Senior Policy Committee Briefed on NGATS Concepts
Last month, Joint Planning and Development Office Director Charlie Keegan briefed the NGATS Senior Policy Committee on the JPDO's progress and next steps. Among the discussion: overviews of the concepts that will shape air transportation in the future. Here is a brief description of the concepts. If you would like to review the entire presentation, click here.
Changes in the air transportation system will be fundamental. Transforming the current system will require not only technology, but organizational structure, policy and culture, such as different roles and responsibilities for pilots and controllers.
Today, an enormous amount of information is generated from aircraft position to weather to potential security threats. However, there’s no “big picture” where it’s all pulled together, giving decision-makers quick access to the information they need. That’s where Network Enabled Operations come in: giving the right information to the right person at the right time.
Today’s system with its rules and regulations dating back to the 1950s handles a state-of-the-art jetliner much as it would an old Cessna. The future system will give high-performance aircraft greater operating flexibility, enhancing their ability to get travelers where they want to go on time.
Layered, Adaptive Security
The challenge: moving people and goods quickly and efficiently while still improving security. The solution: embedded and interwoven security layers that operate seamlessly and adapt to changing situations. Airport security screening will be far less intrusive so you can keep safe while keeping on your shoes.
Finally someone is doing something about the weather. More accurate forecasts and real-time observations including those from aircraft will be integrated into a single national database and automatically updated. The future system can look into the future and plan around the weather. Pilots can then pick the smoothest ride possible.
Broad-Area Precision Navigation
Precision satellite navigation and a web of sky information will allow pilots to make precision landings at airports that don’t have control towers or radar. This new capability opens up thousands of small, underutilized airports to a new generation of very light jets, easing pressure at congested airports and bringing air service where there was none before.
Today’s rigid system doesn’t allow us to adjust to user needs. However, in the “dynamic” Next Generation System, users will “contract” for airspace access and services months in advance. Resources will be matched to demand and updated hourly. Weather and other uncertainties will be accounted for.
“Equivalent Visual” Operations
Through sensors and satellites, the system will allow for precise navigation and other critical information directly into the cockpit. For the first time, pilots and controllers will see the same picture, and controllers can start delegating tasks. One big technological benefit will be reducing separation between aircraft in low-visibility conditions, thereby increasing capacity without compromising safety.
“Super Density” Operations
Peak performance from our busiest airports is a necessity. Equivalent visual operations, and reducing jet wakes on runways, can reduce the separation between aircraft taking off and landing. More runways can be used at near full capacity and without harming the environment.