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FAA Awards NextGen Contract to Lockheed MartinThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin worth $344 million to develop and implement a new NextGen technology that will improve the efficiency of departures and arrivals, as well as the movement of aircraft on the ground. Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) will replace the paper flight strips that air traffic controllers currently use at most airports to share flight plans with electronic flight strips that will enable faster and more informed tactical… (www.faa.gov) More...
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As a career Information Technology professional, if that's the kind of results you're seeing, the development and implementation cycle of the software/hardware is not being properly managed. There also needs to be a change management effort so that everyone transitioning from old processes to new automated processes knows how to react to improved data delivery. I'm not saying that Lockheed will provide anything better, but don't blame the automation - blame the people who have created it.
Let's hope LM relies on REAL-WORLD controllers and active pilots while developing and fielding this latest, greatest, be all, end all technology. Nothing like a new piece of equipment that's fielded by engineers and wanna-be aviation "professionals." Sorry for the skepticism, but the FAA is well-known for throwing good money at bad ideas and programs in the name of improving aviation safety. I pray this one is different - AND below budget and ahead of schedule...not something government contractors are well known for...this, from a retire controller and professional pilot.
The unwillingness of ATC to allow optimized climb and descent profiles is mind boggling. Thinking the descent profiles were established for the DC-4 when rapid descent cooling was an issue....
No, it's because of congested airspace especially around the northeast corridor. I was around for the second east coast plan in the mid '80's. The effect of changing even one corridor or window on the rest of the TRACON is mind boggling. That being said, continuous climbs became the norm for KBOS once Pease (KPSM) approach was integrated into the TRACON.
I don't care how streamlined the new system might be, if we have to descend 250nm out from the destination, it wont save money or fuel.
I have only seen very few problem resolved by automation. I have seen a lot of problems resolved by assigning a leader to an organization who runs through it with a sharp knife to carve out the useless personnel and processes to make it more efficient. Then, an efficient operation might be helped by automation.
Good luck to the FAA, Lockheed, and the US tax payer lifting the bill.