The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reached agreements with three additional U.S. airlines to fund in-cockpit runway safety systems in exchange for critical operational data. The data will help the FAA evaluate the safety impact of this technology and is expected to accelerate key safety capabilities necessary for the transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System.
Atlas Air Inc. received $510,000 to equip 17 aircraft with electronic flight bags (EFBs), CommutAir received $544,000 to equip 16 aircraft with EFBs and Aural Alerting Systems, and Shuttle America received $680,000 to equip 20 aircraft with EFBs and Aural Alerting Systems.
The surface moving maps with own-ship position and aural alert systems will be used on flights to or from 21 test bed airports, as well as other airports. The safety technology provides greater situational awareness for pilots to help them avoid unsafe operations on the airport surface.
In September, the FAA provided $600,000 each to SkyWest, Piedmont, US Airways and Southwest Airlines to install the cockpit safety equipment.
“This technology is on every pilot’s wish list,” said Robert A. Sturgell, the FAA’s acting administrator. “It’s going to be a big boost for runway safety. As a former airline pilot myself, I can tell you putting these systems in the cockpit will raise situational awareness considerably.”
The technology will be installed in aircraft at each airline by September 2009. By that time the agency also expects initial results from the data analysis. Each agreement will remain in effect through September 2011.
The FAA continues to review other proposals to deploy the surface moving map or an approved aural runway safety alerting system and expects to announce other awards. Twenty-two airlines responded to the FAA’s request for proposals to invest in the two runway safety technologies.
The test bed airports were selected because they had a history of runway incursions or runway safety issues. They are: Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago (O’Hare), Newark, Cleveland, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston (Hobby), Anchorage, San Francisco, Las Vegas McCarran, Charlotte, Miami, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Daytona Beach, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, New York (JFK and LaGuardia), Atlanta and Seattle.