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FAA’s New Air Traffic System Hits Turbulence


By JOAN LOWY

The government’s program to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system has run into serious problems that threaten to increase its cost and delay its completion, a government watchdog said.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s program to replace the current air traffic control system with a system based on satellite technology is being held back by software problems that have delayed full deployment of a critical flight tracking system, Transportation Department inspector general Calvin Scovel told a House hearing Wednesday.
The agency also hasn’t set deadlines for when key aspects of the new air traffic control system will be in place, Scovel said. Nor has FAA made clear to airlines and other air traffic system users exactly what benefits they can expect and when they’ll be achieved, he said.
As a result, airlines and others are being discouraged from spending money on cockpit equipment necessary to take advantage of the new air traffic system, Scovel said. Many of the new system’s benefits hinge on airlines equipping their planes with expensive new equipment to communicate with air traffic controllers and broadcast their location to other planes and controllers.
Scovel’s comments were echoed by a second government watchdog from the Government Accountability Office.
FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Huerta, also testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the agency is making progress on the flight tracking system, which has been operating for nearly a year at air traffic control centers in Salt Lake City and Seattle.
The modernization program is also likely to benefit from recent management reorganization, he said.
FAA officials have predicted the agency’s NextGen modernization program will be as revolutionary for civil aviation as was the advent of radar six decades ago. It’s actually a collection of new programs aimed at moving planes faster and more efficiently that will markedly change almost every major aspect of today’s air traffic system. Those changes are considered critical to enabling the system to absorb substantial predicted increases in air traffic without becoming paralyzed by congestion.
The troubled $2.1 billion software program is the main tool air traffic controllers will use to identify and track aircraft, except when planes are immediately approaching and departing airports. It was supposed to have been completed by the end of last year, but the FAA now doesn’t expect to be finished until 2014, at a cost overrun of $330 million, Scovel said.
Those estimates may be optimistic. A Mitre Corp. study and an analysis by the inspector general’s office estimate the added cost of the computer system, called ERAM, could be as much as $500 million, with potential delays stretching to 2016, Scovel said.
David Grizzle, the head of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, described ERAM to an air traffic control conference earlier this week as “the chassis on which all the NextGen functionality will be bolted.” He said the system is expected to increase the number of planes controllers can handle by nearly two-thirds.
“We’ve got to get it right, and we’ve encountered some significant challenges in delivery,” Grizzle said.
Some of ERAM’s problems have previously been made public, including glitches that incorrectly identify planes and interfere with the ability of controllers to pass along responsibility for tracking a plane from one control center to another.
But the problem may be more extensive than the FAA has previously acknowledged. Scovel said his office has found similar problems in another critical FAA computer system that shares the same aircraft tracking software. That system is used by controllers at facilities that track planes as they approach and depart airports.
ERAM’s persistent problems have raised concerns about the overall design of the system, he said.
Cost overruns in ERAM will affect the FAA’s budget for other major elements of NextGen and could crowd out other critical programs, Scovel said.
The FAA has focused much of its initial NextGen efforts on improving the flow of air traffic at congested airports in 21 major metropolitan areas. However, the agency has been slow in developing the flight procedures that will allow airlines to save fuel and time by flying shorter, more direct routes, Scovel said. The FAA did a study that identified ways to streamline the process for deploying new procedures, but agency officials estimate it would take five years just to put the streamlining initiatives in place, he said.
In the meantime, many of the new flight procedures the FAA has approved are merely overlays of existing routes rather than the fuel-saving procedures that require the more advanced navigation capabilities airlines had expected, he said. Airlines are anxious to reduce their jet fuel cost, which vies with labor as their No. 1 expense.
Democrats on the committee questioned whether the NextGen program is suffering because it doesn’t have enough money.
“My concern is: What happens when we add severe budget constraints on top of logistical program delays?” said Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill.
But Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said NextGen’s problems aren’t the result of “a failure of money,” but rather “a failure of management and getting a better handle on timeframes and keeping programs moving forward in some logical sequence.

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Brand New European Traditional Collection from Thomasville at Aven’s

deschanel

A collection created to define the heart of a welcoming home in pure forms, exquisite craftsmanship and exceptional attention to detail. Finely grained Jewel Box Ash Burl and Rustic Cherry veneers, paired with select hardwood solids and decorated with stringer lines, ogee moldings, framed perimeters and a graceful scroll motif come together in a harmonious blend of luxury and practicality, tradition and relaxed simplicity in this up to date interpretation of Louis Phillipe style furnishings.

Louis Phillipe, King of the French, reigned in an era of great political and cultural upheaval. Highly
educated and extensively traveled, he was a people’s king. Championing the values of the rising middle class and taking advantage the new technology of the Industrial Revolution, the furniture makers of his day
introduced a new style that reflected their sovereign’s passion for simple, beautiful and functional designs.

In this spirit,Thomasville proudly introduces Deschanel, a whole-home collection that is at once classic and fresh, formal and relaxed, traditional and perfectly fitted to today’s lifestyles. With pieces for the bedroom, dining room and living room, we bring the understated elegance and artful attention to detail of Louis Phillipe styling into the 21st Century.

• Top to bottom attention to detail gives this collection a distinctively composed look
• Fancy-face Inlaid Tops with contrasting stringer lines to add dimension and beauty
• Ogee Moldings, a defining signature of the Louis Phillipe style
• Elegant Perimeter Framing Details on Drawer Fronts, a time-honored craftsman technique that

highlights the beauty of the richly-grained wood
• Rounded Bracket Feet, enhanced with a scroll detail, express both strength and grace • Richly patterned Emperador Stone Tops available on some pieces
• Tufted leather covers add a sense of sophistication and comfort

tufted leather chair round mirror wardrobe chest

Meticulously upholstered in fine leather, this grand dining chair offers a gracious invitation to an evening of relaxed elegance.

Perfectly sized for almost any space, this small round mirror is just the right way to open up any room.

Strong, stately and sophisticated, this wardrobe offers seven drawers and a small, single-door closet to fulfill your storage needs.

classic sleigh bed

The centerpiece of the Deschanel collection, our interpretation of the Classic Sleigh bed features a gently sweeping scroll arising from a sturdily framed platform, a hand-tufted leather headboard that softly whispers, “relax” and a subtle repetition of the scroll motif in the rounded bracket feet.



two-drawer nightstand

Two full drawers of extra storage right by your bedside, a piece that captures the true essence of Louis Phillipe styling. And, as with the Single-door Nightstand, you can choose an optional stone top to add a pretty yet practical organic element.


round cocktail table

This 38” round table is perfect for smaller spaces and to show off a gorgeous oriental carpet.The inset glass top creates a
light look while offering a window onto a beautifully detailed Compass Rose inlay on the bottom shelf. Complementary Lamp Tables also feature glass tops and the Compass Rose inlay while a chairside chest provides much-desired extra storage space. In all, an elegantly themed ensemble.


double-pedestal table

This spacious dining table is sure to command attention. Across its fancy-face inlaid top, Cherry stringer lines circumscribe finely swirling Ash Burl. Detailing follows the Deschanel theme, with ogee moldings, framed panels on the pedestals, and softly scrolled bracket feet.

 

 

 


rectangular mirror

Smartly framed with classic ogee molding, this large mirror is perfect in the bedroom – or anywhere you’d like to add an extra sense of dimension.


deschanel

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

   

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