The Next Generation Air Transportation System is a massive, multi-decade undertaking that requires the collaboration of countless agencies, corporations, and individuals. That spirit of cooperation for the purpose of advancing NextGen concepts and procedures is on display daily at the Florida NextGen Test Bed.
Throughout the development of the FTB, industry has contributed expertise, National Airspace System (NAS) technologies, and a myriad of other resources to help make the FTB a success.
The government agency in charge of regulating air travel, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), established the FTB in 2008 to foster a partnership between government, industry, and academia.
The FAA writes and enacts the policies that govern NextGen tasks and determines which tasks are to be completed at the FTB and the two other NextGen test beds. The FAA deploys new NextGen procedures and technology on the ground, in the air, at air traffic control facilities, and in the cockpit.
The industry manufacturers and service providers of existing NAS systems have the specialized expertise necessary to implement and operate the systems that they have developed and maintained. As ideas and concepts emerge, these industry members can rapidly develop prototypes and integrate capabilities while maintaining control of their own intellectual property.
Here are the companies that have been involved in NextGen tasks at the Florida Test Bed:
The Boeing Company
This Chicago-based corporation is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space, and security systems.
This is an innovation and integration company with thousands of products and services to advance and deliver safe, efficient, productive and comfortable aviation experiences worldwide.
This Connecticut-based conglomerate develops and produces technological innovations in the areas of appliances and lighting, aviation, energy, healthcare, oil and gas, software, transportation, and water.
An engineering and program management solutions company that offers a well-rounded team providing a full spectrum of expertise to solving problems ranging from research to technical management.
This Florida-based international communications and information technology company is dedicated to developing best-in-class products, systems, and services in three areas: RF communications, integrated network solutions, and government communication systems.
This Colorado-based corporation, a subsidiary of Boeing, delivers innovative products that integrate navigation, operations, and logistics information into one end-to-end solution for air, sea, and land transportation partners.
This Maryland-based global security and aerospace company is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacturing, integration, and the sustaining of advanced technology systems, products, and services.
This Washington D.C.-based company in an engineering, technical and professional services firm with a foundation in the aviation industry.
This Virginia-based company develops comprehensive and innovative solutions for the complex and fast-moving needs of the air transportation and unmanned aircraft systems industries and is divided into three business segments: commercial applications and services, autonomous systems, and air traffic management.
The FTB has a number of advantages afforded to it by its location at Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), which is a medium-sized airport environment consisting of a large number of General Aviation (GA) operations. The airport is owned by Volusia County, Florida.
- DAB has a Class C airspace with a minimal amount of commercial air traffic, making it easier for the FTB activities not to interfere with airport operations.
- The DAB tower and airport authorities have strong ties to ERAU, which can help facilitate the FTB activities such as coordinating field operations, installing equipment, or performing specific air operations.
- A jet bridge directly off the FTB allows for easy access to aircraft on the tarmac.
- The FTB has access to the local ERAU fleet of aircraft, which can participate in live tests and demonstrations of NextGen operational concepts and capabilities.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University — the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace — was contracted by the FAA through an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to manage the FTB. Embry-Riddle, which is located just around the corner from the FTB, collaborates with industry partners and takes advantage of its own aviation experts and facilities to advance NextGen concepts and procedures.
ERAU has a number of labs that support various aspects of aviation research, including Air Traffic Management in the Air Traffic Control Labs, weather in the Weather Center, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) simulators and the NEAR lab which provides software engineering, modeling and simulation, aviation data archiving and analysis. The Department of Human Factors at ERAU also offers faculty skill sets that can be used to help conduct experiments and Human-In-The-Loop (HITL) simulations.
Embry-Riddle’s fleet of 90-plus aircraft also provides the ideal vehicles for live tests and demonstrations of NextGen operational concepts and capabilities. The Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Broadcast (ADS-B)-equipped fleet presents the ability to demonstrate all aspects of ADS-B in an operational environment. Specific features include:
- Statewide coverage of 300 nmi from ground-based transceiver (surface level to FL 600)
- Daytona Beach International Airport surface coverage
- Wi-Fi coverage of the airport surface with AeroMACS System