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The FAA continued a dynamic research and development program in support of its mission to ensure the safe and efficient use of the Nation's airspace, to foster civil aeronautics and air commerce in the United States and abroad, and to support the requirement of national defense. To achieve these goals, during FY 1998, the FAA continued to acquire new automation systems for the National Airspace System (NAS). The agency installed display system replacements at 12 air route traffic control centers, bringing the total installed to date up to 16 of the eventual 21 that will be installed. The FAA also installed nine voice switching and control system backup systems at en route centers that will be used for training purposes. At the end of FY 1998, the FAA had installed 10 of 22 of thesesystems. Installation of the host and oceanic computer system replacement began with 11 systems

delivered to en route centers, the FAA Academy, and the William J. Hughes Technical Center. The agency upgraded the existing terminal automation system software and hardware at 21 terminal radar-approach control facilities nationwide. These upgrades established a common hardware and software baseline, providing new maintenance efficiencies for the agency. Work also continued on a new standard terminal automation replacement system that will provide a platform for future automation enhancements to meet the increased traffic demands.

The FAA made substantial progress in two programs that aid controllers in reducing incidents and accidents that are attributable to runway incursions. The first, the Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model 3 (ASDE-3), provides radar surveillance of aircraft and airport service vehicles at high activity airports. The second, the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS), visually and aurally prompts tower controllers to respond to situations that potentially compromise safety. The agency commissioned ASDE-3 systems at Memphis, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Dulles International Airports, bringing the total number commissioned to 30 out of 40 systems. The agency also commissioned 15 Mode S, Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radars, bringing the total to 130 systems of 148 commissioned. These systems provide highly accurate aircraft identification and altitude information to air traffic controllers. In addition, the FAA awarded a contract to the Raytheon Corporation for up to 127 Air Traffic Control Beacon Interrogator replacement systems, which will replace 30-year-old, secondary-surveillance beacon systems.

In cooperation with NASA and industry, the FAA's Aeronautical Data Link Program continued research and development on next-generation data link applications. As part of that effort, a Government-industry consortium, the FAA-sponsored Flight Management System-Air Traffic Management Next Generation, developed a "Required Functional Capabilities Document," outlining the required flight operations (air and ground), air traffic management, communications, and navigation and surveillance capabilities. The FAA and NASA sponsored a study to compare aircraft fuel consumption during flight management system­derived flight paths and air traffic management­derived flight paths to validate the concept of flight profile negotiation via data link. The FAA and NASA also jointly sponsored and authored a test plan to use data from revenue aircraft to validate the benefits of incorporating user information into air traffic automation functionality.

The FAA made continued progress toward the implementation of the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which will provide the availability, integration, and accuracy for GPS to be used for precision civilian navigation. During the fiscal year, the FAA completed the installation of 25 reference and 2 master land-based stations necessary for the WAAS to achieve initial operating capability in the summer of 1999. A partnership of the FAA, NASA, DoD, and the aviation industry made substantial progress in moving the NAS toward free flight—a concept that could ultimately allow pilots to choose their own routes, speeds, and altitudes during flight. This free flight concept could improve safety, save time and fuel, and be a more efficient use of airspace and our natural environment. Efforts toward a Global Navigation Satellite System continued to produce results. Cooperative agreements with Canada, Mexico, Iceland, and Chile, as well as cooperation with Europe and the Far East, represented measurable progress toward seamless worldwide coverage.

The FAA's en route automated radar terminal system became fully operational at all offshore facilities during the fiscal year. The FAA reduced the vertical separation standards from 2,000 to 1,000 feet over North Atlantic airspace and implemented the new standards at the New York oceanic center, allowing for the addition of two north-south routes to the North Atlantic airspace. Ground-to-ground data link communications via the air traffic services interfacility communications system also became operational between Oakland, California, and Japan and between Anchorage, Alaska, and the Russian Far East. This enabled a more efficient transfer of aircraft navigation information and provided more timely position and performance data to controllers.

The FAA commissioned its 350th automated surface observing system to automate weather observation gathering and dissemination during the fiscal year. The FAA unconditionally certified the Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) program, which is the first program to receive such certification. WARP is a system that receives and processes real-time weather data from multiple sources and produces displays of weather information for multiple users to support the en route environment. The Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) program was installed as a prototype at New York's LaGuardia Airport and completed its preliminary design review. This is an automated weather system that provides near-term (0 to 30 minutes) prediction of significant terminal area weather, integrating data from radars, sensors, and automated aircraft reports. The FAA's Runway Incursion Reduction Program and NASA's Terminal Area Productivity Program completed the data analysis and final report on the joint demonstration of the Low Visibility Landing and Surface Operations project at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. The demonstration allowed the FAA to integrate several operational and research and development surveillance systems to provide real-time seamless coverage, conflict alerts, identification, and information sharing of targets on the airport surface. The FAA continued to improve wind shear detection capability by commissioning nine Terminal Doppler Weather Radars. At the end of FY 1998, this improved capability was available at 38 major airports.

The FAA and NASA jointly sponsored the development of a prototype for a worldwide aircraft noise impact model. In April 1998, at the fourth meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, the FAA successfully promoted the inclusion of further model development into the current work program with the commitment of continued FAA and NASA support.

The FAA continued its advanced research activities in a number of critical aviation safety areas, including structural integrity, nondestructive inspection, and crashworthiness. For example, in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force, the FAA has developed a new user-friendly software tool, Repair Assessment Procedure and Integrated Design (RAPID), that is capable of static strength and damage tolerance analysis of fuselage skin repairs. The FAA began deploying the Safety Performance Analysis System, a web-based automated risk-based analytical tool, to all aviation safety inspectors. As of September 1998, more than 2,000 aviation safety inspectors had received training and been granted access to the system. In April 1998, the FAA made RAPID 2.1 software and supporting documentation available to the public through the World Wide Web. In September 1998, the FAA teamed with NASA and DoD to sponsor the Second Joint Conference on Aging Aircraft.

The FAA teamed with Boeing to construct and operate the Airport Pavement Test Facility, which will be used to explore and validate new pavement design, construction methods, and paving materials. Researchers conducted a successful evaluation of the prototype Advanced Taxiway Guidance System during FY 1998. They collected data from subject pilots that clearly indicated that the implementation of such a system would enhance airport safety by reducing the chances of incorrect turns and/or runway incursions, particularly in night and/or low-visibility operations. During the fiscal year, the FAA ordered the retrofit of approximately 3,000 airliners in the U.S. fleet with cargo compartment fire-detection and suppression systems because of demonstrated hazards of aerosol cans in passenger luggage during a cargo fire and the effectiveness of halon extinguishing agent in preventing aerosol can explosions. The FAA also reestablished a flight loads data collection program for large transport airplanes.

The FAA continued to lead the Nation in research and development activities to prevent explosives, weapons, and other threat materials from being introduced on aircraft. During FY 1998, to detect weapons in checked luggage, the FAA worked with its industry partners to support the certification of an upgraded InVision explosives detection system, the CTX 5500DS, and develop a Prototype 3 View X-Ray System and an advanced quadruple resonance research prototype. To enhance checkpoint security operations, the agency worked in partnership with the aviation community to complete laboratory evaluations of 6 trace detection systems, leading to the deployment of more than 350 machines at domestic airport checkpoints. To optimize and standardize security system operator performance, the agency deployed computer-based training and screener selection tests to 18 of the 19 major domestic airports and deployed threat image projection equipment to the Atlanta, Detroit, and Seattle airports for data collection and evaluation. Researchers also are working with international partners to examine potential development of trace detection techniques for cargo and to establish interagency cooperation for conducting baseline evaluations of cargo inspection systems. In addition, researchers validated wide-body aircraft vulnerability estimates by explosives testing, certified an LD3 hardened container, and, with Boeing, conducted aircraft vulnerability validation with explosive tests on a pressurized L-1011 airframe.

During FY 1998, the FAA continued an ongoing effort to develop reliable, valid, and sensitive human-performance metrics and baselines to support system-performance tests and evaluation during acquisition. These measures are essential to evaluate changes in system hardware, software, and procedures. Researchers at the Civil Aeromedical Institute, from the U.S. Air Force, and from Japan continued their assessments of the effects of bright lights as a potential fatigue countermeasure for air traffic control personnel working midnight shifts. Human factors specialists continued to explore several display concepts designed to improve the quality of information available to the busy air traffic controller.

Human factors specialists also continued work to enhance the performance of pilots and aircraft maintenance technicians by developing techniques that will allow the airlines to assess pilots in a more standardized way, target deficiencies, and provide needed training. The FAA worked on developing advanced data collection and analysis systems to allow air carriers and FAA oversight offices to monitor the effectiveness of pilot training systems. For aircraft maintenance technicians, new computer-based training programs provided concentrated instruction on concepts such as human error and teamwork. Human factors researchers also participated in a joint FAA–National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health 5-year study of airline cabin air quality. Areas of concentration included the potential routes of transmission of disease from an infected individual to other airline passengers in the same cabin, the reproductive health problems of flight attendants, and the health consequences of repeated exposure to higher levels of cosmic radiation at various altitudes.

During the fiscal year, FAA's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation monitored a new record of 22 FAA-licensed commercial space launches—more than 50 percent higher than the previous year—and issued two new launch site operator licenses for new sites in Virginia and Alaska, doubling the number of such commercially or State-operated launch sites. The FAA issued nine license amendments, including four renewals. The FAA briefly suspended one license in an enforcement action to correct a potentially dangerous situation and completed 27 compliance inspections relating to commercial launches. The Office of Commercial Space Transportation compiled and published its annual low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercial satellite market projection and collaborated with its Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee to produce its geostationary Earth orbit market projection.

The FAA also published in the Federal Register the final rule relating to financial responsibility requirements for licensed launch activities and continued work on a proposed final rule updating commercial space transportation licensing regulations relating to launches from Federal launch sites. It also undertook a major new initiative to develop a concept of operations to integrate the needs of space transportation into the NAS. The Office of Commercial Space Transportation, Air Traffic Control, the FAA's Office of General Counsel, and the U.S. Air Force agreed to work together to provide an organizational framework to facilitate the development of an integrated Space and Air Traffic Management System. By the end of FY 1998, the agency had completed a draft "Commercial Space Transportation NAS 2005 Concept" document for internal coordination.

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