Also Invites Comments To Timeline For ADS-B, Other NextGen
Stating "aviation is safer
than ever" -- but "capacity must expand to meet demand, and we must
be good environmental stewards" -- on Wednesday the FAA posted a
draft of its "Flight Plan 2008-2012." The draft outlines the steps
the agency says it must undertake to "keep things running smoothly"
for the next four years -- including deadlines on implementation of
those steps, such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcasting
(ADS-B) -- and also invites comments to the plan.
"Our skies are safe," the agency writes. "There aren't many
industries out there that are safe to the point where they monitor
incidents and accidents that didn't happen. But the margin of
safety in our system has grown so much better over the years that
we now track even minor blips."
The agency notes it has worked with the aviation industry to
achieve an "incredibly" low rate of fatal accidents involving
commercial airlines, adding there has also been a marked decrease
of accidents involving general aviation planes.
But more must be done, the FAA emphatically states.
"Even so, the bottom line is that the status quo -- regardless
of the fact that we're in an era of unprecedented safety -- will
not meet the needs of the future. As passengers continue to fly in
ever-increasing numbers, and as more planes continue to fill the
skies, we have to be ready and able to handle it all efficiently,"
the agency writes. "Our system must continue to change to meet the
growing needs of our country, engaging the brightest minds in the
industry, encouraging our employees to reach for excellence in all
they do, and taking advantage of new technologies."
Those new technologies outlined in the draft are part of the
agency's flaunted Next Generation Air Transportation System, or
"NextGen." Those technologies include ADS-B, improved
communications, and infrastructure enhancements.
The FAA lays out a framework for the implementation of key
NextGen components -- for example, it sets 2010 as a deadline for a
Final Rule to be implemented for ADS-B -- while also noting its
accomplishments to date.
"We know that NextGen is a system that will take many years to
fully implement, but we will have key accomplishments in the next
five years as well," states the agency.
The full text of the Flight Plan is available as a .pdf document
at the FMI link below. The agency also invites comments to the plan
on its website.