RTCA Digest

March 10, 2022
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Commercial Spaceflight 2022 and Beyond: Managing Innovation, Safety, and NAS Integration

In March, RTCA hosted its 17th live webinar, inviting Karina Drees, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), to discuss the past, present, and future of commercial spaceflight, with RTCA President and CEO Terry McVenes.

Drees, who has spent 20 years working in the space and technology industries, not only heads the CSF, the 90-member leading trade organization concerned with the spectrum of spaceflight, including launch and reentry, infrastructure, satellite operators, university and institution partnerships and other facets.  She is also Chair of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), advising the FAA of the work of its three Working Groups on regulation, safety, and innovation and infrastructure.

This hourlong discussion began with Drees providing a brief history of commercial spaceflight, from its beginnings in 2001 with the first space tourist, to today, as an industry employing 75,000, responsible for 55 commercial spaceflight launches in 2021, mostly by members of CSF.  Drees also outlined goals for the future, including advocating for important commercial space issues, hosting and organizing events that bring together key leaders, developing consensus, promoting policies and regulations that allow the industry to grow and flourish safely, and coordinating and amplifying communication with policymakers and the public.  She urged viewers to look at commercial spaceflight not as billionaires going into space, but as an industry that creates significant, positive, and actionable changes for participants, and as a growing industry that will inspire future innovation.

Drees spoke several times throughout the Webinar about the importance of developing standards and the process it will take.  As this is a new and emerging industry, the development of standards based on FAA best practices is important for commercial spaceflight, said Drees.  Thus far, the industry has worked through six standards that have been published with more on the horizon for 2022 and 2023.  They are working closely with ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), in addition to FAA and COMSTAC, and have set up three working groups, on regulations, safety, and innovation and infrastructure, to provide input.  These groups forward their recommendations, which then help inform and develop standards.

“This process has been going on for quite sometime and I expect we’ll see a lot of progress in the next year or two, to the point that the standards will help our regulators as they develop and think about future regulation,” said Drees.

McVenes led Drees though a series of attendees’ questions that ranged from safety, regulation, affordability, collaboration, technical hurdles, collaboration with local communities, cybersecurity, and transparency, to her thoughts on projecting the number of launches we can expect in the near future.

Drees talked about the aviation ecosystem and how companies, vehicles, and spaceports could be more easily integrated into the NAS.   She detailed her thoughts on how the industry could innovate and have the freedom to develop without limits to sizes, designs, and capabilities, while remaining committed to safety and assisting with reasonable and needed regulations.  She concluded the Q&A portion of the webinar by encouraging STEM education opportunities and urging the industry and academia to assist with the challenge of talent acquisition.

If you missed this webinar, click here to view.

RTCA hosts monthly live webinars, examining a range of issues and allowing members and guests to pose questions to industry experts.  Past webinars are available on RTCA’s YouTube channel.  RTCA would like to thank Gold Sponsors ALPA, Collins Aerospace, and NATCA for their support.  The next webinar is scheduled for April 20 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  The focus of April’s webinar will be the challenges of frequency spectrum allocation.

RTCA Announces Board of Directors Changes

RTCA, Inc., the leader in the development of aviation operational performance standards, announced the retirement of two outstanding members of the board of directors, Ms. Melissa Rudinger (AOPA) and Mr. Gregg Leone (MITRE). The company also announced the appointment of Ms. Carol Huegel and Mr. James Coon to the board. All changes are effective immediately.

Carol Huegel is a Principal, Business Development in the Mission Networks organization at L-3 Harris Technologies where she supports the partnership between L-3 Harris and the Federal Aviation Administration. She comes to the RTCA board with a 30-year career in the global aviation industry, bringing safe, innovative solutions to balance demand and capacity in airspace systems and increase efficiency and reliability for the traveling public.

Jim Coon is the Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Advocacy for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He leads the strategic implementation of political, legislative, and regulatory initiatives on AOPA’s behalf before Congress, federal departments and agencies, and state legislatures across the country. He has spent 25 years on Capitol Hill in several senior staff positions including staff director for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“We are delighted to welcome Carol and Jim to RTCA’s board as we continue to build on our strategic focus and direction for the future,” said Terry McVenes, President & CEO. “I am also grateful for the valuable contributions both Melissa and Gregg have provided RTCA in recent years. They have been integral to RTCA’s transformation into the organization we are today and wish them the best in their retirement.”

Other members of the RTCA Board include Steve Brown (National Business Aviation Association), Lorne Cass (Aero NowGen Solutions), Nate Boelkins (Collins Aerospace), Daniel Murray (Boeing), and Vipul Gupta (Honeywell).

RTCA Standards Oversight Committee Acts on Emerging Technologies and Safety Oversight

RTCA’s Program Management Committee (PMC) held its first 2022 meeting approving one guidance document, reviewing workplans for the Special Committees (SC), and incorporating changes to the various committee Terms of Reference (TOR) that reflect leadership and work plan changes.

Chaired by Dr. Chris Hegarty of The MITRE Corporation, the 20-member PMC is the RTCA oversight body charged with producing timely and robust standards and guidance documents to ensure interoperability of aviation systems and equipment. The standards encourage innovation and serve as the basis for meeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. An important responsibility of the PMC is ensuring the operational application of the technical standards.

As mentioned, the Members of the PMC approved one standard:

·       DO-235C Assessment of Radio Frequency Interference Relevant to the GNSS L1 Frequency Band, presented by SC-159, Navigation Equipment Using the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)

This report updates the existing assessment of aeronautical GNSS RFI encounter scenarios and risk modeling, adds RFI effects assessment of dual-frequency, multi-constellation receivers to that of single frequency GPS L1 receivers, and includes the effects of an updated analytic statistical of terrestrial non-aeronautical RFI sources, increased GNSS intra- and inter-system RFI, increased onboard aeronautical equipment RFI and the effects of personal electronic devices carried on-board aircraft. The findings in this document DO-235C are anticipated to be reflected in future versions of the GNSS MOPS, including ED-259.

Three SCs received approval for changes to their work plans.  These are SC-240 – Topics on Software Advancement; SC-206 – Aeronautical Information and Meteorological Data Link; and SC-223 – Internet Protocol Suite (IPS) and AeroMACS. Additionally, three special committees (SCs) received approval for administrative changes to their TORs.  It was determined the proposed SC-228 – Minimum Performance Standards for Unmanned Aircraft Systems TOR needed further refinement and would be reviewed with an out of cycle electronic ballot.

Additionally, the PMC considered upcoming TOR revisions for SC-239 – Low Range Radar Altimeter and SC-242 – Spectrum Evaluation, received report from Spectrum and Surveillance Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Ad Hoc, received a demonstration on a project concerning document formatting and a presentation from NASA on possible AAM data sharing.  There was also discussion on FAA Actions on previously published documents, International Coordination, SC Chair reports, an update on RTCA internal activities (metrics and Advisory Board Committees) and approved RTCA 2022 Annual Awards.


NOTE: The new document is available on the RTCA Store at:

RTCA and EUROCAE Hold First Meeting of New Joint Committee/Working Group on Spectrum Compatibility

On March 10, 2022 RTCA and EUROCAE held the kickoff meeting for the new joint Special Committee 242 (SC-242) / Working Group 124 (WG-124) focusing on spectrum compatibility. The group was established to develop guidance material on future spectrum use and best practices in aviation. Their work will focus on developing guidelines for standards related to spectrum management and identifying aerospace constraints impacting spectrum management.

Anna von Groote, Director General of EUROCAE, stated “The efficient use of spectrum is an important topic and essential for the safety of aeronautical systems, which often co-exist and share frequency spectrum resources with those of other industries. The work of WG-124/SC-242 will be a crucial part of aviation’s response to the challenges arising from this issue. As a joint activity between RTCA and EUROCAE, it will develop globally applicable guidance, in coordination with our international partners, and provide a platform to build consensus of all relevant stakeholders.”

Terry McVenes, President and CEO of RTCA, added “The importance of this work cannot be overstated. The implementation of modern technologies and any potential impact to frequency spectrum allocations have billions of dollars at stake including significant infrastructure and national security interests. It is my desire that this joint RTCA-EUROCAE effort will serve as a model for how governments and industries can come together, work collaboratively towards solutions early in the development process, and subsequently deploy new technologies all while protecting the safety of the traveling public.”

The joint group meets next on April 20. For further information about participating in SC-242/WG-124, please contact the RTCA Program Director at or the EUROCAE Technical Programme Manager at


Transportation Policy Expert Shares 3 Priorities for Aviation Growth and Sustainability

Terry McVenes, President and CEO of RTCA, interviews Bob Poole, Director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation.  Bob views sustainability, integrating new modes of transportation, and funding as the top challenges facing aviation today.  Bob explains the importance of aviation having a larger role in sustainability discussions to ensure our continued growth as an industry.  WATCH

ICNS 2022 Conference will be a Hybrid format this year. The Integrated Communications Navigation and Surveillance (ICNS) Conference program will focus on the promises, challenges and developments in the areas of Global Harmonization and the most efficient uses of our Aviation Spectrum. The aviation field has entered a new digital era with ever-increasing autonomy by vehicles in the air and ATM systems on the ground. Innovative technologies promise unprecedented performance yet present significant challenges at the same time.

This year’s Conference will be held In-person (Herndon, VA) and Virtually April 5-7 from 8:30 am to 5:00pm each day. The 2022 ICNS Conference theme is “CNS Autonomous Operations: Policy, Verification, Validation and Certification.

Plenary Sessions include:

• Global Harmonization

• Aviation Spectrum: How does aviation navigate through a constantly changing spectrum environment?

• International Aspects of Advance Air Mobility

• Future I-CNS Emerging Technologies to Support ATM

• Multi-Regional TBO Demonstration


Registration is required. Visit the ICNS website: ( for more details. Sherry Yang, Manager of the Airspace Operation Efficiency at Boeing Research & Technology and this year’s Conference Chair stated, “We are back in person this year and our Plenaries will once again include discussions on a number of Aviation’s hottest topics from some of the top Managers and Technical Experts in these areas.“

RTCA Congratulates Anna von Groote as EUROCAE’s New Director General

The EUROCAE Council has announced the selection of Anna von Groote as EUORCAE’s new Director General. Ms. von Groote replaces Mr. Christian Schleifer-Heingaertner who has led EUROCAE since 2014. RTCA President and CEO Terry McVenes, issued the following statement regarding the selection of Ms. Von Groote.

“RTCA congratulates Anna von Groote on her selection as the next Director General of EUROCAE. The partnership we enjoy with EUROCAE has been vital to the industries we both serve in developing globally harmonized standards. Having been with EUROCAE since 2011, Anna not only brings extensive experience in the development of global standards but has also been a proponent of enhancing the close relationship between our two organizations. I also thank Christian Schleifer-Heingaertner for his past stewardship over EUROCAE and the close collaboration and friendship we have fostered together. I wish him continued success in his next endeavors.”

2022 Priorities with President and CEO Terry McVenes

In this short video, President and CEO Terry McVenes shares RTCA’s 2022 initiatives on supporting new and emerging trends in aerospace and working collaboratively with the industry to promote global harmonization of performance standards.

Full Video


Upcoming Training Dates

DO-178C w/ SupplementsApril 4-8
DO-254April 5-8
DO-160GApril 18-22
Airworthiness Security Certification May 16-19
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Name: Ka'Nika Evans

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