ATCA Bulletin | Issue 1, 2017

Page 1

Air Traffic Control Association

No. 1, 2017


IN THIS ISSUE: »» FAA Partners with Pentagon »» A Moment in Aviation History


No. 1, 2017 Published for

By Peter F. Dumont, President & CEO, Air Traffic Control Association

2017: Same Old, Same Old…NOT!


ver the past few years, people have told me that I should tweet more, but I didn’t take their advice. Now it seems that Twitter is not only a preferred app, it’s the vehicle for setting each day’s agenda. President Trump’s early morning Twitter comments turn into the outline for the morning news reports, setting the stage and the tone for the news cycle. This may change as President Trump settles into his new job, and it may change as we settle into the style and habits of our new president. Regardless of the medium, January has always been the month to set the agenda for the year. Every other year, we elect a new Congress – this year we are starting the 115th Congress. The Committee membership acclimates, chairmanships and ranking members adjust, and the discussions of Congress’ agenda takes shape. Every four years, a presidential candidate is elected,

1101 King Street, Suite 300 Alexandria, VA 22314 Phone: 703-299-2430 Fax: 703-299-2437 President & CEO: Peter F. Dumont Director, Communications: Abigail Glenn-Chase

or re-elected, and the campaign promises evolve into the status reports delivered in the State of the Union Address. In that vein, I will use my January letter as a sort of State of the Association letter, setting the agenda for the year. ATCA is poised to have an excellent 2017; we have an outstanding collection of exhibitors on the books for World ATM Congress in Madrid in March; we are well on our way to planning an energizing program for ATCA’s Technical Symposium in May, which will begin with another educational Tech Center Tuesday sponsored by the FAA Tech Center; we will host another thought-provoking Cybersecurity Day in June; and we look forward to our annual conference to again take place in Washington at the Gaylord in October. We will certainly be exploring the safe integration of unmanned aviation systems (UAS) into the air traffic management

Writer/Editor: Kristen Knott Formed in 1956 as a non-profit, professional membership association, ATCA represents the interests of all professionals in the air traffic control industry. Dedicated to the advancement of professionalism and technology of air traffic control, ATCA has grown to represent several thousand individuals and organizations managing and providing ATC services and equipment around the world.

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March 7–9, 2017 World ATM Congress 2017 Madrid, Spain 2

ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2017

May 16–18, 2017 ATCA Technical Symposium Atlantic City, N.J.

© 2017 Air Traffic Control Association, Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of ATCA. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors of the editorial articles contained in this publication are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of ATCA. Cover photo: SPACEX


ATCA is ready for the predictable and the probable, as well as the unforeseen. system as part of our major conferences, as well as other events during the year. ATCA’s monthly Bulletin and quarterly Journal of Air Traffic Control will continue to provide well-rounded discussion within our industry on ways to enhance air traffic management. So those are the things we can control. What about the things we can’t? According to the next Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, FAA reform is something that is likely to be on the table again. We are waiting to see if the Administration is willing to discuss it with Chairman Shuster, or lead the charge toward historic change in the

way air traffic management is provided in the United States. Depending on the new Administration’s position, the FAA reform debate could manifest itself as simply an interesting panel discussion at an ATCA event or could dominate our discussions for the next several years. The $1 trillion infrastructure plan could also take front and center by accelerating NextGen air traffic investments, and possibly define what comes after NextGen. And finally, the recent cybersecurity revelations and future cyber attacks could force our government into an aggressive investment posture to protect our network-based infrastructure.

ATCA is ready for the predictable and the probable, as well as the unforeseen. We are here to support and guide the conversation and analysis needed to advance customary air traffic improvements or potentially dramatic air traffic management paradigm shifts. That is, we are ready for whatever State of the Union comes our way on February 28, 2017, but we can only be truly prepare with you, our incredible members, at our side. Happy New Year, we’re looking forward to 2017!

ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2017



Aireon Celebrates SpaceX Launch of ADS-B Payloads Then Gets to Work By Kristen Knott, ATCA Writer and Editor


Who is Danny /

uring SpaceX’s launch on Jan. 14, many viewers gave little thought into the man hours behind the momentous 10-minute ride. At Aireon, that’s all they thought about. For Aireon, the journey to the Jan. 14 launch was a long one, more than five years in the making. The Falcon 9 rocket successfully deployed Iridium’s first ten satellites equipped with Aireon’s space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system. Aireon is the mastermind behind the technology, one of the lynchpins of NextGen. They are supported by investors including Iridium Communications, NAV CANADA, ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority, and Naviair. The launch marked a major milestone for both the company and ADS-B. It was the first of seven launches over the next 18 months – for a total of 66 operational satellites, which make up the Iridium NEXT Constellation – all armed with Aireon’s space-based ADS-B technology.

ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2017


ADS-B PAYLOADS “What enabled space-based ADS-B is the ability to be hosted by the global Iridium network and its low earth orbit satellites,” says Vinny Capezzuto, chief technology officer and vice president of engineering at Aireon. “Iridium has the tenure and expertise to craft this orchestrated dance of going from an existing satellite network to the new Iridium NEXT constellation – they are simultaneously testing performance, replacing legacy systems, still providing continuous service to existing customers, all while Aireon is validating performance of the ADS-B payload. It’s a very complex system-of-systems integration challenge.” The January rocket launch was the heaviest to date, with 400 modules weighing a total of 200,000 lbs. “From a graphical perspective, each satellite is the size of a mini cooper and the Aireon payload is the size of a microwave,” says Capezzuto. Despite the satellites’ small size, Aireon packed a lot of punch in its ADS-B payload. And good thing because it needs that power to track aircraft in

real-time, and from a low earth orbit, no less. “It’s the people behind the technology – it goes back to designing, the expertise of partners, the validation of component level, and the delivery system,” says Capezzuto. Along with SpaceX (and the entire world), Aireon let out a sigh of relief with the rocket’s successful launch. In many ways though, their work has just begun. It’s all part of a bigger plan. So, what’s next? According to Capezzuto, Aireon now enters a data verification and validation period. Considering the immense amount of data being generated by each satellite – multiplied by ten satellites for the first launch alone – we’re talking a lot of data. Aireon has enlisted the help of NAV CANADA, ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority, NATS, and the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center to assist in vetting the data once Iridium hands it over 40-60 days post-launch (the time it takes to verify proper function of the satellite).

“The next 18 months will be an incredibly exciting time just because no one has had this data – the possibilities are endless.”


Vinny Capezzuto, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Aireon


ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2017

“The next 18 months will be an incredibly exciting time just because no one has had this data – the possibilities are endless,” says Capezzuto. “We’re extremely grateful to have these five organizations helping us with testing and validation.” But this is just the beginning of Aireon’s plan to bring ADS-B to the world before its system is fully operational in 2018. The company first partnered with the FAA on space-based ADS-B exploration in 2011 and has since added 10 more air navigation service providers to its customer base. In September 2016, Aireon added another accomplishment when it announced a partnership with FlightAware that will provide spacebased ADS-B data to airlines. This flight tracking capability could make all the difference in catastrophes like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. While 2017 will continue to be a banner year for Aireon, for now, it’s clear they’ve hitched their ADS-B payload to the right wagon.

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FAA Partners with Pentagon, FBI to Ensure NAS Cybersecurity


ybersecurity is a top priority at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The agency’s goal is to ensure the integrity of the technology used in the National Airspace System (NAS), the civil aviation community, and the agency’s information systems. “We have a lot going on,” said Melanie Boteler, the FAA’s chief information security officer and a member of its Cybersecurity Steering Committee that identifies and addresses high-value risks. “We’re working very collaboratively across the agency.” Formed in 2014, the Cybersecurity Steering Committee fosters discussion across the agency. Its members come from the Office of Information and Technology Services, the Air Traffic Organization, Aviation Safety, the NextGen organization, Security and Hazardous Materials Safety, and the Department of Transportation (DOT). The committee initially planned to meet quarterly, but Boteler said it has been

so busy that members meet monthly and more often as necessary. The FAA Cybersecurity Strategy for 2016–2021, released in 2016, is one of its key products. The strategy, which will be updated annually, sets clear goals and objectives to reduce cybersecurity risks. The current goals call for enhancing data-driven capabilities for managing those risks and for building and maintaining the cybersecurity workforce. The strategy also articulates the FAA’s plans for engaging with partners in the public and private sectors, including the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “Our system that we live in is very complex, and we have a number of different stakeholders that we have to engage with,” Boteler said. One form of engagement is participating in Cyber Guard, the annual exercises hosted by DoD’s Cyber Command, DHS,

and the FBI. The 2016 exercise imagined destructive cyber attacks against critical US infrastructure, with participants taking steps to mitigate the damage in a compromised environment. FAA representatives rehearsed how they would share information with key national stakeholders. “There’s a tremendous amount of sharing of information [daily] between the FAA and the military for flight operations,” Boteler said, underscoring the importance of strengthening that partnership in the event of a real attack. “It’s a great engagement. We’re already planning for this year’s event.” The FAA’s interaction with DHS extends to continuous monitoring – a cybersecurity analysis concept designed to ensure that security controls remain effective over time in light of changes in technology. Automated tools are used to assess what hardware and software systems an organization has, how they are configured, and what vulnerabilities might exist. ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2017 /

By K. Daniel Glover and Matt Ash, FAA Office of Communications



“This is about sharing information because what might be happening in one sector could be applicable and help us.” Melanie Boteler, Chief Information Security Officer, FAA

While the FAA has not yet introduced this automated approach to cybersecurity risk management into the operational environment of the NAS, Boteler said the agency has worked with DHS to integrate the capabilities into other FAA systems. “We’re at the top of the agencies that are receiving these capabilities,” she said. On another front, the FAA is working with the DHS, DoD, and FBI to assess potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities of aircraft and aircraft systems. The FAA Aircraft Systems Information Security/Protection Working Group recently made recommendations to the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee about potential rules to address such threats. The FAA also is part of the Cybersecurity Forum for Independent and

Executive Branch Regulators, a venue for government officials to exchange information, discuss challenges, and share ideas. And on the global stage, the FAA helped prepare a white paper on aviation cybersecurity for the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Triennial Assembly. Each sector of critical US infrastructure has an Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and the FAA actively participates in the Aviation ISAC (A-ISAC). Currently led by GE, the A-ISAC is an important forum for engagement in the private sector. Boteler noted, for example, that the agency shared its results and takeaways from the Cyber Guard exercises through the A-ISAC. “The key to all of this is the continued dialogue,” she said. “There are a number of different security specialists who we engage

with routinely. This is about sharing information because what might be happening in one sector could be applicable and help us.” As part of its work to strengthen the agency’s network defenses, the FAA’s cybersecurity team also has an internal mission – ensuring that FAA employees and contractors know how to protect the information on the networks they use, including email and phone systems, which are often targeted. Because cyber criminals seek out potential weaknesses in systems, employees are the front line of cybersecurity, Boteler said. The FAA’s cybersecurity work now includes the Cyber Test Facility (CTF) at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., which opened in December 2015 to help the FAA test NAS components in a lab environment. According to Boteler, CTF “allows us to now make data-driven decisions about capabilities that can or cannot be introduced within our operational systems, to be able to test not just our existing, but our future systems. It was really a groundbreaking activity for the FAA.”

FAA Acting Deputy Administrator and Chief NextGen Officer Victoria Wassmer joins members of the FAA Cybersecurity Steering Committee, including from left to right: Josh Holtzman (Security and Hazardous Materials Safety), Natesh Manikoth, Melanie Boteler (Office of Information and Technology), Wassmer, and Richard Morgan from the Air Traffic Organization. Members Dorenda Baker (Aviation Safety) and Andrew Orndorff (Department of Transportation) are not pictured.


ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2017




IT control that towers above the rest

From the ANSP to the controller to the technician, everyone’s better off with KVM. For the service provider, KVM adds flexibility to IT infrastructure. It enables emergency workarounds, improves workflows, adds reliability to redundancy concepts and provides continuous, uninterrupted IT availability. ATCOs enjoy a computer-free environment. Moving the computers to a central location creates less noise, less heat and more space to create better working conditions in the control room. And the system’s more reliable too!

With KVM, technicians can access several systems from a range of locations - not just their workplace. Administration is made easier and maintenance too: the computers are stored centrally so no more crawling under desks. There’s also more time for maintenance because ATCOs can be simply switched to a back-up system whenever it’s required. For optimum IT system control, improved working conditions and increased system safety, there’s only one all-round answer – KVM from G&D.

A Moment in Aviation History On January 6, 1994 …

DOT, FAA, and the Council of Economic Advisors hold a press conference to unveil the Clinton Administration’s plan to revitalize the aviation industry. The plan entailed action on most recommendations of the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry. Included were efforts to move ahead with conversion of FAA’s air traffic control function to a government corporation. Other elements of the plan aimed at bankruptcy reform, increased foreign investment in U.S. carriers (contingent on reciprocal opportunities), encouragement of new entrant carriers, heightened scrutiny of airline financial fitness, and promotion of employee ownership of airlines.

IrbisPhoto /

– FAA Historical Chronology

Officers and Board of Directors Chairman, Charles Keegan Chair-Elect, Cynthia Castillo President & CEO, Peter F. Dumont East Area Director, Susan Chodakewitz Pacific Area, Asia, Australia Director, Peter Fiegehen South Central Area Director, William Cotton Northeast Area Director, Mike Ball Southeast Area Director, Jack McAuley North Central Area Director, Bill Ellis West Area Director and Secretary, Chip Meserole Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico Area Director, Rudy Kellar Europe, Africa, Middle East Area Director, Jonathan Astill Director-at-Large, Rick Day Director-at-Large, Vinny Capezzuto Director-at-Large, Michael Headley Director-at-Large, Fran Hill

Staff Marion Brophy, Communications Specialist Ken Carlisle, Director, Meetings and Expositions Theresa Clair, Associate Director, Meetings and Expositions Glenn Cudaback, Manager, Digital Media and Marketing Abigail Glenn-Chase, Director, Communications Ashley Haskins, Office Manager Kristen Knott, Writer and Editor Christine Oster, Chief Financial Officer Paul Planzer, Manager, ATC Programs Rugger Smith, International Development Liaison Sandra Strickland, Events and Exhibits Coordinator Tim Wagner, Manager, Membership