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Wed, Mar 30, 2005

FAA Moves Forward On Alaska's Capstone Program

Delivery Already Underway

Sensis Corporation says the FAA has awarded a contract for a Remote Control and Monitoring System (RCMS) on the Capstone Program's Ground-Based Transceivers (GBTs). 

In fact, Sensis says it's completed delivery of the initial production lot of the Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) GBTs for the Program. Capstone is a joint industry and FAA effort to accelerate improvements to aviation safety and efficiency by introducing cost effective avionics technology and ground infrastructure. Before the program got underway, Alaska's small aircraft experienced five times the national average number of accidents. The state has a mountainous terrain and many cities and towns, including the capital Juneau, that are accessible only by aircraft and ship. Sensis ADS-B GBTs will be used to help reduce small aircraft accidents with
improved situational awareness for pilots and air traffic controllers.

Sensis RCMS consists of two components: a Central Control and Monitoring Server (CCMS) and a Local Control and Monitoring Software (LCMS).  The CCMS allows system specialists at the FAA's Air Route Traffic Control Center in Anchorage to monitor, maintain and certify Sensis' ADS-B GBTs without sending field technicians to the transceiver locations.  The remote capabilities of the CCMS include reconfiguring the GBTs, adjusting power output and operating in test mode.  The LCMS is used by field technicians when site visits are necessary, enabling them to reconfigure the ADS-B GBTs and to address any issues identified by the CCMS via their laptop PCs.

"Because of Alaska's rugged terrain, the current process for maintaining a transceiver is expensive, time consuming and potentially dangerous," said Marc Viggiano, president of Sensis' Air Traffic Systems Division.  "Many GBT locations are so remote that a five day supply of food is stored at the site and field technicians are dropped off by plane as near to the GBT location as possible.  Additionally, they are equipped with a firearm for personal protection.  With the ability to remotely monitor and configure the GBTs provided by the Sensis RCMS, the physical location of the ADS-B GBTs becomes much less of a factor."

Sensis has delivered a total of 78 UAT ADS-B GBTs to the Capstone Program and the FAA's Safe Flight 21 Program.  Safe Flight 21 is a joint FAA and industry cooperative effort in the lower 48 states to explore the use of ADS-B and other related enabling technologies for improving the safety, efficiency and capacity of the National Airspace System. 

The ADS-B GBTs support aircraft position determination, as well as broadcast services for cockpit display of aircraft traffic graphical weather maps and textual aeronautical data in full compliance with the RTCA Minimum Operational Performance Standards. "In Alaska, which has an economy dependent on aviation, air traffic controllers must contend with a challenging airspace, including frequent low ceilings and limited radar coverage," said Mr. Viggiano.  "Sensis' ADS-B GBT technology, coupled with advanced avionics, provides a safer airspace by providing accurate surveillance coverage in non-radar airspace."

FMI: www.sensis.com

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