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May 21- As we move into the summer thunderstorm season, NextGen technology is helping to keep departing airplanes on schedule as they fly out of Newark, NJ, into some of the busiest and most congested airspace in the U.S. That is welcome news for airline passengers who will be traveling during the busy summer vacation months.
FedEx, United Airlines and UPS have been participating in trials with the FAA in Newark and Memphis to demonstrate Data Communications (Data Comm) capabilities and benefits. Data Comm is an FAA NextGen technology that revolutionizes communications between air traffic controllers and pilots.Data Comm provides additional advanced capabilities for controller-to-pilot communications using digital information exchange.
By exchanging digital messages in addition to talking to each other over the radio, air traffic controllers, pilots, and airline operations centers can communicate more clearly and efficiently. Better communication improves controller and pilot productivity, which enhances airspace capacity and reduces flight delays. It also helps aircraft fly more direct routes, saving time and fuel, reduces the impact on the environment, and improves safety.
Air traffic controllers currently use radio voice communications to give clearances and other flight information to pilots, which is time-consuming and restrictive.Data Comm provides a two-way data exchange between controllers and flight crews for clearances, instructions, advisories, flight crew requests and reports. It enhances air traffic safety by allowing controllers to give more timely and effective clearances.
FedEx, United Airlines, and UPS already are seeing reduced delays and cost savings as a result of Data Comm benefits. They achieved those benefits because of reduced communication time between controllers and pilots, as well as improved re-routing around weather and congestion, which all translate to time saved for the flying public.
The FAA plans to deploy Data Comm in more than 50 air traffic control towers beginning in 2015 and in air traffic control facilities that manage high altitude traffic beginning in 2019. International carriers can also benefit from Data Comm capabilities and have participated in the trials at Newark.
For more info visit, http://www.faa.gov/nextgen or follow #FlyNextGen on Social Media.
Companies are competing to turn data into advice on how to farm better, and attracting investments from the likes of Google Ventures and Monsanto.
Keith Larrabee’s farm sits on 4,000 acres of California’s Sacramento Valley, between a coastal range of mountains to the west and the tall Sierra Nevadas to the east. It’s an area that traditionally gets much more rain than most of the drought-stricken state. Even so, Larrabee is always worried about the cost and availability of water for his orchards of walnuts and pecans and his 3,000 acres of rice.
As prepared for delivery
Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to speak today about the reauthorization of the FAA.
The upcoming FAA reauthorization provides us with the opportunity to propel our system to the next level of safety and foster the kind of innovative climate that has long been the hallmark of our proud aviation heritage.
This reauthorization has provided a forum for many in industry and government to openly discuss possible changes to the governance structure of the FAA to help us create the aviation system that will sustain our nations economic growth well into the future. We are open to having this discussion. But we must all agree on the most important problems reauthorization should fix. In our view those are budget instability and the lack of flexibility to execute our priorities. These challenges exist for the entire agency not just for the air traffic control and NextGen organizations, as some have suggested.
In addition to finding agreement on the problem were trying to solve, we should agree on finding ways to avoid unintended consequences. Our ability to deploy NextGen technologies and capabilities hinges on interdependencies and relationships within the agency. NextGen is more than installing technology in our air traffic facilities and on aircraft it involves the close participation of our safety organization to ensure that the technology is safe and that controllers and pilots know how to use it safely. We believe that any decision about governance must take into account these issues so that we may best serve our nation and the flying public.
Some have argued for change saying the FAA has not delivered on air traffic modernization. I would argue that the FAA has already made major progress in modernizing our airspace system through NextGen. We completed installation of a more powerful technology platform with our new high altitude air traffic control system known as ERAM. This system will accommodate the applications of NextGen and allow controllers to handle the expected increase in air traffic more efficiently. And last year we finished the coast-to-coast installation of the ADS-B network that will enable satellite-based air traffic control.
On a parallel track, through our collaboration with industry, we identified key priorities in implementing NextGen air traffic procedures. We now have more satellite-based procedures in our skies than radar-based procedures. We have created new NextGen routes above some of our busiest metropolitan areas, saving millions of dollars in fuel, decreasing carbon emissions and cutting down on delays in each city.
In addition to these improvements, we have set clear priorities on delivering more benefits in the next three years. These range from improved separation standards for heavy aircraft; better coordination of traffic on the airport surface; and streamlined departure clearances using data communications.
NextGen has already yielded $1.6 billion in benefits to airlines and the traveling public. In the next 15 years the changes we have already made will produce $11.4 billion in benefits.
We recognize it is not enough to rely on projected benefits. That is why we go back and study the benefits that certain improvements have provided to users. For example, in Atlanta, we safely reduced wake separation standards to improve the efficiency of the airport. Because of this change, Atlantas Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has increased the number of planes that can land by up to 5 percent, which translates into about five more planes per hour. Delta Air Lines is also saving up to two minutes of taxi time per flight. These improvements are saving Delta between $13 million to $18 million in operating costs annually.
We are aware of the criticisms of the FAAs implementation of NextGen, and I would like to explain our approach. There are different theories about how to deploy technology in a complex operating environment. Some take the position that you should start from a wide ranging vision and work back from there on developing a range of scenarios. Others suggest mapping out the entire picture and only proceeding when you are sure of the end game. Others say to take a more pragmatic approach, and this is the path the FAA has chosen based on close consultation with industry. This approach, used by the Office of Management and Budget, closely matches investments with tangible benefits to airlines and passengers. We acknowledge that it requires upfront investment, and we are careful not to strand programs in the middle of implementation.
When dealing with wide-spread change in a dynamic airspace system there is no margin of error. This system must transport 750 million passengers every year with the highest level of safety. Any technology we implement must be reliable and safe from the outset. To achieve this high standard, we must remain nimble and have flexibility.
Our aviation system is a valuable asset for the American public. We should use the upcoming reauthorization to provide the FAA with the tools necessary to meet the demands of the future and minimize disruption to the progress weve already made with NextGen and our work to integrate new users into our airspace system.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee today. I am happy to take any questions you may have.
As Prepared for Delivery
Thanks Chip. I'm glad to be here.
Today, Id like to talk about:
Deregulation / Mergers / 9-11
New Safety Approach
Lessons from Colgan: 1500 hour rule
Full Stall Training/Simulators
Call to Action: Be Part of the Solution
Thank you for that warm welcome, Jack [Pelton, EAA Board Chairman] Im always happy to see a fellow California native. Jack was an important member of the FAA Management Advisory Council a few years back, and hes a valuable partner to us now that hes at the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Last week, one of the most diverse collections of World War II aircraft ever assembled flew over Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. Thousands of people lined the National Mall and crowded onto balconies and rooftops across the city to see these historic planes take flight. It was a special moment to witness, deeply rooted in a love for aviation and its rich history.
Being back in the Air Capital of the World, Im once again reminded of that history. So much of it happened here in Wichita. Let me give you an example.
Seventy years ago, a B-29 bomber rolled off the assembly line at the Wichita Boeing plant. It was called Doc part of a squadron of eight airplanes named after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. After serving in the Korean War, Doc was decommissioned and sent to the Mojave Desert in California. There it stayed for more than 40 years, baking in the sun and occasionally being used for military target practice.
Doc got a reprieve in 2000, when a group of historians rescued it and shipped it back home to Wichita. They dreamed of restoring the old B-29 to its former glory and eventually getting it back in the air.
Hundreds of volunteers came out to work on Doc including people who had built the plane in 1944. They painted and installed new skin panels. They replaced every piece of wire and cable. They put in new engines and a modern avionics system.
Thanks to these efforts, Doc is on track to fly again this summer for the first time since the Korean War.
This is a story that embodies the spirit of Wichita. Aviation pioneers like Clyde Cessna and Bill Lear made their marks here. Planes that fly across the world were built here, by generations of Wichita families.
As much as aviation is a part of Wichitas past, its also an important part of its future. In a factory adjacent to the one where Doc was built 70 years ago, Spirit Aerosystems is using the latest in robotics technology to create fuselage and cockpits for the 787 Dreamliner out of black carbon composite tape the most advanced aircraft manufacturing technique in existence today.
This type of innovation is essential to keeping up with our evolving industry not only here in Wichita, but also at the FAA.
Today, Im going to tell you about how our agency is working to create Americas 21st century aviation system. Then, I look forward to answering your questions and hearing about the successes and challenges youre experiencing here in Wichita.
As you know, the FAA is focused on putting the Next Generation Air Transportation System in place. NextGen is using innovative technologies and procedures to make flying safer, greener, and more efficient and its already delivering benefits across the country.
One of the most important developments were working on is the shift from radar-based aircraft tracking to satellite-based tracking.
The FAA installed the baseline ground infrastructure for the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast system last year. This is exciting technology especially for the general aviation community.
ADS-B helps controllers determine your aircrafts location with far greater accuracy. If you operate in remote areas where radar coverage is limited, ADS-B will make flying safer. It helps us take the search out of search-and-rescue if you run into trouble a potentially life-saving benefit.
ADS-B also brings free weather and traffic updates from coast to coast directly to the cockpit. This means youre getting the most up-to-date information on hazardous weather, temporary flight restrictions, and notices to airmen when you need it most.
The full benefits of ADS-B require 100 percent equipage for aircraft flying in controlled air space. The FAA has set a January 1, 2020, deadline to equip for ADS-B Out in controlled airspace. Many of you have asked about that deadline, and if it might be extended. The answer is no the date is set so I want to strongly encourage you to make plans to get equipped as soon as possible. You dont want to end up grounded in the early months of 2020 because of a parts or installation delay.
I want to thank the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and all of the other industry groups who have encouraged owners to get equipped and helped raise awareness about the 2020 deadline. This support has been invaluable.
The FAA is collaborating closely with these organizations through our Equip 2020 working group. Were seeking to smooth the transition to ADS-B by identifying and resolving the barriers delaying operators from getting equipped.
I know cost has been a major concern. Im pleased to report that a number of avionics manufacturers are stepping up to produce equipment that complies with the ADS-B Out mandate. This increased competition has driven costs down considerably. Some units are now available for less than $2,000.
Since our ADS-B Call to Action last October, more than 8,000 general aviation aircraft have equipped a really promising start. We want to see those equipage rates continue to rise.
So if you havent researched getting ADS-B equipment for a while, now is a great time to take a second look.
ADS-B is just one example of how were modernizing our national airspace system.
This spring, we delivered on another important foundational element of NextGen. En Route Automation Modernization, or ERAM, is one of the largest technology changeovers in the history of the FAA. ERAM is a faster computer platform that replaces our legacy system, which had its roots in the 1960s. It gives us a much bigger, richer picture of our nations air traffic and allows controllers to better manage flights from gate to gate.
ERAM also supports a number of other important NextGen technologies.
For example, Eisenhower National is the key site for the STARS FUSION improvement software, which is used for air traffic control displays. The software package makes it easier for controllers to do their jobs, creating a clearer and more accurate display that pulls in data from multiple radar and ADS-B sites. As more aircraft in the region equip with ADS-B, the full benefits of these upgrades will be experienced.
The FAA isnt only using new technologies to prepare for the future. Were also evolving in the way we think and approach our processes especially when it comes to certification.
When we first started certifying aircraft, it was a pretty simple process. We laid out airworthiness standards for small airplanes, and manufacturers met them. Over the years, this process became much more complicated.
Wichitas history proves that the aviation industry tends to attract innovative thinkers. As they created new and better aircraft designs, the certification process struggled to keep up.
We knew we needed to find a better way to increase safety, certify more efficiently, and help bring more products to market. We quickly realized that the answer was to change our mindset. Instead of being prescriptive, we needed to be performance-based.
Instead of requiring certain design elements on specific technologies, we knew we needed to define the safety outcomes we wanted to achieve. This approach recognizes that theres more than one way to deliver on safety and it provides room for flexibility and innovation in the marketplace.
The FAA is in the process of codifying this change into a rewrite of Part 23 of our aviation regulations. Congress recognized this was a priority when it required a Part 23 rulemaking in the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013, and Ive asked my team to shorten timeframes wherever possible so we can get this rule done quickly.
Its a big undertaking. The new rule will touch many different aspects of aviation, so we have to make sure its fair, can be enforced, and doesnt have an adverse impact on safety or airworthiness.
I know youre eager for this rule to get done but its imperative that we do it right. Your businesses are counting on it, and the competitiveness of the entire U.S. aviation industry is counting on it.
Your contributions as part of the ASTM International Committee and the Aviation Rulemaking Committee on this subject have already been invaluable. The feedback we received from industry and international stakeholders has helped shape the rulemaking were currently drafting. We plan to publish it for public comment by the end of this year. Well also continue to collaborate as industry develops compliance measures that will meet our new performance-based standards.
In addition to re-thinking our certification process for aircraft, the FAA is also re-thinking our requirements for general aviation pilots.
I know one of the most important issues on everyones mind here today is the third-class medical certificate. The FAA is working to define how a person can fly without a third-class medical certificate while maintaining the highest level of safety.
We want to make this a lasting policy change that encourages more people to get their pilot certificates and invest in general aviation aircraft. We also have to acknowledge that a change to medical requirements could introduce risks into the system that we need to understand and mitigate.
Please know: were working diligently to get a proposal out so all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to weigh in.
All of these actions were taking are born out of a larger shift toward embracing risk-based decision-making. Aviation has long been on the forefront of this kind of thinking in transportation, and its unquestionably the future of our industry.
As a result, the FAA is embedding risk management into every level of our business. I even made it one of the agencys four Strategic Initiatives when I became Administrator because I knew it was essential to helping us achieve our mission of providing the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.
Twenty years ago, the FAA operated under the philosophy that 100 percent compliance with safety regulations equaled 100 percent safety. This, however, didnt go far enough. Not all safety issues are regulated and several incidents in the 1990s led us to rethink this approach.
We knew that, as aviation became safer, wed have less accident data to guide our efforts. We needed to focus on identifying areas of risk and mitigating them before an incident occurred.
Heres how it works: We collect safety data from air traffic controllers, airway technicians, pilots, other aviation professionals, and a variety of other sources. We then analyze this data to identify potential high-risk areas and target our resources to address them.
Using data and analysis to guide the way we make decisions is common sense and the aviation industry has been an essential partner in our efforts. Weve been working together for years to introduce more risk assessments into our decision-making processes.
Thanks to our collaboration with airlines, manufacturers, labor, and others under the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, we reduced the risk of fatal commercial accidents by 83 percent between 1998 and 2008 a stunning success. Since 2008, weve continued to build on that accomplishment.
An important factor contributing to our ongoing improvement is the widespread adoption of Safety Management Systems, which have produced safer, more efficient outcomes for small and large carriers alike.
The FAA recently finalized a rule requiring most U.S. commercial carriers to have Safety Management Systems in place by 2018. It codifies the risk-based decision-making process that weve developed cooperatively with industry over the last decade-and-a half. It also puts us in line with internationally-recognized best safety practices.
Ive laid out a few of the ways that the FAA is preparing our national airspace system for the future. In order for us to continue making progress on these initiatives, we need the proper resources.
The current FAA reauthorization expires on September 30th. Were committed to working closely with Congress to pass a long-term bill. While we dont know what that bill will exactly look like yet, we do know that it has to embrace a few key principles.
First, reauthorization must help us maintain our exceptional safety record by providing more opportunities to use risk-based decision-making.
Second, we must continue the modernization of our air traffic control system with stable funding for our core operations and NextGen investments.
Third, reauthorization should secure appropriate funding for our nations airports. The new Eisenhower National terminal thats about to open is a fantastic example of the kind of project we need to support.
Finally, we must maintain and strengthen Americas global leadership on aviation. In addition to shaping and harmonizing international aviation standards, this means strengthening the U.S. aviation industry in a competitive global marketplace.
The aviation products we make in America right here in Wichita are essential to the health of our national economy. Seeing your planes crisscross the globe are a sign that U.S. innovation is alive and well.
I hope we can count on you to help us call on Congress to take up a long-term reauthorization bill as soon as possible.
Before I wrap up, let me leave you with this. I often think about how lucky I am to be leading the FAA. Its an organization thats always done important work in an industry that was born out of American zeal and ingenuity. We are in the midst of a historic time in aviation and the decisions we make now will define aviation for decades to come.
Look no further than Doc. Thanks to the dedication of the aviation community here, that old B-29 that spent four decades in the desert will soon take flight again. If thats not a sign of what we can do when we work together, I dont know what is.
Thank you for the opportunity to join you here in Wichita today. I look forward to answering your questions.
Researchers say combining bacteria with nanoscale semiconductors opens a new path toward efficient artificial photosynthesis.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, say that by combining nanoscale materials with bacteria, they have opened the door to a new way of designing systems that could efficiently turn carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into useful organic compounds—similar to what plants do through photosynthesis. Down the road, they say, the system could become a commercially viable way to produce high-value chemicals like drug precursors used by the pharmaceutical industry, or to store renewable energy in the form of liquid fuels.
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and thank you to everyone for joining us today.
En Route Automation Modernization, or ERAM, is one of the largest technology changeovers in the history of the FAA. We completed it last month and Im pleased to report that its functioning smoothly in the 20 high altitude air traffic control centers across the continental United States right now.
ERAM is not just a faster computer system its a network that replaces our legacy system, which had its roots in the 1960s. We are now able to handle air traffic in a much more collaborative way. We can see a much bigger and richer picture of our nations high altitude air traffic.
ERAM gives us a big boost in technological horsepower over the system it replaces. This computer system enables each controller to handle more aircraft over a larger area, resulting in increased safety, capacity and efficiency.
ERAM processes data from nearly three times the number of sensors as the old system. It can track and display nearly double the number of high altitude flights, and enable controllers to handle additional traffic more efficiently. Its going to make all air traffic flow more smoothly across the country.
As the Secretary said, this means that controllers will now be able to better manage flights from gate to gate. With tools that are now available through ERAM, our air traffic computers can generate specific trajectories and speeds that will allow controllers to make the most efficient use of the airspace and cut down on congestion. Previously, controllers would have to estimate the best speed for an aircraft to travel in order to maintain proper separation. With the more precise picture that ERAM gives us, theres a greater opportunity for more efficient spacing of aircraft and to use NextGen procedures that save fuel and cut down on emissions.
Eventually, in conjunction with other new technology, ERAM will allow controllers to push a button and send a written message to a pilot in advance, allowing them to change course and steer around storms and congestion, once again improving on time arrival and decreasing delays.
Our new system now links seamlessly with another technology that processes satellite-based GPS information. This system is called Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast, or ADS-B. Last year we finished the coast-to-coast installation of the ADS-B network.
With its GPS technology, ADS-B provides a more precise and efficient alternative to radar including in places where there was no radar coverage before. For example, using their new ERAM computers, controllers today are providing radar-like separation over the Gulf of Mexico and large parts of Alaska with ADS-B. By 2020, it will become the FAAs primary means of tracking and separating aircraft.
With ERAM in place, the FAA has fulfilled an important commitment in modernizing the nations NextGen air traffic control system. We did not make this progress alone. We did so by creating a close collaboration between management, labor and industry.
Id like to acknowledge the Chief Operating Officer of the FAAs Air Traffic Control Organization, Teri Bristol, whose leadership on ERAM was fundamental. Also, Id like to acknowledge our labor representative from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Julio Henriques. Julio was instrumental in helping us implement ERAM and served as the NATCA lead representative. Finally, I would like to acknowledge our industry representative, Stephanie Hill, from Lockheed Martin. The teamwork between labor, management and industry is why ERAM is working today. Together, we are enhancing safety and increasing capacity in what is already the worlds safest aviation system.
I want to thank you again for joining us today, and I would like to turn it over to Julio for more insight into how we accomplished this major milestone.
The 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch show the device’s promise and pitfalls.
Nobody needs an Apple Watch, or any kind of smart watch, really; we haven’t quite figured out what to do with these things yet, beyond activity tracking and replicating the alerts you already get on your smartphone. But that isn’t stopping app makers from trying to figure out more things to do with wrist-worn gadgets. There are more than 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch, which started selling this month from Apple’s website (though if you order now, you probably won’t get one until June).
Neural probes that combine optics, electronics, and drugs could help unlock the secrets of the brain.
Various powerful new tools for exploring and manipulating the brain have been developed over the last few years. Some use electronics, while others use light or chemicals.