Message from Southern Region Administrator Dennis Roberts
On October 24, I had the pleasure of touring UPS Worldport facility at Louisville International Airport (SDF) and recognizing the company's support of Data Communications at the airport.
UPS has provided the FAA with operational and technical insight gained from equipping their aircraft and training crews on Data Comm. The FAA is benefiting from their experience. The benefits of Data Comm will grow as more Data Comm equipped aircraft fly in the National Airspace System (NAS).
What is Data Comm and how does it benefit the NAS? Data Comm allows flight crews and air traffic controllers to exchange digital electronic information, supplementing existing voice communications. We get the greatest benefits from Data Comm during and after severe weather events when air traffic controllers have to reroute flights.
In the past, controllers communicated individually to each flight crew over radio frequencies, which is very time consuming. Now, with Data Comm the process is faster and saves resources. It significantly reduces flight delays for flights sitting at gates, and it saves time for flights as they taxi to the runway for takeoff.
Today, Data Comm equipped aircraft comprise 25 percent of SDF's daily operations and this is one of the highest percentage of Data Comm operations in the country. SDF was also one of the first Air Traffic Control Towers in the United States equipped with Data Comm. The FAA and its industry partners have delivered Data Comm to more than 50 towers to date, almost two and a half years ahead of the original plan. Ten of the towers - 20 percent of the equipped facilities - are in Southern Region.
FAA Evaluates Drone Detection Systems
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) that enter the protected airspace around airports can pose a serious threat to manned aviation safety. The FAA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are conducting drone-detection research with state and local officials, and academia, to evaluate new technologies for detecting unmanned aircraft near airports. Recent field-testing at Denver International Airport was a major milestone in the development of minimum operational performance standards for drone detection at major airport and critical infrastructure locations.