Air traffic controllers can now text flight clearance and rerouting instructions to multiple aircraft all in one push communication rather than one on one radio communications with each cockpit. This is a major leap forward in the FAA’s desire to embrace & implement new technologies for air traffic control. Earlier this year the FAA tapped Raytheon IIS to upgrade the STARS system which controls aircraft spacing and sequencing guidance around most busy airports. This is all part of the NextGen program at the FAA.
FAA Next Gen Communications
NextGen is a comprehensive strategy to overhaul the National Airspace System with new technologies and procedures, a necessary but massive undertaking. Although Orion Systems specializes in Radio and Data Communications, we are very interested in how this overall project is moving along and wanted to share our findings. This video will help explain what this project means to the aviation community.
The NextGen Project has been addressing critical infrastructure projects for several years now and is about halfway through a multi-year investment and implementation plan and have already resulted in over $6 Billion dollars’ worth of savings between 2010 and 2018.
Data Communications for Air Traffic Controllers
The FAA’s Communications Office just published this article that highlights the text push capability that air traffic controllers now have available to them. Now live at 62 different airports and three high altitude centers. ATC push general flight clearance and rerouting instructions to multiple aircraft which is text based communications. The article goes on to say that these data communications have already saved over 2.1 million minutes of radio time between controllers and pilots, over 1.4 million minutes of airspace user time since its early phases of implementation in November 2019. These communications used to be handled by voice communications allowing for mis-interpretations and human error.
STARS Gets Modernized By Raytheon IIS
Earlier this year the FAA tapped Raytheon to continue implementing their advanced Standard Terminal Automation System known as STARS. This will give air traffic controllers a single national software and hardware baseline across the country by the middle of 2020. The systems has already been implemented at 11 of the largest Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities and proved highly effective. The solution will provide safe and efficient aircraft spacing and sequencing guidance for more than 40,000 departing and arriving aircraft daily at more than 600 civilian and military airports.
Orion Systems is an aviation radio & data communications partner for many of the big government technology contractors and when they win these contracts, they look to us for the communications engineering piece. For more about Orion Systems Inc, see this page.