FAA gives green light to NextGen satellite system

WASHINGTON, 30 Nov. 2008 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Robert A. Sturgell gave the green light to nationwide deployment of the next-generation satellite system. The system allows aircraft to be tracked by satellite rather than radar.

WASHINGTON, 30 Nov. 2008Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Robert A. Sturgell gave the green light to nationwide deployment of the next-generation satellite system. The system allows aircraft to be tracked by satellite rather than radar.

Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) will reduce the risk of midair collisions and weather-related accidents, provide more efficient routes in adverse weather, and improve situational awareness for pilots, FAA officials say.

"The next generation of air travel has arrived," Sturgell says. "ADS-B is the backbone of the future of air traffic control. NextGen is real and, as of today, NextGen is now. President Bush just last week stated that modernizing our aviation system is an urgent challenge, and today's announcement demonstrates that the Department of Transportation and the FAA are taking concrete steps to do just that."

An executive order signed by President Bush on Nov. 18 accelerated the implementation of NextGen, stating that it is the policy of the U.S. to establish and maintain an air transport system that meets the present and future needs of this country.

Sturgell's commissioning of essential services for ADS-B in Florida clears the way for nationwide deployment of the system by 2013. The installation of 11 ground stations in Florida gives pilots viewing ADS-B cockpit displays the same live traffic seen by controllers. Pilots also receive free, real-time weather updates from the National Weather Service, as well as critical flight information such as temporary flight restrictions and special-use airspace. These advances, in turn, will allow the U.S. to accommodate the increasing number of aircraft in the nation's skies, and will help to make the travel experience for airline passengers more efficient, safer, and environmentally friendly, FAA officials say.

The commissioning marks a significant milestone in the FAA's aggressive deployment schedule for ADS-B. By 2013, 794 ground stations will provide ADS-B services everywhere there is radar coverage today — with further coverage in places that currently lack radar coverage, including the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

Work at the sites of the next key milestones for ADS-B services – Juneau, Alaska, Louisville, Kent., the Gulf of Mexico and Philadelphia – are scheduled for completion by the end of 2010. This will allow controllers to begin using ADS-B for aircraft surveillance or separation services.

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