Audio/Visual Systems have been updated to increase the feasibility and effectiveness of remote participation.

In addition, RTCA has launched AerOpus, a replacement tool for KAVI Workspace to insure uninterrupted work by our groups.

As restrictions ease up, the RTCA staff is prepared to welcome you back to our new offices as we embrace the new normal. A big thank you to all our volunteers who commit their time to write the RTCA standards that are so vital to the aviation industry throughout the world.

RTCA Launches New Committee Collaboration Tool: AerOpus

RTCA is excited to announce the new Committee Collaboration Tool, AerOpus, is up, running and ready to support our members. On March 26, 2021 RTCA Special Committee Members received an email asking them to activate their new AerOpus accounts. Documents which were previously stored on the KAVI Workspace have been ported to AerOpus to give committee members access to the data from the past.

Al Secen, Vice President of Aviation Standards and technology says, “In developing the requirements for the AerOpus system, RTCA was intent on minimizing the impact of the transition from the legacy system while enhancing the overall user experience.  We also wanted a solid foundation for future features that we hope will make our committees even more productive than they already are.  We think we achieved all three of those goals with AerOpus.”

RTCA worked for 9 months with i3solutions to create AerOpus based on off-the-shelf components with SharePoint as a backbone. AerOpus maintains the functionality of Kavi Workspace including Document Storage, Peer Review Commenting, Email Notifications, Group Calendars, Action Items and Ballots. Some functions have been improved in AerOpus like the Bulk Commenting Tool.

“i3solutions is excited to launch the new AerOpus system supporting RTCA and their associated committees.  Our joint focus with RTCA during the creation of the solution was to provide a dependable yet flexible solution meant to accommodate the current needs of the association as well as the ability to expand with new capabilities as the solution matures and additional needs are requested.  We focused a great deal of our time on the pain points experienced in the past and created a solution that we believe will help address those issues as well as improve the experience felt by the users and increase the effectiveness a solution of this type can provide its user base.” — Justin Bowen, i3solutions, Vice President, Delivery Services

As with the introduction of any new system, some glitches are to be expected.  RTCA is grateful for the continued member support of the new tool and staff as we work through these growing pains.

“The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l congratulates RTCA on the release of the new AerOpus collaboration system.  Long time users of RTCA’s Workspace will find the new AerOpus system more similar than different and should be familiar with faster responsiveness.”
— Capt Steve Jangelis, Aviation Safety Chair, Airline Pilots Association Int’l

Training for AerOpus is available here: We encourage you to review the training. If you have difficulty or  if the training does not provide answers you require, please contact info@rtca.org or your Program Director.

If there is information from the legacy KAVI Workspace you require, do not hesitate to contact your committee’s Program Director.

Training Updates Header Image

DO-254, Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware, taught by Randall Fulton, FAA Consultant DER

This training course is tailored specifically to design/verification engineers and project/certification managers requiring DO-254 compliance. Conducted by Randall Fulton, an experienced consultant, FAA Designated Engineering Representatives (DER), and author, this four-day course will:

  • Provide an overview and application of RTCA DO-254, as defined by current FAA and EASA guidance in airborne electronic system
  • describe how to apply the DO-254 lifecycle and supporting processes, understand system safety assessments and the design assurance level (DAL), set up a project correctly through proper planning and standards.
  • Presents techniques for writing requirements for electronic hardware and how to optimize requirements for the verification processes while addressing specific considerations, for programmable logic devices (PLDs) such as FPGA/ASIC versus all electronics, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components usage, and tool assessment and qualification. Next DO-254 offering, April 26-29.

All courses are set to take place in a virtual setting until further notice. See below for all upcoming training. Visit our training page for more detailed information.


DO-160G – April 19, 2021

DO-254 – April 26, 2021

Airworthiness Security Certification – May 10

DO-178C/Supplements – June 28

Register Now

email: training@rtca.org for more information

RTCA Upcoming Events

Free Virtual Events

April 21

Webinar: Aviation Cybersecurity – Harmonization of Guidance and Certification panel discussion as well as a Tech Talk by TSA.

DETAILS & REGISTER: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8310575489333470478

May 19

Webinar: Human Factors in Design and Certification

DETAILS & REGISTER: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7280429851661230604

June 23-24

Virtual Conference: International Aviation Software Summit co-produced by RTCA and EUROCAE

DETAILS & REGISTER: https://www.rtca.org/events/summit/

For more information about the Digest, please contact:
Name: Ka'Nika Evans
Email: kevans@rtca.org

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