Pipe: Aviation

News and Updates - NextGen is Now at JFK

Thu, 2014-12-18 15:22

December 18-Passengers traveling through John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport will get a glimpse of how the FAA is bringing them NextGen technology today. In cooperation with JetBlue Airlines and JFK Airport, the FAA installed a NextGen video kiosk in the main lobby of Terminal 5 that lets flyers see just how NextGen is enhancing their flight experience.

NextGen technology makes the system more predictable so air traffic controllers can guarantee that flights spend less time metering and can depart on time. NextGen technology is cutting taxi time by 7,000 hours per year at JFK.

The FAA videos show how the agency is meeting the demands of air traffic in the future. They also demonstrate how JetBlue uses new satellite-based NextGen arrival procedures compared to traditional radar-based arrivals.

Another video shows from gate to gate how NextGen satellite-enabled technology makes flying safer, faster for passengers and cleaner for the environment.

Air traffic controllers are using GPS technology to safely separate more aircraft that are sharing the same airspace. NextGen weather tools will help determine the safest and most efficient routes to avoid delays or cancelled flights. NextGen technology is also enabling the pilot to fly a continuous descent approach into the airport. This helps the airline reduce fuel, noise and carbon emissions.

JFK is the second airport in the country to receive a NextGen video kisok. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was the first; and NextGen kiosks will be installed in Boston and Atlanta in the very near future.

To learn more about NextGen, visit the FAA website at


NASA flight tests innovative technologies aimed at improving flight efficiency and environmental performance

Thu, 2014-12-18 14:12
Thu 18 Dec 2014 - NASA is currently testing two inventive technologies that could potentially improve flight efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. The first involves computer software, called Airborne Spacing for Terminal Arrival Routes (ASTAR), that is designed to provide pilots with specific speed information and guidance so that planes can be more precisely spaced when approaching their destination airport, so minimising flight path deviations, allow more efficient use of existing airspace and possibly reducing noise over communities surrounding airports. The second is a wing surface made from advanced lightweight materials that can change shape in flight and could help airliners of the future become quieter and more fuel efficient. The Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) project has recently included a successful flight test of a modified Gulfstream III at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

Airbus inks US sustainable aviation fuels MoU with Fischer-Tropsch specialist Emerging Fuels

Tue, 2014-12-16 13:05
Tue 16 Dec 2014 - The US-based operation of Airbus Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) specialist Emerging Fuels Technology (EFT) in efforts to commercialise technologies to produce sustainable fuels for aviation. EFT has developed a proprietary Advanced Fixed Bed F-T reactor and catalyst system that can convert synthesis gas from, it claims, virtually any carbonaceous feedstock into transportation fuels such as renewable diesel and sustainable jet fuel. The company recently signed a cooperation agreement with global energy infrastructure engineering, procurement and construction company Black & Veatch (B&V) that grants B&V exclusivity in representing EFT technologies in select markets and applications.

Desalination out of Desperation

Tue, 2014-12-16 00:00

Severe droughts are forcing researchers to rethink how technology can increase the supply of fresh water.

Even in drought-stricken California, San Diego stands out. It gets less rain than parched Los Angeles or Fresno. The region has less groundwater than many other parts of the state. And more than 80 percent of water for homes and businesses is imported from sources that are increasingly stressed. The Colorado River is so overtaxed that it rarely reaches the sea; water originating in the Sacramento River delta, more than 400 miles north, was rationed by state officials this year, cutting off some farmers in California’s Central Valley from their main source of irrigation. San Diego County, hot, dry, and increasingly populous, offers a preview of where much of the world is headed. So too does a recent decision by the county government: it is building the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere, at a cost of $1 billion.


EU states tread warily on naming and shaming aircraft operators that have failed to comply with EU ETS rules

Mon, 2014-12-15 11:01
Mon 15 Dec 2014 - With barely three months to go before aircraft operators are due to report their 2013 and 2014 emissions for flights operated within the European Economic Area (EEA), a significant number of smaller operators and some high-profile airlines have yet to comply with the EU ETS regulations in force for 2012. Following an outcry over the inclusion of international flights to and from the EEA, and to allow ICAO to make progress on a global market-based measure, the EU backed down on the intended scope of its scheme. However, 20 months on, airlines from India, China and Russia, amongst others, have failed to surrender emission allowances for flights they operated within Europe in 2012. Despite the level of non-compliance, EU competent authorities have yet to name a single operator they have taken action against, mindful of the political sensitivities at stake.

Forget Hydrogen Cars, and Buy a Hybrid

Fri, 2014-12-12 14:10

Hybrids are a much more cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions than newly released hydrogen fuel cell cars.

If you want to help cut greenhouse gas emissions, you should probably skip the hydrogen fuel cell cars now coming to market and buy a (much cheaper) hybrid instead.


South African venture to develop sustainable aviation fuels from tobacco plants progresses to next phase

Thu, 2014-12-11 05:41
Thu 11 Dec 2014 - A South African collaboration to investigate the potential of developing a sustainable jet fuel supply chain from a nicotine-free, energy-rich tobacco plant variety has progressed to the formal launch of Project Solaris. Following the August announcement of the partnership involving Boeing, South African Airways, SkyNRG and Sunchem SA, 50 hectares (123 acres) of the Solaris plant were seeded in September in Marble Hall, Limpopo province, and a first harvest is expected later this month. Oil from the resulting seeds may be converted into sustainable jet fuel as early as next year, with SAA planning to conduct a test flight using the fuel when practicable. If test farming is successful, the project will be expanded elsewhere in South Africa and potentially to other countries.

A Coal Plant That Buries Its Greenhouse Gases

Wed, 2014-12-10 16:45

The first commercial power plant to use carbon capture and sequestration shows the potential of a crucial technology.


Conditional environmental permit progresses Hong Kong International's plans for a third runway

Wed, 2014-12-10 10:38
Wed 9 Dec 2014 - Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has made what it considers a major step towards its proposed expansion of the airport to a three-runway system with a decision by the government's Director of Environmental Protection to issue it with an environmental permit. The airport claims to be operating close to its maximum capacity but the expansion has proved controversial because of the potential impact on marine life in local waters, which has caused a delay in issuing the permit. The airport authority says it will now advance proposals for a promised marine park. The authority has also just released its annual sustainability report that shows a drop in electricity consumption at the airport despite growing passenger volumes, but waste disposal continues to present a challenge.

Testimony - Before the House Transportation and Infrastucture Committee, Subcommittee on Aviation, concerning U.S. Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Integration, Oversight, and Competitiveness

Wed, 2014-12-10 00:00

Chairman LoBiondo, Ranking Member Larsen, Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has successfully integrated new technology into the National Airspace System (NAS) for more than 50 years, while maintaining the safest aviation system in the world. In the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress mandated the safe and expedient integration of UAS into the NAS. We have been working steadily to accomplish that goal. The FAA has taken several key steps to integrate UAS into the NAS.

Progress Toward Integration
In the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, Congress mandated that the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (Secretary), in consultation with other government partners and industry stakeholders, develop a Comprehensive Plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems in the NAS, as well as a five-year Roadmap. Both documents have now been published.

The Integration of Civil UAS in the NAS Roadmap outlines the tasks and considerations necessary to integrate UAS into the NAS. The five-year Roadmap, updated annually, provides stakeholders with proposed agency actions to assist with their planning and development. The UAS Comprehensive Plan was drafted by the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), in coordination with JPDO Board participants from the Departments of Defense (DOD), Commerce (DOC), Homeland Security (DHS), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the FAA. The Comprehensive Plan details work that has been accomplished, along with future efforts needed to achieve safe integration of UAS into the NAS.[1] It sets overarching, interagency goals, objectives, and approaches to achieving integration. It is a document that considers UAS issues beyond 2015, including technologies necessary for safe and routine operation of civil UAS and the establishment of a process to inform FAA rulemaking projects related to certification, flight standards, and air traffic requirements.

UAS Test Sites
On December 30, 2013, the FAA announced six UAS test sites. In selecting the sites, the FAA followed Congressional direction to consider geographic and climatic diversity and to consult with DOD and NASA. The FAA selected the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the State of Nevada, New Yorks Griffiss International Airport, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) to serve as UAS test sites.

Consistent with the Congressional mandate, the FAA set out to have at least one test site operational within six months. On April 21, 2014, within four months of selecting the site, the FAA announced that the North Dakota Department of Commerce was the first test site to be operational. On May 5, 2014, the second test site, University of Alaska Fairbanks was declared operational. On that day, both operational UAS test sites conducted their first flight operations. On June 9, 2014, the FAA announced that the State of Nevada became the third operational UAS test site. On June 20, 2014, the FAA granted the Texas A&M University Corpus Christi approval to conduct operations; four of the test sites were operational within six months of being named. New York State Griffiss International Airport was declared operational on August 7, 2014. On August 13, 2014, the sixth and final UAS test site, Virginia Tech, was declared operational.

To support and accelerate test site activities, the FAA prioritized the processing of the first Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for each of the test sites. Since then, the FAA has continued to process test site COAs expeditiously. Since the inception of the test site program, the FAA has approved 40 COAs for UAS operations at the test sites with an average processing time of 57 days per COA, which surpasses the FAA goal of 60 days for all COAs. At the FAA/UAS Test Site Technical Interchange Meeting in September, the test sites indicated that they plan to submit 57 COA and 14 experimental certificate requests in the next year. We are prepared to process their requests expeditiously and look forward to continuing to work with the test sites to facilitate their operations and advance our research goals.

The FAA implemented a Designated Airworthiness Representatives program which will permit Test Site designees to issue experimental certificates for unmanned aircraft. To help the test sites develop the capability to assess unmanned aircraft and issue these certificates, the FAA developed both online and in-person training. Once test site designees have completed FAA training, they will be authorized to work within this new program. The State of Nevada was the first test site to participate in the training, and it expects to complete the test site Special Airworthiness Certification this month.

The test sites play a critical role in the safe and efficient integration of UAS into the NAS. The FAA will utilize data from the test sites to help answer key questions and provide critical information about how UAS will interface with the air traffic control system. Our research goals are focused on (1) gathering system safety data, (2) aircraft certification, (3) command and control link issues, (4) control station layout and certification criteria, (5) ground and airborne detect and avoid capabilities, and (6) impacts on affected populations and the environment. The information provided by the test sites will help the FAA to develop regulations and operational procedures for future civil commercial use of UAS in the NAS. Data from the test sites will also help identify elements of the certification and navigation requirements we will need to establish for unmanned aircraft.

UAS operational pre- and post-flight data is currently being collected from all test sites. The test sites are providing data about the types and sizes of aircraft, number of operations, number of flight hours, notable operating parameters (for example, whether the flight was within or beyond visual line of sight), and any incidents and accidents. Each site has also established its own research agenda. Id like to highlight just a few of the activities underway at each test site.

  • The North Dakota Department of Commerce test site has conducted more than 84 flights, with research concentrated on wildlife census and precision agriculture studies.

  • The University of Alaska Fairbanks test site encompasses 3,369 cubic miles of airspace in Alaska and Oregon. It is expanding flight operations into Kansas with the recent approval of Kansas State University as a new team member. The research conducted at this test site includes forward-looking infrared technology to support surveying large land mammals and using UAS to meet operational firefighting needs and provide tactical police support.

  • The State of Nevada became the first test site to participate in Designated Airworthiness Representative training. Nevada expects to complete the test site Special Airworthiness Certification this month, leading to the first Special Airworthiness Certification issued under the Designated Airworthiness Representatives for UAS Certification at UAS test sites program. Nevadas research will concentrate on UAS standards and operations, as well as operator standards and certification requirements.

  • Griffiss International Airport has conducted 31 flights using three different vehicles. In cooperation with Lockheed Martin, Griffiss International Airport test site has conducted Optional Piloted Aircraft research, testing a rotorcraft with and without an onboard pilot for firefighting research.

  • Texas A&M Corpus Christi created a fully operational UAS command center with advanced toolsets and is pursing solutions that will incorporate air traffic control data to augment operational safety mitigation strategies. Research activities include precision agriculture and coastal monitoring.

  • The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) hosted the second FAA/UAS Technical Interchange Meeting for the FAA and all six test sites in September 2014. This test site includes Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey. Research in these three states will include agricultural spray equipment testing, developing training and operational procedures for aeronautical surveys of agriculture, and the development of aeronautical procedures for integration of UAS flights in a towered airspace.

We continue to work closely with the test sites to identify the data most useful to the FAA.

FAA personnel at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ, play a key role in data collection and analysis. The FAA Technical Center has served as the core research facility for modernizing the air traffic management system and for advancing programs to enhance aviation safety, efficiency, and capacity since 1958. The Technical Center is the nations premier air transportation system laboratory. The Technical Centers highly technical and diverse workforce conducts research and development, test and evaluation, verification and validation, sustainment, and ultimately, de-commissioning of the FAAs full spectrum of aviation systems. Its employees develop scientific solutions to current and future air transportation safety, efficiency, and capacity challenges. Technical Center engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and technical experts utilize a robust, one-of-a-kind, world-class laboratory environment to identify integrated system solutions for the modernization and sustainment of the NAS and for developing and integrating new technology and operational capabilities.

The Technical Center has served a critical function in advancing UAS integration. A significant portion of test site data analysis is being performed at the Technical Center.A Data Lead from the Technical Center, regional representatives, and research engineers, are also visiting each UAS test site to evaluate how data is captured and maintained, ensure data transference and integrity, and determine whether additional data collection would facilitate meeting the FAAs research objectives. We continue to work with the test sites to obtain the most valuable information possible and facilitate further UAS integration.

Rulemaking and Exemptions
Section 332 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act required the agency to conduct rulemaking to permit the civil operation of small UAS in the NAS. The NPRM is currently under executive review.

Consistent with the authority in section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the FAA, in coordination with the Secretary of Transportation, is issuing exemptions that allow for commercial activity in the NAS in low-risk, controlled environments. As directed in the Act, an exemption may be granted after a two-step process. First, the Secretary must determine that, based on certain criteria set forth in the statute, the UAS does not pose a risk to those operating in the NAS, the general public, or national security and it can be safely operated without an airworthiness certificate. The FAA will then use its existing exemption authority to grant relief from FAA regulations that may apply. The exemption process allows the FAA to carefully evaluate each request to determine what conditions are required to ensure that the operation will not create an adverse impact on safety. Once an exemption is granted, the applicant must then apply for a civil Certificate of Waiver or Authorization, permitting the operator to conduct the proposed operation. We are looking at ways to streamline the process to enable broader use of civil UAS in the NAS.

Public Aircraft Certificates of Authorization and Partnerships with Law Enforcement
For the last two decades, the FAA has authorized the limited use of unmanned aircraft for important missions in the public interest. These include firefighting, disaster relief, search and rescue, law enforcement, border security, military training, and testing and evaluation. The FAA continues to facilitate the use of UAS by public entities. More than 35 law enforcement agencies operate unmanned aircraft now under certificates of authorization (COA). We have processed COAs on an emergency basis to facilitate the efficient use of UAS technology when it advances law enforcement purposes. We have authorized COAs that allow for UAS to be utilized in search and rescue operations in less than 24 hours. We will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that UAS technology is a tool available to them when it is sufficiently safe and in the public interest.

We are also working with Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies to address and educate the public about the unsafe, or unauthorized, use of UAS since they are often in the best position to deter, detect, and immediately investigate such activity. The FAA may take enforcement action against anyone that operates a UAS in a way that endangers the safety of the NAS, or who conducts an unauthorized UAS operation. This authority is designed to protect users of the airspace as well as people and property on the ground. State and local law enforcement can assist us in protecting the safety of the NAS by identifying individuals or entities engaged in unauthorized use, collecting and preserving evidence, and immediately reporting an incident, accident or other suspected violation to one of the FAA Regional Operation Centers (ROC) located around the country. The FAA tracks UAS events, including those reported to the FAA by law enforcement and the general public, as well as events identified by FAA air traffic control facilities. A single UAS-specific event tracking database is currently in development and will be deployed by the end of 2015.

Center of Excellence
Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, Congress directed the FAA to establish a UAS Center of Excellence (COE). The goal of this endeavor is to create a cost sharing relationship between academia, industry, and government that will focus on research areas of primary interest to the FAA and the UAS community. We intend to forge a union of public sector, private sector, and academic institutions to create a world-class consortium that will identify solutions for existing and anticipated UAS related issues. The COE will perform short- and long-term basic and applied research through a variety of analyses, development, and prototyping activities. To that end, the FAA solicited proposals from accredited institutions of higher education with their partners and affiliates. The FAA intends to enter into cooperative agreements with core university members, and will award matching grants for public benefit. Initially, grants will be awarded to university members to establish the COE, define the research agenda, and begin UAS research, education, training and related activities. We are currently in the process of reviewing proposals and look forward to establishing the COE.

The FAA has long had successful partnerships with the nations academic research community, working with U.S. colleges and universities to foster research by COE faculty and students, industry, and other affiliates. These research efforts have provided the agency and the industry a high return on investments and have contributed significantly to the advancement of aviation science and technology over the past two decades. We look forward to continuing these partnerships with respect to UAS research as we establish the COE.

The FAA is committed to safely integrating UAS into the NAS. The FAA has made steady progress toward that goal through the UAS Roadmap, the Comprehensive Plan, the test sites, Section 333 Exemptions, partnerships with public entities, and the proposed Center of Excellence.

The United States has the safest aviation system in the world, and our goal is to integrate this new and important technology while still maintaining safety as our highest priority. We are committed to ensuring that America continues to lead the world in the development and implementation of aviation technology. We look forward to continuing to work together with Congress as we continue to integrate UAS into the NAS.

This concludes my statement. I will be happy to answer your questions at this time.

[1]The Integration of Civil UAS into the NAS Roadmap and Comprehensive Plan are available on the FAA UAS website at


Finnish study identifies locally sourced green diesel as a route to aviation biofuel use if price can be met

Tue, 2014-12-09 08:35
Tue 9 Dec 2014 - A study commissioned by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and national aviation and biofuel companies has indicated the country is well positioned to start production of aviation biofuels but there are challenges over the higher costs of the fuels and whether airlines would be prepared to pay the differential. The study has examined different business models that could cover the additional costs but the authors say public aid would be required initially to kickstart the market. The extent of biofuel use would, in the end, depend on the interest and readiness of stakeholders to pay. The study identifies green, or renewable, diesel produced at Neste Oil's Porvoo refinery as a biocomponent for aviation fuel, which would require no separate investment in production although investment would be needed in logistics to make deployment cheaper and faster.

Airline improvement in efficiency outweighed by overall growth in CO2 emissions, finds annual ranking

Tue, 2014-12-09 05:35
Tue 9 Dec 2014 - The latest analysis by German climate company atmosfair of the airline industry's carbon footprint shows the world's largest airlines decreased their emissions by around one per cent in 2012 compared to the previous year when calculated on a per passenger and per kilometre basis. At the same time, total carbon emissions from the sector increased by around three per cent, driven by a rise in traffic volume of almost five per cent. The atmosfair Airline Index 2014 compared the emissions of 193 airlines worldwide to evaluate their CO2 efficiency, and covered 31.2 million flights representing 92 per cent of worldwide air traffic. With their higher seating densities and load factors, combined with modern aircraft fleets, charter carriers such TUIfly, Monarch and SunExpress achieved the highest rankings, with TAM, KLM and Japan Airlines doing well amongst scheduled carriers.

Speech - Positioning the U.S. Airline Industry for Success

Tue, 2014-12-09 00:00
Administrator Michael Huerta
Washington, D.C.

Thank you, Sean (Cassidy, First Vice President of ALPA), for that kind introduction. I want to take a minute to express my sincere thanks to Lee Moak for his tremendous work and leadership over the last four years as President of ALPA.

Lees accomplishments are many, but I think one of the greatest contributions he has made in the time that I have known him, which is throughout his tenures, is his participation on the NextGen Advisory Committee. Lee has a very unique ability to be clear, concise and direct when there is a need to be. He has frequently reminded us that the users of the system; the pilots, the controllers, and the technicians, are partners in the solutions as we look to the future of the industry.

The FAA has worked closely with ALPA as we published some major safety rules in the last four years. These include rules on pilot fatigue, pilot training and pilot qualifications. The guidance and expertise of Lee and everyone at ALPA has been instrumental to that success.

I wish Lee all the best in his future endeavors and I know that were going to continue to work together in the years ahead.

Unity in Reauthorization

As we think about the future, and the many changes we need to make to modernize our nations airspace system, and to maintain the equipment we use each and every day, we as an industry need to make our priorities clear.

Reauthorization is coming up next year. The FAAs authorization ends on September 30 of next year, as you know. Its amazing that were already here again, and it seems just a short while after the reauthorization of 2012 which came after 23 short-term extensions. We will only realize the full benefits of our airspace system when we have an aviation industry and thats everyone in the aviation industry that is engaged and that is united around our priorities.

Our stakeholders would like us to do everything better; to do it faster; and to do it cheaper. Believe me, were all for that, but the question is, how are we going to do that, and more particularly, how are we going to do it in the constrained and unpredictable fiscal environment that weve found ourselves in in the last few years?

This industry needs to come together and rally around what is important. We need to fight for the priorities we all arrive at, and agree on how were going to pay for them if we truly want to position the U.S. airline industry for success in a very globally competitive environment. Its critical.

This process will take compromise and setting aside of the many differences we might have between us. Everyone in this room has a responsibility to support efforts to secure an airspace system that best serves our entire nation.

Last year around this time, we started a conversation about what kind of an airspace system we want and how we should pay for it. And I want to add that Lee has served on the FAAs Management Advisory Council and will continue in that role. He has helped us talk with stakeholders to gauge what the thoughts are on the best approach to reauthorization.

The FAA has not endorsed one idea versus another in this process, but what we have encouraged is a very open dialogue.

Among some in the industry, there is a sense that its time for structural change structural reform. That is because the FAA is facing two main problems. First, there is a lack of predictability in our budgets due to short term extensions and continuing resolutions, and because of the constrained fiscal climate here in Washington. As we sit here today, the government faces running out of money on Thursday night, unless Congress reaches some kind of an agreement. Second, we face challenges focusing on core priorities in light of the very diverse interests of all of our stakeholders. Its clear to me, however, that we will not succeed if we dont set priorities.

Now, there is no shortage of viewpoints on how to solve these problems and the direction we should take. And as I said just now, we have not taken a position. But what I hear are many separate conversations conversations about new structure for air traffic control or conversations about structures for addressing certification. What we need to have is a conversation across the industry to identify the priorities for the system as a whole. The danger is that if we only promote certain narrow interests, we could devolve into trading one of our interests off against another, and our industry as a whole will be worse off.

Our national airspace system underpins an industry that adds $1.5 trillion to our economy. This system is really an ecosystem, where each part relies on the other to function well. There cant be a disconnect between industry and government or between sectors in the industry if we expect to be successful. All of us should have a very keen interest in how all of these issues play out.

So, we need to have an honest conversation about the fiscal challenges we face. While you can always debate the exact budgetary needs of an agency, one thing is clear: there is simply no way the FAA can implement NextGen, and recapitalize our aging infrastructure; and continue to provide the same level of services without making some serious tradeoffs. Even with short term choices, there will be significant impacts to our budget and the services that we can provide. So what does that mean? It means we need to have the flexibility to make investment choices that further the health of our airspace system, and not make choices simply because they might be politically popular.

I fear there is a level of complacency thats developing that everything is just fine and that business as usual might work. Complacency is a mistake. If we dont come up with a concrete plan, and if we dont do it collectively, Im afraid well be signing up for more instability and uncertainty which is exactly the thing we all agree we need to get out of.

Global Initiative

Why is this work important? Because as you know, the airline and aviation industry is expanding globally, and we want to make sure the entire global system is safe and that the United States continues to remain the gold standard for excellence in aviation. Believe me it takes a lot of work to maintain that position. We at the FAA want to do everything we can to assure that the U.S. remains a global leader.

Working through ICAO is an important way to make sure that we maintain high standards globally. We are planning to send more FAA technical experts to ICAO in the coming year in order to make sure that we have a seat at the table so that we can weigh in when ICAO makes important decisions about international aviation standards.

We are moving towards a seamless global airspace. As we modernize, we want to make sure that these new systems can interact with each other. We have participated in some very important work on the updated Global Air Navigation Plan and the subsequent Aviation System Block Upgrades. These upgrades created a new and innovative way to integrate and harmonize multiple and complex systems of air navigation and emerging technologies across the globe. Just yesterday in Chicago, ICAO held an extraordinary meeting to celebrate the organizations 70th anniversary. It was a meeting of many leaders of aviation from across the globe. Everyone recommitted themselves to working together so that civil aviation will continue to develop in a peaceful manner to promote economic development and prosperity for all nations.

NextGen Priorities

Here at home, we have worked closely with industry, through the NextGen Advisory Committee, to define and focus our NextGen priorities. ALPA has been a very important part of this, and Ive seen a lot of Lee and Sean in the last few years. We have listened to what you say and we have actively responded.

The NextGen priorities are an example of what can happen when industry and government get together and really work through the issues and crystalize what we as an industry want from our aviation system and what we will work for together. Its the kind of cooperation that we need on reauthorization.

We are sharpening our focus on near term NextGen benefits by working on these priorities that we have all agreed upon, and that we are committed to delivering. These fall in four areas: more satellite-based navigation procedures; better use of runways; better situational awareness at airports; and more streamlined departure clearances through DataComm.

Let me give you a couple of examples of what we are working on.

The first is satellite-based navigation. A lot of really, really important and great work has been happening in Seattle and Denver and other cities through collaboration with airlines, airports, and other stakeholders. We are fast-tracking more direct routes in the airspace above other busy metropolitan areas through our Metroplex initiative. These routes are easing congestion in our airspace and significantly increasing the efficiency and predictability of arrivals and departures.

This fall, all in one day, we turned on 61 new air traffic procedures going into metropolitan Houston.

The new arrival routes the optimized profile descents take an aircraft from cruise altitude and allow the pilot to almost glide down rather than stepping down in the traditional stair-step arrival that burns fuel during each level-off. To non-aviation groups, I say that this eliminates the aviation equivalent of stop-and-go driving in traffic.

These new procedures are also safer. They are more simple and consistent. They are easier to fly and take less back and forth between the controller and the pilot, and theres less interpretation and therefore less margin of error. Pilots have more confidence because they know where they are situationally at any given point in time.

I want to thank the pilot community for the help with designing these procedures and with the changesto the phraseology we use to refer to them. You have educated your membership both at home and abroad, and that has helped with the successful adoption of these NextGen routes.

Whats really exciting about this, is that in Houston, every year, airlines expect to save about 3 million gallons of fuel. And that translates to, in current fuel prices, to about $9 million per year in fuel savings. These are just on arrivals and departures in one metropolitan area. Think of the emissions that are being saved because the aircraft are burning so much less fuel. And thats what this technology enables.

More recently, we turned on the North Texas Metroplex this fall, and I was proud to have Sean (Cassidy) there on the dais to celebrate our joint success. There was some healthy Texas competition with the roll out of these new procedures. Since Houston turned on 61 new procedures, Dallas later turned on more than 80. Now we will expand these benefits to Northern California, Charlotte and Atlanta in the next three years in response to the request that came from industry.

While these procedures make our airspace more efficient, we also want to get the most out of our nations runways, which takes me to the second example. Industry has asked loud and clear for improved wake turbulence separation standards at more airports. We heard you, and we are increasing the number of airports with this capability. We are going to reduce separation standards at nine new airports in five cities over the next year. Those cities are: Houston, metropolitan New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Charlotte.

We have already seen the benefits in Memphis and Louisville over the last two years. This year, we have implemented these new standards in Cincinnati and Atlanta. At Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, were seeing great results. Delta Air Lines is reporting faster taxi out times, reduced departure delays in the queue and they are spending less time in TRACON airspace.

Now industry and the FAA came together to choose these NextGen priorities and we intend to deliver on them. We focused our efforts so that we could achieve the maximum benefits in the shortest amount of time. Its this kind of cooperation and negotiation that will spell success for our industry as we look across the aviation industry as a whole. We need this same type of unity and focus for our upcoming reauthorization.


America truly is unique in that we have a vibrant and diverse aviation industry. In addition to the commercial carriers and regional carriers, we have business aviation and recreational flyers. And then there are the new users: unmanned aircraft and commercial space operators. We have a strong manufacturing base for aircraft and for avionics. Each sector is important and together they create the 12 million jobs that civil aviation contributes to our economy.

Many of you have heard me say that aviation was born in America. It started here, and its always embodied something thats uniquely American the belief in limitless opportunities. So many before us have made great contributions in engineering, avionics, design and manufacturing all of which have gotten us to where we are today.

Its our responsibility as leaders in this industry to protect our system and to grow this system and move it forward. We need to think about the future and how we will modernize our system and make sure we position our airlines for success in an increasingly competitive global environment.

We all need each other, and we need consensus across the entire industry in this very tough fiscal environment. Coming to some kind of consensus is not easy. In fact, we all know its very, very hard. But the price of complacency will be much greater. Aviation has consistently pioneered innovation in this country, so lets create an alternative path to the gridlock that has been so prevalent here in this town for so many years. I look forward to finding a solution with all of you in this room to ensure that we at the FAA, and you in industry, are in the position to continue to provide the safest and most efficient system we need in the years ahead. I dont think any of us should settle for anything less.


News and Updates - FAA Celebrates ICAO's 70th Anniversary

Mon, 2014-12-08 11:26

November 8-Speaking before a distinguished group of international aviation leaders in Chicago, including United National Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to congratulate the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on 70 years of work that has vastly improved the safety and efficiency of aviation worldwide. ICAO is the UNs technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

In 1944, delegates from 52 nations met in Chicago to ensure that the emerging aviation industry would be used for peace, and for the benefit of all nations. The resulting Chicago Convention established the international foundation and principles for the safe, efficient and economic growth of civil aviation. In the years that followed, ICAOs importance and influence has grown as exponentially as the number of flights around the world now at more than 100,000 per day.

ICAOs standards have created a foundation for a safe, harmonized, and environmentally responsible aviation system. It has influenced aircraft design and operation, as well as the development of airways, airports, and air navigation facilities. It ensures the safety and security of civil aviation, as well as global harmonization of air traffic management modernization programs.

Over the past 70 years, ICAO standards have led to dramatically improved safety rates, air traffic operations are becoming more and more efficient, system modernization is taking hold, aircraft are certified to incredibly safe levels, new entrants are integrated into the global airspace, and environmental concerns are being addressed such as environmental noise and emissions limits for civil aviation.

The United States continues to work with ICAO and its contracting States to ensure that aviation remains the safest form of transportation. The FAA provides ICAO with expertise and leadership to assist with the development of aviation regulations and standards. The FAA is working closely with ICAO and regional stakeholders in Europe, Asia and around the globe to harmonize the U.S. NextGen program into the global aviation system of the future. A focus of FAA Administrator Huertas Global Leadership initiative is the continued commitment to provide expertise, guidance and counsel to ICAO.

>Administrator Huerta's speech


Speech - ICAO 70th Anniversary

Mon, 2014-12-08 00:00
Administrator Michael Huerta
Chicago, IL

Thank you, Mr. President (Dr. Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council).It is an honor for me to address this Special Council Session on such a momentous occasion. Congratulations to ICAO for 70 years of global leadership in international aviation.

During the first years of ICAOs existence, commercial aviation was still in its infancy. In the 1940s, the vast majority of the worlds citizens had never travelled by air, and routes were limited. Fares were exorbitantly high, but would gradually become more affordable to many more travelers.

Since that time, aviation has changed beyond the wildest imagination of its pioneers. Its exponential growth has been nothing short of amazing. Millions of people now fly safely to vast and far reaches of the world. Billions of dollars of goods are shipped daily on aircraft. Aviation supports economies big and small by the trillions of dollars, and the aviation industry provides jobs to millions. Most importantly, we can say with great satisfaction that it is the safest form of travel.

And, consider all the vast improvements since ICAO began its work to ensure a safe and efficient global aviation system. Safety rates have dramatically improved. Air traffic operations are becoming more and more efficient, and system modernization is taking hold. Aircraft are certified to incredibly safe levels. We are integrating new entrants into the global airspace and addressing environmental concerns.

All of these major steps forward could not have happened without ICAOs leadership. Through this organization, and with the efforts and technical expertise of Member States and industry, we have worked together to set global aviation standards and guidelines. These standards have created a sound foundation for a safe, harmonized, and environmentally responsible aviation system.

We can all be proud, as participants in this most vital of international bodies, that our efforts have paid off tremendously.

While we as Member States at times have differing points-of-view and interests, this forum allows us to reach a global consensus and harmonize our approaches in the best possible way to enhance global aviation. It remains a remarkable body and shows the world how true collaboration works.

Congratulations once again on this historic occasion, and thank you all for joining us here in Chicago where it all began.


“Nanobuds” Could Turn Almost Any Surface Into a Touch Sensor

Mon, 2014-12-08 00:00

Stretchy, conductive films made of novel nanobuds could bring touch sensors to more surfaces.

Transparent films containing carbon nanobuds—molecular tubes of carbon with ball-like appendages—could turn just about any surface, regardless of its shape, into a touch sensor.


Rail passenger groups slam 2.2% fare rise

Fri, 2014-12-05 17:43
Lowest increase for five years but many season tickets have risen by 20% during this parliament

EU praises wider engagement on ICAO global measure for aviation emissions but concerned over environmental integrity

Fri, 2014-12-05 06:20
Fri 5 Dec 2014 - The EU welcomed current progress at ICAO on developing a global market-based measure (GMBM) for international aviation carbon emissions but it would be looking for certainty over the environmental integrity and objectives of the scheme, said a senior European Commission official in a Brussels debate this week. Important elements of the scheme would be the quality and eligibility of carbon offsets under a post-2020 global climate agreement and the challenge to establish obligations on ICAO states under competing principles, she said. Athar Husain Khan of the Association of European Airlines said the scheme should be as inclusive as possible without causing distortions or be discriminatory to operators. He also called for European domestic aviation emissions to be included in the GMBM and the sector withdrawn from the EU ETS after 2020. Jos Dings of T&E believed the global scheme under discussion would likely lack the stringency of the EU ETS.

Brussels puts €3.3bn into EU airspace plan

Fri, 2014-12-05 06:15
Aim is to slash cost of flying through bloc and cut carbon emissions

Brussels puts €3.3bn into EU airspace plan

Fri, 2014-12-05 06:15
Aim is to slash cost of flying through bloc and cut carbon emissions