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Current News

  The Next Generation Air Transportation System: 2005 Milestones

It's been a busy year for the Joint Planning and Development Office, and one of real progress. Before we ring in the New Year, now's the time to look back at our accomplishments and see what's ahead for 2006:

UAVs Take Big Step

Being able to "see" all other aircraft is a necessary aspect of ADS-B.

Transformation Begins Today:
In 2005, the JPDO conducted its first preliminary interagency program review. It identified five means by which interagency collaboration could advance Next Generation capabilities in the FY 2007 budget: (1) jump-start ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast); (2) jump-start Network Enabled information access; (3) synchronize weather research and accelerate development; (4) define RTSP (Required Total System Performance) levels of service; 5) initiate aircraft trajectory-based research; and (5) align environmental R&D.

Reasonable Costs=Good Government: At a time of fiscal constraints and declining Aviation Trust Fund revenues, one of the most important JPDO findings in 2005 was that Next Generation System costs are reasonable. Approximately $1.5 billion is spent annually on air transportation-related research. By better coordinating that research and tying it to the Integrated Plan, NGATS can eliminate redundancies and maximize the benefits of private and public capital investments.

UAVs Take Big Step

FAA Administrator Blakey and NASA Administrator Griffin at SATS 2005.
Source: NASA

Successful Demonstration Projects: The JPDO began conducting demonstration projects this year. Last June, NASA carried out a highly successful demonstration of its Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS). A whole new generation of safe and affordable small aircraft will be able to take advantage of the SATS enabling technology in places where these aircraft did not have reliable access before. This will take pressure off our busiest airports and convey benefits to thousands of smaller communities.

Creation of the NGATS Institute: Established earlier this year, hosted by the Aerospace Industries Association and co-chaired by the presidents of the Air Traffic Control Association and Air Transport Association, the Institute is a new alliance among organizations representing major aviation stakeholder communities. The Institute will allow them to get directly involved in the transformation process.

The Institute will make sure that new concepts, technology and operational change can pass real world tests. Its first task was populating the Integrated Product Teams with the best and brightest experts industry can offer. For more news from the Institute, click here.

UAVs Take Big Step

Discussions are underway between the U.S. and E.C. to develop a global framework for future air traffic management.

Global Interoperability:
The opportunity to create a modernized, global system that provides interoperability would serve as a tremendous boost to the industry, fueling new efficiencies and consumer benefits on a global scale. In 2005, we began developing a cooperative, global framework for the evolving air traffic management systems in the U.S. and Europe. The JPDO, the FAA and the Commission of the European Communities are working together to hammer out the specifics of a Memorandum of Understanding that will cement that relationship and lay out its parameters.

What Lies Ahead in 2006

LED lighting installed on an airport taxiway.
Source: HIL-Tech International Ltd.

More Demonstration Projects: In 2006, JPDO will launch a second wave of demonstration projects that will help lay a critical technology foundation for the NGATS. These include the initial phase of ADS-B, which will introduce dependent surveillance as a future system tool, and SWIM (System Wide Information Management), which will permit network centric operations in the NAS.  Also on deck for 2006 are LED airport lighting, which improves visibility and cost-performance of runway and taxiway lighting, and Capstone Phase III, which extends safety benefits from technology such as WAAS and air-to-air ADS-B to other parts of the state of Alaska.

Research Begins with IPTs & Institute: The IPTs will be fully populated with top-notch technical experts and funded studies will commence by the end of the first quarter.

Establishing an Enterprise Architecture:  All planning will be driven by analysis, enterprise engineering and integration discipline. Indeed, the NGATS concept and roadmap will be integrated into formal enterprise architecture, ensuring that dependencies, gaps, overlaps and costs are fully understood and resolved.

Portfolio Management:  Portfolio management will be formalized with links established to the key research and implementation programs across our agencies.  The JPDO will have a functional and vetted enterprise architecture and portfolio before the end of FY2006.

Greater Definition: The year 2006 will also see a true national public/private partnership emerge, much greater definition and detail in the NGATS concept and roadmap and a thorough understanding of the total portfolio of investments and actions necessary to achieve greater benefits in FY2008 – benefits that will ultimately help take us to the system of the future. If we remain focused, manage risk and stay on this path, we will succeed. 

NGATS Institute Fills IPTs; Names New Executive Director

The NGATS Institute has reached one of its key initial milestones: it has partnered with the JPDO Integrated Product Teams to fill private-sector positions on seven of the JPDO’s eight IPTs. Almost 200 applicants from industry and academia applied to participate on the IPTs, and 140 members were placed in the working groups. The Institute plans to add additional members with expertise in areas that the JPDO teams are identifying as critical and still need to be assigned. Concurrently with this effort, the Institute is supporting the process of initiating the first tasks for studies and private sector expertise on key areas as requested by the JPDO.
Meanwhile, the Institute has named a new executive director. Steve Fisher is a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot and senior staff officer with extensive experience at the Federal Aviation Administration and in private sector high technology companies.

He was most recently a senior account manager with Northrop Grumman’s Information Technology Sector overseeing FAA and Transportation Department programs and services. He previously served as an executive staff officer in the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon after being recalled to active duty following the 9/11 attack. Before retiring from the FAA in 2000, he served in numerous engineering management positions including that as a program director for advanced technology research and development efforts for emerging general aviation and vertical flight emerging technology. Fisher has more than 16 years operational flying experience in the regular and reserve Marine Corps, retiring with over 30 years service in 2002. He began his new role here for NGATS on November 28th. The Institute is co-located with the Joint Planning and Development Office in Washington, DC.
Dale Goodrich, the first executive director of the Institute, resigned in October subsequent to being called to return to military active duty in order to backfill personnel scheduled for overseas deployment.

A key future event for the Institute will be a public meeting, being considered for next February. More information will be made available at this and the Institute’s web site in the coming weeks.

Maastricht ATC Conference

The Netherlands in February is not exactly a vacation spot, but, if you want to stay on top of what's happening in ATC around the globe, you'll want to be there. ATC Maastricht 2006 is the largest international conference and exhibition for the air traffic control and management industry - in one place are the people, the products and the services representing air traffic control operations worldwide. The JPDO's NGATS' booth will be in the exhibit hall staffed with a full contingent of JPDO professionals. At the conference, Russ Chew, Chief Operating Officer of the FAA - Air Traffic Organization, will be a keynote speaker, and, JPDO Director Charlie Keegan will speak in a session on new generation ATM systems.

Find out more about The Maastricht ATC conference >

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