Most, if not all, of the technologies involved in Flight 2000 have undergone rigorous simulation testing by both the FAA and its industry partners. However, the agency feels strongly that to make a rapid transition to a modernised system across the United States that takes advantage of these technologies, a complete operational system evaluation must be done under real operational conditions prior to system-wide deployment. This would significantly reduce the learning curve and pave the way for a much smoother transition period, the FAA believes. Helping to find ways to reduce the cost of avionics as well as the cost of certifying the onboard equipment is another key objective of the programme. The FAA deemed this as vital because true system-wide safety and capacity benefits will be realised only if there is virtually universal equippage of aircraft. Despite the promised benefits Flight 2000 is expected to bring it has not been universally welcomed by the aviation industry in the US. George Donahue, Assistant Administrator FAA, however, has stipulated that the project should take priority. The Flight 2000 project, according to FAA data, is expected to require equipping some 2,000 aircraft in both states with compatible onboard avionics. These include all commercial and general aviation aircraft in Hawaii – approximately 600 – and 1,400 commercial aircraft in Alaska. In addition approximately 100 military aircraft are expected to be similarly equipped. The FAA had anticipated launching Flight 2000 in 1999 and it was expected to run for two years.

Source: Flight International