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WASHINGTON, DC At a meeting today at Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Headquarters, the FAA and aviation industry leaders renewed their commitment to equip aircraft with new NextGen avionics technology by the January 1, 2020 deadline, through the creation of an Equip 2020 working group led by the NextGen Institute. Under a 2010 rule, all aircraft flying in designated airspace must be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) Out avionics to increase safety and efficiency in the National Airspace System.
This is an important milestone for a core NextGen technology that will revolutionize the national airspace system by providing a more accurate view of aircraft location, increasing safety and efficiency, said FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker. The FAA laid the ADS-B infrastructure, and now the Equip 2020 group will work together to help ensure the fleet is equipped with this technology so we can utilize the benefits it brings.
In order to meet the deadline, agency representatives and industry leaders identified the barriers delaying operators from equipping with ADS-B Out avionics. The organization agreed to work together to resolve them in a working group formed under the NextGen Institute called Equip 2020. The group will be led by Major General Marke Hoot Gibson, U.S. Air Force, retired, Executive Director of the NextGen Institute.
Some of the key barriers to equipage identified by industry include: cost and availability of upgrading GPS receivers; streamlined certification procedures; development of more low cost avionics; improving product availability; clarifying requirements; and ensuring repair station resources are available to complete installations.
ADS-B is a foundational technology which modernizes the national airspace from a ground radar system to satellite-based GPS technology. Whitaker noted that this year the FAA completed the installation of the nationwide infrastructure for ADS-B. The full benefits of increased safety and efficiency of the national airspace depend on 100 percent equipage for aircraft that fly in most airspace controlled by air traffic control.
The FAA published a final rule in May 2010, with industry input, that requires all aircraft flying in designated controlled airspace, to equip with ADS-B Out avionics by 2020. ADS-B will use GPS technology to transform the national airspace system by providing more precision and reliability than the current radar system. Aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out broadcast their flight position to controllers on the ground and to other pilots who are properly equipped with ADS-B, increasing safety and situational awareness. With ADS-B Out, controllers get an update of the aircraft position almost continuously, compared to five seconds or longer with radar. This, in turn, allows more efficient spacing of aircraft and better use of our busy airspace.
The FAA recently completed the installation of ADS-B ground infrastructure. Aircraft equipped with ADS-B avionics enjoy the benefits of improved safety and efficiency today.
The FAA first deployed ADS-B in Alaska in remote areas with no radar coverage and equipped more than 300 aircraft in Alaska with ADS-B systems and related avionics. The improved situational awareness for pilots and extended coverage for controllers resulted in a 47 percent drop in the fatal accident rate for equipped aircraft in the southwest area of the state. Today, in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, ADS-B Out surveillance decreases the likelihood of mid-air collisions, as well as improves the success rate of search and rescue missions.
In the Gulf of Mexico, the FAA worked with oil and natural gas companies and helicopter operators to install a network of ADS-B radio stations on oil platforms to bring satellite surveillance to that busy airspace and improve efficiency. Helicopters equipped with ADS-B are saving fuel each flight and taking more direct routes to the oil rigs. It also enables them to continue operations even in inclement weather.
The following groups were represented at todays meeting:
Aerospace Industries Association
Aircraft Electronics Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Airlines for America
Air Line Pilots Association
Esterline CMC Electronics
Experimental Aircraft Association
General Aviation Manufacturers Administration
Helicopter Association International
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
National Air Transportation Association
National Business Aviation Association
National Transportation Safety Board
NextGen GA Fund
Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association
Regional Airline Association
The Mitre Corporation
Trig Avionics Limited
United Parcel Service
United States Parachute Association
Universal Avionics Systems Corp
Humanity will be unable to combat climate change without profound transformations in the way it generates energy.
Two such transformations have been recently announced, one in Singapore, the other in USA.
In Singapore, a team of scientists of the Nanyang Technological University have developed a new type of ultra-fast recharging batteries which are claimed to charge a car battery up to 70% of capacity within five minutes. This breakthrough will revolutionise e-mobility in terms of range and costs and make electric cars superior to the most efficient diesel vehicles.
European manufacturers should therefore urgently reassess the situation and adapt their proven, but old-fashioned engine technology at the risk of losing out to US and Chinese competitors.
The new batteries will provide us with truly clean motor vehicles and give a powerful boost to solar and wind energy, because millions of cars may form big energy storage systems helping to overcome the inherent intermittences of renewable energies.
Separately, the US defence company Lockheed has announced a breakthrough in fusion energy. Within a year it will build a test reactor to be followed five years later by a prototype of a 100 MW reactor of tiny dimensions (2×3 meter!).
Assuming the problems linked to nuclear fission, in particular safety and waste storage, to be solved this might usher in an era of non-fossil electricity generation based on wind, solar, biomass and nuclear fusion.
The demand for oil and gas will also fall dramatically as the global car, shipping and possibly even aircraft industry will phase out the internal combustion engine, say by 2050, reinforcing the decline of C02 emissions.
Add to these two technological breakthroughs the introduction of a magnetic super high-speed train by the Japanese railways until 2045.
Running at a speed of up to 500 km/h the train will largely replace domestic air transport, also a significant source of C02 emissions. The Japanese industry will no doubt export the new train to other parts of the earth, from North America, to Brazil, Argentina, Russia and Europe, with the consequence that there too it is likely to replace domestic air traffic on distances of less than 1500 km.
The news from Singapore, USA and Japan unfortunately show that Europe has lost its momentum in coming up with courageous technical and political solutions both to tackle climate change!
We are closer than ever to technical solutions allowing for a largely emission-free future. By establishing strict emission targets heads of government will help accelerate the technological breakthroughs that are arising on the horizon.
In conclusion, one year ahead of the World Climate Conference in Paris, there is reason for guarded optimism, provided policy makers will show the courage to fix ambitious long-term targets and avoid getting again lost in minutiae.
Brussels 20.10 2014 Eberhard Rhein