Reaction To ADS-B Plan Tepid

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The FAA has a lot of input to consider as it takes the first steps toward implementing its NextGen airspace and air traffic control system. Comments closed on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the implementation of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) on Monday. ADS-B is considered the fundamental technology of NextGen and there’s a lot at stake in making sure it’s done right. So far, it appears that most stakeholders agree ADS-B is the way to go but they aren’t completely satisfied with the way the agency is going about it. For instance, the Aircraft Electronics Association, which represents virtually all the companies that make and fix avionics, says the FAA’s proposed next-generation communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) system is more elaborate than it needs to be and wastes the money aircraft owners have already spent on their current gear. In a news release AEA government affairs expert Ric Peri described the system envisioned as “ADS-B on steroids” and called for the agency to take a deep breath. “The FAA must develop a proposal utilizing an ‘evolutionary’ process that utilizes existing avionics to the maximum extent possible, rather than this stepped ‘revolutionary’ process of wholesale technology replacement of the entire CNS suite in general aviation aircraft,” Peri said. It’s worth noting that AEA wasn’t consulted on the NPRM. Even big supporters of NextGen, like the Air Transport Association are leery about the proposal as it stands. ATA says the system, as proposed, won’t produce the needed improvements in capacity and efficiency and will subject aviation to “enormous costs.” The Department of Defence is concerned ADS-B might work a little too well. It doesn’t want to advertise all its flight and wants a way to fit in the system without letting everyone know its aircraft are there at times, which, of course is the exact opposite of the main selling point of ADS-B. DoD is also concerned that ADS-B can be hijacked by terrorists or enemies and wants to know what is going to be done to prevent “spoofing” the system.