Stay Informed
ATF Newsletter

NextGen ATC: The future is a.) now b.) tomorrow c.) 2025 d.) never e.) all of the above

By Elliot Borin, Air TaxiFlights.com Staff Writer - © 2009, Reproduction without permission strictly prohibited. All company and product names in this document are the property of their respective copyright and/or trademark holders.


It is, to begin with, something of a misnomer.

The implication is futuristic, something out there somewhere, beyond a distant not-quite-visible horizon. Maybe not exactly as far removed from this day's ToDo List as figuring out how to refreezing the polar ice caps after their globally warmed meltdown, but still pretty well down the road.

Nothing, in fact, could be further from the truth. For significant elements of the NextGen Air Traffic Control System's technology, the future is now -- Area Navigation (RNAV) procedures, for example, are already being used at Atlanta, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Washington Dulles and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is out-of-the-incubator and actively deployed in parts of Florida, the Gulf Coast and Alaska and will be rolling out to other air corridors by year's end.

Other key components of the system will -- barring a total (and totally unlikely) freeze in FAA and airport infrastructure spending -- be coming online in selected markets within 36 months.

Mandatory commercial carrier -- and in some cases general aviation -- installation of onboard NextGen digital communications and surveillance equipment is a mere six years to 11 years away and the entire system, or at least those parts of it which will survive an unending series of budget reviews, political compromises and public debates, is expected to be fully deployed and functional in 2025.

In this series we will attempt to give an overview of the three key considerations -- technology, politics & economics -- defining and shaping the air traffic control system that will eventually guide our generation -- not just our children's -- across America's skyways.

Preparing these articles would not have been possible without the generous cooperation of Victoria Cox, FAA senior vice-president for NextGen & Operations; Steve Bradford, the FAA's chief scientist for NextGen; Tammy L. Jones, FAA Office of Communications spokesperson; and the insights provided by numerous aviation industry writers and analysts who have traversed various parts of this route ahead of us.

We would like to thank everyone who's brains we picked and assure both them and you, the reader, that all opinions, interpretations, predictions and conclusions expressed here are solely those of the editors of ATCMonitor.com and AirTaxiFlights.com unless they are expressed within quotation marks and attributed to a specific individual.

Articles Archive

12/28/09 - From Flying Drunk To Locked Down & Out To The Left-Hand Seat

08/10/09 - Rose Air CEO Jane Rosevelt: The Question Was Whether I Could Support My Evil Habit Of Flying Airplanes

03/30/09 - NextGen ATC: The future is a.) now b.) tomorrow c.) 2025 d.) never e.) all of the above

02/18/09 - PiperJet Bucks Conventional Wisdom That Two "Cookers" Are Better Than One

01/16/09 - Your Air-Taxi Flight Has Been Grounded ... NOT!!!

11/14/08 - FlyMiwok: Will It Short-Hop, Social Network & Fare Bust Its Way From Sea To Shining Sea?

09/30/08 - Foxjet 1 - Interview with Tony Fox: The Man Who Would Have Been King

09/02/08 - Linear Air: A Bright Array Of Big City Flights

08/01/08 - Airline's Bad 'Tude Toward VLJs More About Money Than Generation Gap

07/03/08 - AirTaxiFlights.com Interview: Cirrus Design CEO Alan "We Will Not Develop A Very Light Jet" Klapmeier

05/02/08 - ImagineAir: Not Your Typical Mixed-Fleet Air-Taxi Operator

04/01/08 - Cessna Mustang Covers The Globe

01/23/08 - Offering First-Class Passengers A Better Ride

08/07/07 - ATF Interview: Air Taxi Association President Joe Leader

07/03/07 - Air Taxi Flight Com Interview: Eclipse 500, From Dream To Delivery

02/21/07 - Honda "Challenges The Limits"

11/28/06 - Eclipse 500 Visits Atlanta

09/08/06 - AirTaxiFlights.com Interview: A New Day(Jet) Is Dawning

09/08/06 - A Behind-The-Scenes Look At A Dayjet Day

07/14/06 - Cameron Burr: Pogo-ing Into A New Aviation Age

11/28/05 - Preparing For The Very Light Jet Industry

11/28/05 - Fly-On-Demand: Great Expectations

11/28/05 - Fly-On-Demand: Coming Soon To An Airport Really Near You