Florida Test Bed

The Florida NextGen Test Bed (FTB) is the cradle of industry-driven concepts that advance NextGen. The FTB consists of two primary areas: the Integration Suite and the Demonstration Suite. The Data Center houses the telecommunications equipment, rack-mounted servers, and other equipment that enable operational capabilities in the Integration and Demonstration suites.

Integration Suite

Measuring around 5,000 square feet, the Integration Suite is the site for developing, testing, and integrating the operational capabilities being evaluated at the FTB. The Integration Suite includes the following:

  • The Conference Room accommodates meetings and teleconferences for approximately twenty people.
  • The Integration Area is the site where engineers work together on development, testing, integration, and related activities, either separately or collectively.
  • Offices are used for visitors to use as a temporary private space at the FTB.

Demonstration Suite

The Demonstration Suite, which also spans approximately 5,000 square feet, is used to conduct demonstrations of the operational capabilities under review at the FTB. The Demonstration Area includes the following:

  • The Demonstration Suite is designed to accommodate flexibility and future growth. The suite contains reconfigurable bay areas positioned along the periphery to accommodate demonstrating and visualizing different flight domains or operational areas. Large screen displays throughout the area enable the audience to view activity on certain monitors within the various flight domains, while screens at the front of the area provide projections of presentations or other materials or displays. Seats can be organized in a stadium/theatrical arrangement to maximize the audience members' views of the operational capabilities being demonstrated.
  • The Meeting Area features easily reconfigurable tables and chairs to accommodate meetings, presentations, or group conversations for demonstration audience members and others. With its location at an operational airport, architecture, and access to industry, the FTB provides several important capabilities for NextGen research and demonstrations. Because of the nature of early-stage concept evaluation, innovation and participation beyond the FAA are encouraged at the FTB. It provides access for industry members so that new capabilities can be more rapidly harnessed and partnerships can be fostered.

Facility Features

  • Research and Development (R&D) versions of NAS systems. Replication of NAS capabilities, including both user interface and business logic for en route and tower. Over 30 National Airspace System (NAS) and supporting systems are present.
  • Representation of NAS domains in one facility. The FTB comprises both NAS capabilities and simulated capabilities.
  • Integration across NAS domains. The en route, tower, surface, flight deck, and weather domains are integrated much as the NAS is today and support most NAS functionality shared across domains. In addition, there are some cases where the FTB is receiving data feeds (e.g., Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast Mode, Weather) and showing the data on displays.
  • Support for multiple configurations. The FTB provides a platform of NAS systems in a prototype environment that includes the current version of the systems with modifications incorporated from previous demonstrations. While this environment is completely separate from the operational environment, updates to the systems in the operational environment may be reflected in the FTB environment. New NextGen concepts demonstrated at the FTB also have the potential to be incorporated for implementation in the future.
  • Extensive interfacing with other capabilities. Capabilities in the FTB can interface with capabilities at other locations on the FAA R&D External Enclave network. Capabilities in the FTB can also interface with capabilities that are external to the FAA via the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN). The FTB subscribes to System Wide Information Management (SWIM) data (i.e., SWIM Integrated Terminal Weather System).
  • Inclusion and integration of future capabilities. The FTB has an open architecture that can support integrating new capabilities, such as the Traffic Based Flow Management system.
  • Conformance to Air Traffic Management (ATM) system interfaces. Capabilities that emulate ATM systems support the same system interfaces as the real systems. These interfaces evolve as the interfaces for the systems in the field evolve.
  • Ingestion of real adaptation and other NAS data. The capabilities in the FTB ingest NAS adaptation data following the protocols used by the NAS capabilities.
  • Recording and playback capability. Audio, video, and data are recorded and time-synchronized for playback.
  • Dedicated hardware. FTB contains its own dedicated hardware, some of which is actual hardware used in the NAS.
  • Use of FAA networks. The FTB uses the networks at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, the FAA R&D External Enclave, the DREN, and the internet to support the inclusion of labs that are external to the FTB.

Facility Systems

The FTB has over 30 systems within the facility, including both the NAS and supporting systems. Core NAS systems include the following:

  • Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures
  • En Route Automation Modernization
  • SWIM Flight Data Publication Services
  • National Flight Information Services
  • Time Base Flow Management
  • Traffic Flow Management Service
  • NAS Enterprise Messaging Service
  • Flight Object Exchange Services
  • Surface Decision Support System
  • Out-the-Window Tower Displays
  • Mini-Global Viewer
  • NAS Common Reference
  • Trajectory Evaluator
  • Data Generator
  • Target Generation Facility/Simulation Driver and Radar Recorder
Last updated: Thursday, March 14, 2024