NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., 3 Oct. 2012. It is a “pivotal time in aviation history” according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta, who, on the heels of dedicating a $20.5 million control tower at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, Pa., spoke about challenges and opportunities related to the FAA’s Next-Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) during the ATCA 57th annual conference and exposition this week.
The aviation community and FAA need to approach NextGen and the continued modernization of air traffic control (ATC) and air traffic management (ATM) in the National Air Space (NAS) with not compartmental, but holistic thinking, Huerta said in his keynote speech.
“Technology is driving a transformation in how we control and manage air traffic,” Huerta described. “This transformation to NextGen will be dominated by interdependence, and it will come about because of collaboration.”
Huerta continues: “NextGen runs on a philosophy that’s different from the way we have been handling air traffic for the last 50 years. NextGen is about greater sharing of data and information. The entire aviation community will have the same information. NextGen is not about compartmentalized sectors thinking about their piece of the puzzle. It is about holistic thinking, seeing all the moving parts and having greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground. Greater awareness leads to enhanced safety and efficiency, which benefits everyone.
“We are truly changing the way we deliver and the way we share data. This will open up many opportunities for innovative companies,” Huerta enthuses. “The marketplace will undoubtedly come up with new products and capabilities that we can only imagine today.”
Data Communications, En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B), and System Wide Information Management (SWIM)—all of these technologies are about sharing and using information more effectively, Huerta affirms.