ADS-B Summit ends and Stakeholders provide Feedback

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The FAA Deputy Administrator, who also holds the position of Chief NextGen Officer, announced a while ago “A Call to Action Summit on ADS-B”. Below, the next three links– from an association which produces the ADS-B equipment, from the association which represents the commercial airlines and from the association which represents the GA community—are expressions of their individual reactions.

Mr. Whitaker has recently issued a list of FAA-industry implementation priorities and careful examination of the text of the “agreement” demonstrates that both the FAA and the industry expressed conditions to this consensus. The Summit was an “invitation only” meeting with closed doors. The organizations that attended included:

Accord Technology
Aerospace Industries Association
Aircraft Electronics Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Airlines for America
Air Line Pilots Association
Alaska Airlines
American Airlines
Aparreo Systems
Aspen Avionics
Delta Airlines
Dynon Avionics
Embry Riddle
Esterline CMC Electronics
Federal Express
Experimental Aircraft Association
FreeFlight Systems
General Aviation Manufacturers Administration
Gulfstream Aerospace
Helicopter Association International
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
National Air Transportation Association
National Business Aviation Association
National Transportation Safety Board
NavWorx Inc.
NextGen GA Fund
NextGen Institute
Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association
Regional Airline Association
Rockwell Collins
Southwest Airlines
The Mitre Corporation
Trig Avionics Limited
United Airlines
United Parcel Service
United States Parachute Association
Universal Avionics Systems

The FAA press release indicates that the “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.” The Deputy Administrator said that his team laid out 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.”

Once back in their offices, three major organizations expressed reservations:

· Paula Derks, Aircraft Electronics Association president, is very positive and correctly point out that FAA must implement the Loan Guarantee Program if the equipage deadline for GA is to be met.

· A4A expressed serious reservations: “Today, stakeholders were able to share with FAA the need to ensure international harmonization and deliver benefits from this important technology. We hope the FAA responds positively to ensure that this important capability can be utilized.” This position varies substantially with its previous views. For years A4A has said the airlines would not equip until the ADS-B ground infrastructure was in place. Now that the ADS-B ground infrastructure is essentially complete, should not the airlines voluntarily equip?

· AOPA submitted a letter which listed a number of technical and financial issues best summarized by the following quote: “We strongly believe there are alternative means to ensuring that plans for a satellite based air traffic management system can be implemented with the widespread participation of the general aviation community.” [emphasis added]. AOPA’s point should cause the FAA to, at least, reconsider how low level GA aircraft can best play in an ADS-B environment.

Equip 2020 appears to be chartered to close the loop on these and other questions.

Most significantly, the next year will involve the funding and perhaps governance of NextGen because Congress must reauthorize the FAA by Fall 2015. If Equip 2020 creates consensus among the stakeholders, It will influence the legislative perception of NextGen, spending any of the taxpayer’s dollars on this massive infrastructure investment and a whole set of associated policy issues.

PRESS RELEASE: Airlines for America Statement on NextGen Technology Meeting

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