FAA opens expanded NexGen test bed at Embry-Riddle

Washington DC
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The US Federal Aviation Administration today officially opened an expanded test centre focused on developing NextGen technologies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Embry-Riddle said the test bed facility has doubled in size to 929m2 (10,000 sq ft). Since 2008 researchers at the institution have integrated information about predicted weather and flight trajectories into the En Route Automation Modernisation (ERAM) programme and a terminal management system.

In the future participants in the test bed plan to investigate the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the US national airspace system, and study the use of four-dimensional trajectories assigned to manage aircraft routes.

The Florida test bed is one of three designated by the FAA to conduct NextGen research. FAA's other testing sites include a facility run by NASA near Dallas-Fort Worth International airport and a site at the agency's technical centre near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The work at Embry-Riddle is conducted through public-private partnerships, and the US government accountability office (GAO) in testimony released on 7 November stated the university is currently working on a model agreement to help designate specific components - hardware, software and infrastructure -to be supplied by the government and those provided by private companies.

Projects listed by GAO pegged to the Florida facility include four-dimensional weather cube demonstrations, oceanic conflict advisory flight trials and flight data object preparation.

Private partners working with Embry-Riddle include Lockheed Martin, Harris Corporation, Sensis, Mosiac ATM, Adacel, NavPortugal, NATS UK and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.