The USA's Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), which facilitates activities for the Federal Aviation Administration's next generation air transportation system (NextGen), is establishing a performance control board to monitor and maintain configuration management of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system - considered the backbone of NextGen.

The board, which is to consist of FAA and vendor personnel, will also be tasked with reviewing and agreeing changes to be incorporated into the system from a safety, and security standpoint, and resolving programmatic issues, says the JPDO.

Its formation is considered a necessary step as ADS-B implementation progresses. While speaking at the JPDO's November "All Hands" meeting, Vincent Capezzuto, director of the FAA air traffic organisation's (ATO) surveillance and broadcast services, characterised as "a little unique" the graduated value-added services clause that makes up an integral part of ADS-B contract performance.

The provision will foster the FAA's interest in increasing the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS) by reducing overall costs to the programme "and accelerating avionics equipage", adds the JPDO.

The FAA awarded a $1.8 billion contract to ITT in August 2007 to build the ground infrastructure for ADS-B - a radar-like surveillance method that uses ground stations and GPS-linked equipment on aircraft. Under the contract, ground stations for the new system will be brought online across the country, starting in Alaska, the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and portions of the Midwest. Nationwide coverage is expected by 2013.

Following the award to ITT, the FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which would require those who want to fly in Class A, B, C, and other designated airspace to equip with avionics that will broadcast ADS-B "Out" from the aircraft.

The agency believes the safety benefits of receiving traffic, weather and flight information will encourage aircraft owners to voluntarily equip to receive ADS-B "In", says the JPDO.

Source: Flight International