For Immediate Release

December 22, 2006

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to integrate the Alaskan Capstone project into the national Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) program, a move that will advance the national ADS-B deployment while it accelerates safety improvements in Alaska.

The Capstone program has been working for more than six years to improve aviation safety in Alaska, primarily by deploying ADS-B to provide radar-like surveillance for pilots flying in the YK Delta and Southeast Alaska where radar could never be deployed. These efforts in the YK Delta have resulted in a reduction in the accident rate and provided valuable data that has paved the way for the national program.

This integration of Capstone and the national program will not result in the loss of any Capstone employee’s job. All will continue to work for the FAA in comparable positions, and all positions are intended to remain in Alaska.

The Alaskan Capstone Coalition will continue to work with Capstone representatives from the FAA’s national ADS-B office to pursue a balanced and cost-effective investment strategy that will continue to bring safety technologies to isolated Alaskan communities. The FAA hopes to formalize this agreement with the Coalition and state representatives under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will establish the continuation of safety improvements in Alaska as a priority for all parties.

The FAA and the Coalition will work under the terms of the MOA to get state-of-the-art technologies deployed on the ground and avionics installed in aircraft flying in the Alaska region. ADS-B infrastructure deployment in Alaska will be included in the national program design, which will allow the agency to take advantage of resulting synergies to accelerate deployment and expand other flight services in the region. This action also allows the Alaskan representatives to participate as stakeholders on the national program.   

By transitioning the Capstone program into the national program, the FAA intends to better focus the national deployment, as well as continue the vital safety improvements that the Capstone project has been so successful in providing to the aviation community in Alaska.