Kieran Daly/Editor Air Navigation International

THE OPERATOR-community will see only a little more of the future air-navigation system (FANS) turn to reality during 1996, but, across the globe, a vast amount of development work will take place.

That has to happen if the numerous target dates for various elements of the FANS are to be achieved in 1997 and 1998. During those two years the world is due to see most of the FANS' key features come to fruition: precision-approaches and widespread primary-means navigation using satellite-based systems; reduced separations; automatic dependent surveillance (ADS); data-linking; and the extension of modern air-traffic services into remote and under-developed airspace. In 1996, however, a vast amount of work is required to continue putting the necessary infrastructure and procedures into place.

In North America, the priority is the wide-area augmentation-system, which is required to bring Category I precision approaches to most of the continent by enhancing the global-positioning system (GPS) in 1997. Close behind is research on the proposed local-area augmentation-system; and the vast task of determining what the much-discussed and little-understood "free-flight" concept should consist of in the real world.

Elsewhere in the world, civil-aviation authorities (CAAs) will have to accelerate their progress towards specifying procedures for those uses of GPS, which can be rapidly implemented. There is a gap between the capabilities of the GPS and the legislation governing its proposed uses.

Satellite-based procedures over the Pacific will become increasingly robust, as more and more of the FANS gaps are plugged - with consequent reductions in separation.

On the North Atlantic, however, a tough task faces the regulators and operators if their target dates for reduced vertical separation and ADS implementation are to be met.

In China, there is a clear determination by the authorities to press ahead with airspace modernisation, and rapid progress is expected there in 1996. The same could be true of Russia where much hinges on the issuance (or not) of the long-awaited tender for the modernisation of the Russian Far East, which is due in the first quarter of the year.

Source: Flight International