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Is Your Airport 'NextGen' Capable? FAA Resource Provides Answers

Oct. 7, 2015

Ever wonder if your home airport or the airfields you fly to frequently are NextGen-capable?

In addition to providing insights about operating in the "NextGen" air traffic control network, the FAA’s online NextGen resource also offers information regarding the full scope of advanced technologies now in use throughout the National Airspace System, including how NextGen is already in use at airports throughout the country.

Is Your Airport 'NextGen' Capable? FAA Resource Provides Answers

The "NextGen for Airports" section of the FAA's website provides a summary of the new capabilities offered by NextGen that improve safety and accessibility at not only large airports served primarily by commercial aircraft, but also at smaller fields used extensively by business aircraft.

"NextGen for Airports provides a broad brush of the different pieces of NextGen that are relevant and actionable by airports," said FAA Operations Analyst Kent Duffy, who is charged with integrating NextGen technologies in the airport environment. "In a sense, it's about planting a seed so that airports can research these areas further, and for them to determine how to proceed."

Among the topics addressed in the NextGen for Airports section are how airport managers may request new instrument procedures, and how existing ceiling and visibility minimums may be improved to facilitate more operations during inclement weather.

The section also directs users to the instrument flight procedures information gateway, which lists approved, performance-based navigation (PBN), area navigation and required navigation performance approach procedures, and provides further details on the process to develop them.

These resources are also valuable for educating pilots about the implementation process, Duffy said.

"If business aircraft operators have a particular need in the airport environment that isn't being met, they can discuss their need with airport managers," he noted. "The airport will then engage with the FAA in planning and implementation."

Airports seeking to add or improve PBN instrument approaches may request Airport Improvement Program funding for the necessary surveys and obstruction mitigation necessary for localizer performance with vertical guidance approaches. Airports with FAA surface surveillance can equip vehicles with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast systems to track ground traffic on the field.