For Immediate Release

Release No. A0C 17-07
October 2, 2007
Contact: Paul Takemoto
Phone: (202) 267-3883

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today proposed an initial set of aircraft avionics requirements designed to enable the transition to the Next Generation satellite-based air transportation system.

The proposal would require all aircraft flying in the nation’s busiest airspace to have satellite-based avionics by 2020, enabling air traffic controllers to track aircraft by satellites using a system known as Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B), which is ten times more accurate than current radar technology. Aircraft not flying in controlled airspace will not be required to have ADS-B avionics, but may choose to do so in order to realize the safety benefits.

“Aviation must take the big step into the next generation of technology,” said Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell. “It's safer and more accurate. Satellite technology is here to stay.”

The ten-fold increase in the accuracy of satellite signals may eventually allow air traffic controllers to reduce separation standards between aircraft, significantly increasing the number of aircraft that can be safely managed in the nation’s skies. Traffic is projected to grow from 740 million passengers last year to one billion in 2015, and double today’s levels by 2025.

Under a contract awarded to ITT Corporation last month, ground stations for the new system will be brought online across the country, starting in the East Coast, portions of the Midwest, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. Nationwide coverage is expected by 2013. Pilots viewing ADS-B cockpit displays are able to see, in real time, their location in relation to other aircraft, bad weather and terrain. In Southwest Alaska, the fatal accident rate for ADS-B-equipped aircraft has dropped by 47 percent.

The proposed rule is open to public comment for 90 days, and is scheduled to become final by late 2009. The proposed compliance date of 2020 will give the industry more than 10 years to properly equip aircraft with ADS-B avionics.