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The Next Generation Air Transportation System

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The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is a plan to modernize the aviation industry as a whole. The goal of the FAA is to create a safer and more efficient system of travel by air with this plan. NextGen’s new technologies and capabilities are completely changing the country’s air transportation system. With fewer emissions its providing for greater efficiency and increased safety while protecting the environment as well. We are slowly but surely transitioning from ground-based to satellite enabled technologies for navigation. We can also use this satellite-enabled system for active surveillance and switch our communications from analog to digital. For pilots equipped with ADS-B in, they will have increased situational awareness, especially general aviation aircraft. They will be able to see the position of other aircraft with ADS-B out as well as allow ATC controllers and other pilots to see their position.

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Data Comm: The Data Communication (Data Comm) program is an easier and much more time efficient way to obtain clearances for pilots. This simplifies the clearance delivery process in a modernized way. It will tell the aircraft where and when they are supposed to be somewhere. This will save hours upon hours of communication time with ATC and can prevent from miscommunications which will increase safety ten fold. This will also alleviate radio congestion as a result. Data Comm established a digital link between the aircraft and a ground based system. Pilots can receive the following: Traffic flow directions, safety of flight clearances from ATC, and requests and reports from the flight crew. Data Comm is a crucial part of NextGen’s plan for updating aviation’s communication infrastructure.

Satellite Navigation: In the FAA’s attempt to modernize aviation navigation they have been slowly transitioning to a satellite-enabled system from a ground based system. This transitions has provided for more precise and efficient routeing. This will result in reduced travel times, less fuel consumption, and fewer exhaust emissions while providing for more predictable and precise ETA’s. GPS provides position and timing capabilities using 4 satellites. 3 satellites triangulate your position and the 4th one verifies it. RNAV provides in flight navigaion for all phases of flight. These phases of flight include en route, terminal, approach, and even surface navigation.

ADS-B: Automatic dependent surveillance—broadcast (ADS–B) allows pilots to broadcast their position to ATC and other pilots with ADS-B in. This enhances safety by increasing situational awareness and provides controllers with the ability to detect weather patterns and alert pilots of possible hazards. This will also provide for more efficient search and rescue operations.

This plan to modernize the whole industry is one of if not the most ambitious plan in U.S history. The FAA plan to implement huge technological changes to the current infrastructure. These changes are made to sharpen and secure the National Airspace System. This will affect more than 2.7 million passengers and 44,000 flights per day. NextGen is not only for air carriers, it’s for anyone who flies in controlled airspace, which is almost all of the United States. This includes all general aviation (GA) aircraft as well as business jet operators, helicopter operators and of course air carriers.

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