Air Traffic Control
The National Airspace System of the U. S is one difficult system to work with today. It consists of thousands of people, procedures, facilities and equipment, which, enables for safe travel across the United States and over great portions of the world’s major oceans. The entire system consists upwards of about 5000 air traffic controllers, and over 10000 safety inspectors and technicians. All together, there’s about 41,000 facilities within the system and over 71,000 pieces of equipment like radar. Over 50000 flights use the NAS everyday. As one can see, the NAS is extremely important.
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One may ask what it has to do with NEXTGEN of which I am writing. NEXTGEN itself is a name given to a new NAS that will be implemented in stages around the U. S between the years of 2012 and 2025. The air transportation system around the U. S will be undergoing major transformations. What’s the point of the transformation the FAA is having the U. S going through? Mainly, it’s to reduce major gridlock not only in the air, but in the airports as well. The NEXTGEN has been undergoing its formation ever since 2003 by JDPO which was established by the U. S congress. Lately, the Air Transportation System of the U.
S has been undergoing increasing stress. This will only lead to more costly delays of flights, and thus creating concerns of flight safety and then degrading even further the U. S ATS. Mainly, NEXTGEN is a transformation of the ENTIRE NAS, not only bits and pieces of it. It’s to meet any future demands and help avoid gridlock of traffic. NEXTGEN “moves away from legacy ground based technologies to new and more dynamic satellite-based technology. The new capabilities and the highly interdependent technologies aim to change the way that the system operates, reduce congestion, and improve passengers’ experiences. Throughout the paper the NEXTGEN will broken down and dissected until we know it through and through. The NEXTGEN consists of several different elements such as ADS-B, SWIM, NNEW and NVS. Starting with the ADS-B also known as automatic dependent surveillance broadcast. The ADS-B is going to use GPS to help pilots and ATC to separate planes and not only in the sky, but on the ground as well. The GPS will paint a more accurate picture to see other planes in the area. The transponders in the aircrafts will receive the GPS signals and will thus use them to see the precise location of the aircraft.
The data will then be broadcast to other aircraft and ATC, and for the first time will see a real time display of other traffic. Later on down the road the FAA will mandate what kinds of avionics are necessary to implement the ADS-B. The FAA will require that all aircraft will need to be equipped with it by no later than Jan 2020. The ADS-B is going to bring many new safety features in and out of the airplane. Within the aircraft, a pilot can bring up information about aircraft surrounding his, with details such as heading, speed etc.
It will also show the pilot about terrain and any weather that may be headed his/her way, and what seems to be more importantly, it’s free. Next, the NEXTGEN consists of SWIM, System Wide Information Management. “SWIM will provide a single infrastructure and information management system to deliver high quality, timely data to many users and applications. ” SWIM is going to rid NAS of any repetitiveness so the users may use the information more efficiently. It also allows for the information to become more easily accessible. Euro control first pitched the SWIM to the FAA 14 years ago, and since then, it’s been under development.
However it’s not only a concept that’s going to be implemented within NEXTGEN, but Europe’s research facility is also trying to implement the same thing. The main improvement that SWIM will bring to NEXTGEN is it will create an increase in situational awareness, which, in the air, is important. How it’s possible is the fact that the information provided to all positions (ATC, pilots etc) is consistent. Next is the NNEW, Next Generation Enabled Weather. As earlier stated, NEXTGEN is used to help create less delays for flights, which thus cost money for the airlines.
This element of NEXTGEN will help reduce the delays of airlines because of the fact that about 70 % of all delays are related to weather in some way. It’s predicted that NNEW will quite possible reduce the amount of weather related delays in half of what it already is. All the different ways a person can gather weather (weather towers, airborne, in space) will all be combined into one source and will update it every hour in real time. Like it has been seen, receiving common information is the key to improving the airlines’ performance and safety, and NNEW is no different.
NNEW will give a common picture of weather across the nation making it easier for pilots to make the decision whether or not to fly at that particular point in time. More impressively, the NNEW is making to create not a 3-D picture, but a 4D weather data cube (lateral, vertical time dimensions). Not only will this create an increase in flight safety, but it will allow more planes to get off the ground because they thought the weather would be poor, thus increasing airspace capacity. Lastly, there’s the NVS, NAS voice switch.
There’s plenty of voice switches within the NAS, in fact there’s over 17 different switches. With some being active for more than two decades, NVS is planning on making things a little bit easier all for the sake of performance by creating air/ground and ground/ground communications. The NVS is set to be put in place to help controllers that may be overworked in their areas particular “on” season. It will allow airspaces to be reconfigured due to workload of other airspaces. The catchy thing about all of this is, with these reconfigurations, they’re possible without an actual, physical movement of staff.
A person from across the country can be assigned to airspace without moving anywhere. Also a change between analog to VOIP is also being considered before this is to be implemented. Simply put, NVS is just the new class of communication with airborne aircraft, replacing those out of date equipment. There, of course are many benefits to the NEXTGEN. Now, the pilot would be able to choose its direction of flight, which preferably it’s a direct flight, which goes to show that it will increase performance, and not need to necessarily follow the grid in the sky that exists today.
Like never before, an airplane will receive precise location and time it and another aircraft are to cross paths along their route of flight, which will allow ample time to redirect itself as necessary. Also, the same information will be accessible to those on the ground, both pilots and air traffic managers, thus making the sky a much safer place to be in. As previously stated, weather related delays and emergencies will be avoided almost all together by giving precise information to pilots and air traffic managers via improved information sharing.
NEXTGEN will improve surface movements at airports, because of this; as much of a separation isn’t needed, and that allows for more aircraft into a specific area. This will allow for a better management of flow into and out of busy airspace. Like stated on several occasions above, NEXTGEN is used to increase efficiency in the air, and with every element combined we will be able to better use our busiest of airports and make sure we’re getting their potential out of them. The USA and Europe are working together in what I like to call interoperability to get each other on the same page.
As of October of 2010 the US and the European Authorities have reached a preliminary agreement on the integration of their respective Air Traffic Management improvements. Co-coordinating the two is one giant step towards the standardization of ATM. The USA and the European Union will pursue such a feat through the CAO. In my opinion, the integration of the two is not only essential, but it almost needs to be required, once aircraft leave US airspace, then it’s back to the old way of communicating.
With the integration of the two, planes will be able to fly across the world or at least from the US to Europe without having many variances in communication. As this paper is drawn to a close, there’s one point that I feel needs to be brought up time and time again, and that’s flight safety. NEXTGEN with the combined efforts of Euro control, our skies are going to be incrementally made more efficient and safe at the same time. The information people read across our country and vast amounts of ocean will be uniform and consistent which is very important, because it will remove any confusion which is unsafe and not effective.
NEXTGEN has a very bright looking future for ATM; it’s a 12 year span that will show a great deal of improvements in many areas for aviation. Bibliography * Derber, Alex. “Europe and USA Take Step towards ATM Interoperability. ” Aviation News and Aviation Jobs from Flightglobal. Web. 05 May 2011. ;http://www. flightglobal. com/articles/2010/06/24/343582/europe-and-usa-take-step-towards-atm-interoperability. html * Wikipedia contributors. “National Airspace System Voice Switch. ” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Jul. 2010. Web. 5 May.