AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS TEST FACILITY AND AVIONICS SYSTEM TEST (ACTFAST): GEARING UP FOR NEXT GENERATION AVIONICS SYSTEMS TESTING
AffiliationAir Force Flight Test Center
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AbstractGrowth in civil aviation is overwhelming worldwide airspace and air traffic services. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) are proposing or implementing numerous changes to address this growth. The changes are broadly contained in what the civil aviation community calls Communication, Navigation, and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) and the DoD calls Global Air Traffic Management (GATM). A major component of both civil and DoD proposed changes are data link systems digitally transmitting information between aircraft, air traffic control centers, and aircraft operations centers. The real-time interactive nature of these data-link systems and the integration of the aircraft avionics into a worldwide network are forcing aircraft test agencies to acquire access to this capability. Aircraft flighttesting must address both the specific aircraft avionics test requirements and the system-of-systems aspects of data-link applications. This paper describes the factors driving changes in the worldwide CNS/ATM system and identifies specific proposed or implemented changes. Various flight-test requirements, both civil and military, of the proposed changes are enumerated. Particular attention is paid to the DoDs GATM certification requirements. Finally, we present the Air Traffic Control Communications Test Facility and Avionics System Test (ACTFAST) program and explain its capabilities. Rationale for ACTFAST component parts is included along with a brief outline of how the capabilities represented by each component part are used during flight test to acquire the necessary information to meet civil and DoD aircraft certification requirements.
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