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Bill Shea - Articles and news items

Keeping up with growth

Airport Extra  •  13 August 2013  •  Bill Shea, Aviation Expert

Airports need to be creative, flexible and innovative if they are to keep up with expected growth, says aviation expert Bill Shea...

The evolution of ATC

Issue 5 2012  •  3 October 2012  •  Bill Shea, former FAA Associate Administrator

From the simple, yet antiquated Air Traffic Control system of the 1930s to today’s new multi-billion dollar NEXT GEN satellite programme which is currently being developed, the progress of worldwide ATC has been pushing forward at an astonishing rate.Over the years, the world’s ATC systems have experienced dramatic success. As a pilot, I’ve observed and flown this great ATC programme. Credit should be given to national governments, research personnel, engineers, equipment manufacturers, airports, airlines, navigation experts as well as private and government ATC entities. But perhaps, most importantly, credit should be given to the pilots and controllers who are so dedicated to making the system work safely and efficiently.I recall, vividly, flying the old low frequency airways and airport approaches with the old Automation Direction Finding Equipment (AFD). After this came the Visual Omni Range (VOR), and Instrument Landing System (ILS) and the Ground Control Approach (GCA), where the controller handled both approach azimuths and verbally directed pilots to a safe landing.

Predicting the future

Issue 1 2012  •  7 February 2012  •  Bill Shea, Former FAA Associate Administrator

World aviation growth for 2012 will exceed present forecasts! Aviation is on a roll in the US. We have lift off! At last, the US Federal Government, the aviation industry and aviation interest groups are pulling together to build a more efficient national and international airspace system.Of course, where the rubber hits the road, the airport runways, are paramount to success of any global air transport system. The new Next Generation (Nex Gen) Air Traffic Control system will help immeasurably in improving efficiency and capacity. And dramatic new improved weather reporting should be available in the future at all international airports. It is my opinion that the US Federal Aviation Administration Airports Office has done a great job and I am sure that the ‘stellar cadre’ of FAA Airport Experts will ensure success in these future endeavours.

Absorbing the skies

Issue 5 2011  •  5 October 2011  •  William Shea, Former FAA Associate Administrator

World wide travel continues to grow and continues to exceed all growth forecasts. To accommodate this upturn it is essential for the expansion of new airports. This fact is magnified somewhat in America where before long we will see one billion passengers departing from U.S. airports.China, as a contrast, may be building 20 new airports with an operating time frame of two years or less. This trend will also continue in emerging markets such as Asia, South America and Africa, however the challenge for global airports remains the same; to increase the capacity and to avoid gridlock and congestion.The fact is that nations have to build new airports. Within North America and Europe a few airports will be built but will construction of these airports be enough to meet the global air travel demand. But the questions remains; where can new airports be built? Converted exmilitary/ civil airports, offshore or adjacent to shore airports are all possibilities. Many nations however, also have strict environmental restraints in building new facilities that can delay the consent and construction of a new facility. It is obvious that balance is needed.


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