Tuesday’s agenda at Communicating For Safety features panels that will provide an in-depth look at some of the most exciting, innovative technologies being developed and implemented in the National Airspace System (NAS). Our goal at this conference will be to discuss how they can all be safely implemented and integrated into the NAS.
The Challenges to Operating the NAS: Implementing Emerging Technologies panel will provide the basis for these discussions; featuring senior decision makers from every corner of the aviation industry. The panel will cover policy and challenges related to the introduction of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Space-Based ADS-B, and Commercial Space, the future is here. Now the questions and the challenges are emerging over how to implement these emerging technologies while continuing to operate the NAS safely and effectively. There are challenges to appropriate staffing, training, strains on budgets, and other issues which panelists on Tuesday will discuss.
Following the higher policy level panel will be a panel on Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and a presentation on Commercial Space by SpaceX. The panel and presentation will cover current and future operations within the NAS and the unique challenges associated with them.
Now is the time to make changes in the NAS in order to shape the next phase of modernization for the future. New entrants to the NAS, a fast-paced changing environment of technologies and the effect of aviation on communities are among the priorities. Finding solutions is key to being on the forefront of the global airspace. Collaboration between NATCA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation industry is crucial to ensuring that integration moves forward smoothly.
On the front lines here in the United States are the aviation safety professionals who will be tasked with many of the challenges of safe and effective implementation of emerging NAS entrants. That includes the air traffic controller workforce, whom NATCA President Paul Rinaldi says shoulder those challenges while remaining supremely focused on safety.
“You have to admire the controllers, the hurdles they overcome, and all that they do while maintaining the safety of our airspace,” Rinaldi said.
Air traffic service providers and regulators around the world are moving toward airspace and flight operations that enable greater flexibility and adaptability, along with ensuring improved traffic flow, capacity, efficiency, and safety. In addition, new entrants such as UAS, commercial space vehicles, and upper airspace users require a unified approach to cooperative and non-cooperative surveillance to support the rapidly changing air transportation system.
NATCA has said that the most important thing when looking at major shifts in the use of technology is having the ability to come together with different opinions and leave the conversation with the best possible product. Ultimately, what it boils down to is understanding how we use the technology we do today, what we’re trying to move to tomorrow, understanding what that means, and then identifying how we’re going to get there.