Segment 2 Of 2 Previous Hearing Segment(1)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 COST OVERRUNS AND DELAYS IN THE FAA'S WIDE AREA AUGMENTATION SYSTEM (WAAS) AND RELATED RADIO SPECTRUM ISSUES
Thursday, June 29, 2000
House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Honorable John J. Duncan, Jr. [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. DUNCAN. I would like to go ahead and call the hearing to order and welcome everyone to this hearing this morning. The staff tells me that this is the 35th hearing we have held in the past year and a half, and we continue on a very active schedule.
Today's hearing will focus on cost overruns and delays in the FAA's Wide Area Augmentation System and on other issues affecting aviation radio navigation. This hearing is the subcommittee's third hearing on this subject matter since I became chairman because I have been concerned with this WAAS Program since its inception in 1994.
The FAA's air traffic control modernization program has a history of cost overruns, delays, and failures. The poster child for the FAA failure is the Advanced Automation System, or AAS. This program was devised in the mid-1980s to replace the computer hardware and software used by controllers.
After several meetings and hearings where the FAA admitted that the program had slipped but insisted it was getting back on track, the FAA finally canceled the program in 1994 at a loss to the taxpayers that has been conservatively estimated at $1.5 billion. Unfortunately, WAAS is following a similar pattern: great promise, solicitous promises that it is back on track, then more cost overruns and delays. Some have said that the WAAS acronym stands for ''Worse Than AAS''.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 At our first hearing in 1995, the FAA believed WAAS would cost just over $600 million. The FAA testified that, ''In 1998, as of January 1998, which is our planned date for this system to go operational, what we call initial operational capability, the full system will be working.'' Despite its assurances to this Subcommittee that the WAAS Program was on track, the FAA terminated its contract with Wilcox Electronics less than 5 months after that hearing.
Our second hearing, held in October of 1997, took place after Hughes Aircraft assumed responsibility of the WAAS contract. Estimated program costs had escalated at that time 59 percent to $958 million, and the contract was 15 months behind schedule. The FAA revised its forecast for delivering WAAS and said at that time, ''Phase one, which provides us an initial operating capability, will be delivered in April 1999.''
In January of 1999, the FAA revised its schedule once again announcing in a press release, ''The original July 1999 commissioning date for phase one of WAAS has been rescheduled to September 2000.''
Today, we are still waiting for the FAA to complete the first phase of the WAAS Program. Estimates for the total life cycle costs of WAAS have ballooned to almost $3.7 billion. Problems with the system integrity have pushed back the initial operation of WAAS at least another 2 years and forced the FAA to lower its expectations for precision approach capabilities.
I think everyone is extremely disappointed in the FAA's management of this program. I used to be concerned that this program would become a $1 billion boondoggle. Now it looks like WAAS is well on its way to becoming a $4 billion boondoggle.
The Congress gave the FAA the authority to set up its own procurement system. So far we have seen little evidence that the FAA has put this flexibility to good use, particularly in relation to this project. I also have serious doubts about the ability of Raytheon to deliver on its contract. WAAS, as it currently stands, is not certifiable. If Raytheon cannot deliver a viable system, then the FAA must find a contractor that can.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I know this is a technical subject which does not have some of the glamour of some of our other hearings, but I still think this is a very, very important hearing and certainly a subject that we need to stay on top of.
I appreciate the witnesses being here today. I hope that we can all come together to make sure that this program gets back on track.
With that, I yield to my distinguished ranking member, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to welcome all the witnesses here today, the ones on this panel and the ones on the next panel. I want to thank them for being here. I look forward to their testimony.
Mr. Chairman, I think you have covered everything extremely well in your opening statement, so I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. PEASE. I have no opening statement, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. We shall proceed, then, with the first panel. The first panel will consist of Mr. Gerald Dillingham, Associate Director, Transportation Issues of the Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division of the United States General Accounting Office; Mr. Steven Zaidman, Associate Administrator for Research and Acquisitions of the Federal Aviation Administration; Mr. Frank Marchilena, Senior Vice President and President of Command, Control, Communication, and Information Systems for Raytheon Company; Mr. Ken Mead, Inspector General, United States Department of Transportation; and Dr. Per Enge from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University.
We will proceed as usual with the witnesses the way they are listed in the call of the hearing. Mr. Dillingham, that means you will go first.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 TESTIMONY OF GERALD L. DILLINGHAM, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, TRANSPORTATION ISSUES, RESOURCES, COMMUNITY, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION, UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE; STEVEN ZAIDMAN, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR RESEARCH AND ACQUISITIONS, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION; FRANK MARCHILENA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT OF COMMAND, CONTROL, COMMUNICATION, AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS, RAYTHEON COMPANY; KEN MEAD, INSPECTOR GENERAL, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION; AND DR. PER ENGE, PROFESSOR DEPARTMENT OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS, STANFORD UNIVERSITY.
Mr. DILLINGHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Lipinski, and Mr. Pease. The GAO has appeared before this subcommittee and other committees of the Congress many times to report on the status of FAA's air traffic control modernization program. More often than not, our message has been that the various programs are behind schedule, over budget, and not meeting performance expectations. Our message this morning is that the Wide Area Augmentation System is behind schedule, over budget, and there are some serious questions about the system's capabilities.
This morning I would like to share with the subcommittee the GAO's perspective on two aspects of the WAAS Program. First, what happened to the WAAS program that contributed to its current status? And second, our assessment of FAA's efforts to mitigate future delays and cost growth in the program.
With regard to current status, the bottom line is that from very early on FAA has underestimated the complexity of developing WAAS, which in turn has led to cost increases and schedule delays. In 1994, FAA told the Congress it would cost $508 million to develop WAAS and promised to begin implementing the system by 1997. As of the year 2000, the cost of developing WAAS has increased over $500 million, program implementation has been delayed for over 3 years, and the program is experiencing performance problems.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In terms of the schedule, FAA initially estimated a 28-month period as its time frame for implementing WAAS. We questioned the doability of this schedule in a 1995 report to the Congress. We pointed out that software development was expected to take 24 to 28 months. This would leave little, if any, time for system acceptance and commissioning.
We also questioned the wisdom of FAA's agreeing to a system design and setting milestones for system deployment before completing the necessary research and development. As we have reported for other modernization projects, when FAA tries to combine different phases of system development in an effort to more quickly implement systems, it repeatedly experiences major performance shortfalls, which leads to delays and additional costs.
FAA's aggressive schedule was fractured when the agency ran into problems in developing the WAAS design. These problems in turn led to the need for more software development. FAA estimates that for WAAS to meet its full capabilities, the contractor still needs to develop at least 370,000 lines of code on top of the 350,000 lines of code already under development.
Given that software development has been the ''Achilles Heel'' of FAA's efforts to deliver systems on time and within budget and the complexity of the remaining development efforts, we believe that the program may well continue to experience some cost growth and schedule delays.
With regard to performance, initially WAAS was advertised as a sole means of navigation, eventually phasing out the old ground-based system. That concept has since been changed to a primary means of navigation with about 30 percent of the ground-based systems being maintained. Maintaining this portion of the ground-based system has the effect of decreasing the cost-benefit ratio for the WAAS system.
At this time, the most important performance issue is the difficulty FAA is experiencing in meeting the system's key integrity requirements, that is where WAAS would virtually never fail to warn the pilots of potentially hazardous, misleading information coming from the GPS satellites. The specification is one error in ten million approaches.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 FAA was made aware of the potential problem of meeting the integrity requirement in 1997. However, it was nearly 2 years later before the seriousness of the problem was recognized and a concerted effort began to address the problem.
The reasons given for the delay in addressing the integrity problem are many and varied, from ineffective communications among the integrated product team to inadequate oversight of the contractor. As a result of that, we estimate that the agency will not deliver on its initial promise for WAAS until 2003 and may incur additional costs between $200 million and $240 million. Even though FAA's analysis has shown that the quantified benefits of WAAS outweigh the costs, problems with the integrity requirement make this conclusion less certain.
To get the program back on track, FAA is taking a number of actions. It is abandoning its high-risk approach for combining different phases of system development. It is also planning to develop checkpoints at which it will reevaluate WAAS development before making additional investment. Third, FAA is working more collaboratively with the aviation community instead of making unilateral decisions about the WAAS design. Finally, to address the integrity problem, the agency is currently participating in a team effort with its contractors to recommend solutions by the end of 2000.
We would characterize FAA's efforts as necessary but not sufficient. In the past, FAA has undertaken initiatives without paying enough attention to the factors that would be critical to achieving the desired results, such as an implementation plan to monitor progress. We see a potential for repetition of this pattern.
For example, FAA talks about establishing checkpoints to monitor progress. To date, FAA has not developed a detailed plan explaining when these checkpoints would occur, what they would accomplish, who would be responsible for overseeing them, and how progress would be measured. We believe such a detailed and comprehensive plan is critical.
Mr. Chairman, it is also the case that our past reviews of ATC acquisitions have found that FAA does not always inform the Congress in a timely fashion of the problems it is encountering before requesting additional funds. We believe it would be prudent to have a third party evaluate the agency's progress at these proposed checkpoints and include the results of this review and the agency's request for future funding.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And finally, the lack of adequate attention by FAA senior management to the functioning of the integrated product team appears to be a major reason this concept has not worked as intended for the WAAS Program. We believe that program success would only come about if senior management embraces and fully supports the integrated product team concept. Otherwise, not only WAAS but other programs will continue to experience similar cost, schedule, and performance problems.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Dr. Dillingham.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Thank you.
Chairman Duncan, Congressman Lipinski, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning to discuss the status of the Wide Area Augmentation System or WAAS. WAAS will work with the GPS system to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the satellite signal for aviation use. Once implemented, the WAAS Program will greatly improve aviation safety and will permit users of the aviation system to land at approximately 4,000 airports, 3,000 more than they do now with what is called precision approach.
We believe that satellite navigation is the vision of the future. The world-wide benefits of this type of navigation, especially in areas where ground-based systems are unavailable or minimal, will significantly increase safety. In fact, the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, recently completed the international standards for these navigation satellite systems.
Both Japan and Europe are also developing comparable systems that will ultimately provide a seamless, world-wide satellite-based navigation program from the Pacific, through Europe, and through the Americas because there is this general world-wide concern and priority on providing global, seamless satellite navigation with increased accuracy and therefore with increased safety.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 That having been said, I acknowledge that the program has suffered some unfortunate setbacks in recent months. I would like to take this opportunity to describe the problems we have encountered and what we are doing to mitigate and correct those problems.
If I can take just a few seconds, I do have a chart and I think you may have a paper in front of you describing what is I am talking about. The 10-second tour of this is that the WAAS provides several things: accuracy, availability of the signal to the pilot to navigate the aircraft, and something called integrity, which is safety monitoring. To do this, there are 25 reference stations on the ground represented by the circles. They continuously receive GPS satellite signals and make the appropriate corrections. Then it is sent over to a Wide Area Master Stationand there are two of those, one on each coastwhere the safety processing is done to make sure that the signal indeed is an accurate signal. That is up-linked to a communication satellite and then down to the pilot in the avionics.
That is basically what we are talking about. Some of the technical challenge is to assess a system that was not designed for this application originally by DOD and to do the integrity processing we need, and to do all that processing and get it to the cockpit within 6 seconds. That is a challenge and I think we underestimated that challenge, as Mr. Dillingham has said.
In April 1996, the FAA awarded a contract to Hughes to develop the WAAS. Subsequently, Raytheon Corporation purchased the portion of Hughes that was developing the WAAS. Last December, FAA and Raytheon began a 60-day WAAS stability test. Approximately half-way through the test, it was stopped due to several software problems.
In simple terms, the test established that the system was more accurate than the certification requirements. The requirements are that the aircraft know where it is on landing within 7.6 meters and the WAAS system had worked to within 2 to 3 meters, so two to three times as well as what we intended in terms of accuracy. But the integrity and safety of that signal could not be verified. When I talk about integrity, that is when the WAAS system says it is safe to land, the system really isn't safe and the WAAS does not know about it. That is the integrity issue we are talking about.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 So in order for this system to be placed in service, the FAA requirement says that the system has to work correctly no less frequently than one in every 10 million. We call it a ''seven nines reliability'' but what I am really saying is a one in a 10 million chance that this system is not picking up a potentially hazardous situation.
If you view it in terms of years, if an aircraft would make continuous approaches, that is one error undetected in 47.5 years of approaches. That is how stringent we need to build this system to ensure the safety of the flying public. So it is quite a challenge.
As a result of the problems that we have experienced in order to lower the technical risk of the integrity problem, FAA established a Wide Area Integrity Panel to provide us the technical expertise and the guidance we need. WIPP includes senior scientists and engineers from Stanford, Ohio University, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mitre, as well as FAA and Raytheon. The WIPP is designed to capture and integrate the best technical minds in the country on this problem.
Also, on June 16th the Administrator requested that the Institute for Defense Analyses, or IDA, facilitate an independent review board to review the findings and the progress FAA and Raytheon are making as well as the findings of the WIPP. So we have an independent review team and an outside team of experts we brought in. That is consistent with both the recommendations offered by GAOas you just heardand the Inspector General.
We are confident that we now have adequate technical oversight and input from the best in the business. We will continue to develop WAAS in consultation with our experts and users. And we have the advantage of their expertise in deciding the appropriate level of investment for the realistic deployment of this important technology.
However, the development of WAAS is only one element necessary for the use of GPS technology. In order for users to take advantage of the technology, new GPS procedures must be developed and charted for the airports. These are the approach plates that pilots normally need to rely on in making approaches and landings. To complete our transition to WAAS, we require over 4,000 new procedures be developed. FAA has thus developed over 2,800 procedures. So we are on track to be able to utilize this technology once we solve the integrity issue.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I believe the agency is proceeding appropriately, working with the right people and organizations, and making the necessary investments to achieve a new, better, and safer navigation system that will have world-wide impacts. It must be emphasizedand this is importantthat the entire development of WAAS has been done in the open with interested parties looking on and with no increase in basic requirements, unlike the original AAS system that you had mentioned, Mr. Chairman.
I know the committee is also interested in the issue of spectrum. It is true that the upgrades in FAA technology, and technology in general, have created a significantly increased demand for spectrum. As technology expands in all sectors of our community, spectrum becomes an increasingly scarce and valuable resources. Aviation spectrum, including the band used by GPS, is among the most desirable to the private sector since it is relatively pristine and clear of noise and interference. The spectrum is protected because it is required for aviation safety and safety obviously cannot be compromised.
As the aeronautical community ushers in a new era of communication, navigation, and surveillance servicessuch as WAASwe will continue to need access to the protected spectrum to accommodate growth. So it is important, Mr. Chairman, that we maintain vigilance in keeping our existing spectrum clear of interference for both present and future systems.
That concludes my prepared remarks and I will be happy to take any questions at the appropriate time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Zaidman.
Mr. MARCHILENA. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to address the subcommittee on Raytheon's work on the Wide Area Augmentation System. This program is the foundation of the aviation industry's modernization of the air traffic management systems.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Since the subcommittee held a hearing on the WAAS Program in 1997, considerable progress has been made. All the ground equipment for the phase one system is installed, software integration is complete, the first two satellites are in orbit, and Raytheon has been generating a complete WAAS signal on a near continuous basis since last December. The WAAS signal is twice as accurate as the contract required.
During the past 6 months, both FAA and NavCanada flight inspection aircraft have been flying the WAAS signal to category one precision approach minimums. The pilots report that the signal is better than the instrument landing systems currently in use.
In front of me is a Raytheon marine WAAS GPS receiver running in simulation mode. We would have had it receiving WAAS signals, but it was a little hard to get an antenna on the roof here. This year our GPS receivers will include WAAS capability. Other manufacturers are also developing WAAS receivers and by the end of the year, we expect WAAS signals to be the preferred source of navigation for a wide range of applications.
There has been considerable concern and confusion about the cost of the WAAS Program. When my predecessor testified before this committee almost 3 years ago, he projected a baseline budget for the phase one system of $220 million. As of the end of May, Raytheon has spent $267 million. As we speak, Raytheon is broadcasting a WAAS signal that we believe meets the requirements of the critical design review in 1997.
Within this $267 million, Raytheon has also addressed additional issues that have arisen since 1997. As I will detail in just a moment, new requirements and issues have been raised in the last 6 months that will require additional work prior to FAA commissioning. But we do not anticipate this being a significant increase in the context of the total program.
Mr. Chairman, today WAAS is working and working very well. This does not mean that the past few months have been without disappointment. While a wide range of users are taking advantage of the WAAS signal, FAA certification will take longer than anticipated. My written testimony outlines in more detail the causes for this delay, but let me summarize them.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 First, Raytheon took 2 months longer than expected to complete software integration and validation. I will not try to make excuses for this but simply note that this is a very complex system and exacting set of criteria.
Second, during testing in December, system stability was unacceptable and a list of corrective actions was developed. Over the past several months, Raytheon identified solutions to these problemsin some cases, problems with our system while in other situations the source was traced to Government-furnished equipment. Regardless of the cause, I am glad to report that on June 9th we began a 21-day test to demonstrate resolution of these issues. This test run should be completed tomorrow.
Third and most significant, while we can observe that the system is now performing very well, providing system integrity at all points and space at all times requires rigorous mathematical, statistical, and physical analysis. Proving the required level of integrity through observation alone would require nearly 50 years of data collection. Clearly, this is not acceptable. Instead, observation of the signal and collection of data over the next 2 years will be used to support analytical proof of the integrity required for FAA certification.
A group of experts has been formed to establish this road map for certification. The WIPP has been meeting almost monthly since February and is making very good progress.
If I may say a word in defense of the FAA, which has been criticized for its management of software-intensive programs, in the case of WAAS I would like to urge the committee not to lose sight of the fact that the Wide Area Augmentation System is the first time in the 45-year history of the FAA that a new navigation and landing technology is being commissioned for the entire national air space system. It will replace ILS and VOR technology that dates to the late 1940s and actually predates the formation of the FAA as we know it today.
WAAS is part of a world-wide movement toward satellite navigation. Japan and the European Union are developing their versions of the same technology. Chile has installed test bed equipment in anticipation of a South American WAAS system. This transition to satellite navigation is necessary if we are to avoid gridlock in the skies in the 21st century while also increasing safety.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 We must build our air traffic management system on the ability of aircraft to get off rigid airways and fly directly from airport to airport, then land at any runway with the increased safety of a precision approach. Numerous studies have shown that only WAAS can fulfill this requirement, which is why Raytheon is committed to its success.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my remarks. I would be pleased to answer your questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. MEAD. Mr. Chairman, in 1995 when you had your last hearing, the principal issue was whether WAAS would be the sole means of navigation for the FAA. You may recall that the sole means issue was the centerpiece of the debate back then. FAA believed that satellites would be the only navigation system the FAA would have. At that time, the FAA said that transitioning to satellites would save the agency millions annually. But after much debate, FAA finally and wisely recognized the need for a secondary system principally because of concerns about interference with the GPS signal.
But recently WAAS experienced a set of complex problems regarding the system's integrity that you have heard about. The integrity issue is important because it basically alerts the pilot when the WAAS signal can't be relied upon and should not be used, which is especially important in the final phases of flight on approach. FAA's analysis shows that WAAS safety processors failed to prevent hazardously misleading information from being broadcast on several occasions since last December.
Whether these technical problems can be fixed is not certain, by any stretch. But assuming these technical problems can be fixed, the system is certified, and users equipped with the necessary avionics, the benefits do appear significant. More flexible routes will be available for airspace users who don't already have advanced flight management systems. There will be some level of precision landing capability at airports that do not have it now. And finally, there would be a more accurate signal for other satellite-based technologies such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance that would prove useful for improving runway safety.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 As you have heard, FAA formed a panel of experts, the WIPP, to assist it in reviewing WAAS' technical problems. In response to our March recommendation, FAA also established an independent review board, which operates under the auspices of the Institute for Defense Analyses. These are steps in the right direction. The independent review board won't report back until January 2001. Speaking realistically, a clear picture of WAAS' performance, cost, and schedule won't be available until these groups have completed their work.
Related to the integrity issue is the question of how FAA is going to certify this system as safe for pilots to use. This will have cost and schedule implications. Decisions about how WAAS will be certified can't be made until these groups report back.
I would also like to say that it is premature to reach final judgment on this system. One reason is that satellite-based navigation involves cutting-edge technologies and it plays an important role in where the National Airspace System is headed. A second reason would be the potential safety benefits, especially on the hundreds of runways out there that do not have precision approach capability. And third, WAAS has international implications. The Europeans are moving forward with a system of their own. The United States has to be concerned about where it is going to stand, and our leadership role
Where do we go from here? There are several watch items: setting realistic schedules and cost estimates, contract management and oversight, and the contractor's technical expertise.
As for setting schedules and making cost estimates, FAA officials indicated that new cost and schedule baselines for WAAS could be developed by late September. Forget it. Given the reporting schedules for the two review groups, January is the earliest that baselines can be established.
As for the contract, we recommended in March that FAA make a downward adjustment in the contract burn ratewhich was then about $4 million a monthuntil technical problems are sorted through and solutions identified. It just didn't seem appropriate, under the circumstances, that business continue as usual. FAA agreed with our position but said that the reductions might be offset by additional efforts to resolve problems.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In getting ready for this hearing, we wanted to find out what the burn rate had been for April and May. I can't tell this Subcommitee what it is. We received different pieces of information about what exactly that burn rate is.
While parallel activities are continuing to identify solutions to pursue WAAS development, FAA has to be judicious about how it spends dollars on this contract. It is important to note that WAAS is a cost-plus contract, meaning that the U.S. Government absorbs most of the risk. We are recommending the contract undergo a cost incurred audit and a series of unannounced labor floor checks by the Defense Contract Audit Agency. We will work with FAA to structure those audits accordingly. FAA agrees with our recommendations.
A final watch item is the level of FAA and contractor expertise for refining safety algorithms and assessing the safety of WAAS components. FAA recognizes that neither it nor Raytheon has the necessary expertise in this area. Raytheon is working on making sure it has the necessary expertise and FAA clearly recognizes the need, as evidenced by the WIPP, which it formed.
This is going to become increasingly important as we proceed down the road to certification.
That concludes my statement.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Mead.
Dr. ENGE. Mr. Chairman and members, thank you for the opportunity to talk about wide area and the aeronautical radio spectrum.
I co-chair the WIPP that the FAA founded at the beginning of the year to look at the safety analysis of the Wide Area Augmentation System. It is a multi-disciplinary team with many new players and members brought to the problem.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Please understand that safety is an arduous and time-consuming endeavor. After all, we have to consider every potential threat and design a monitor to detect that threat. The analysis should have been begun earlier, but I am here to report that WIPP progress is satisfactory. I believe we will have the LNAV/VNAV design complete by July. I further recommend that the WIPP structure be a template for aiding the design of other complex, safety-critical systems.
The WIPP output will be reviewed by the independent review board that Mr. Mead has described. They will make sure that the integrity analysis for LNAV/VNAV is complete and correct and they will also make recommendations about how to go forward to precision approach. That is an enviable task, given that the number of alternatives are quite large.
In summary on the WIPP and IRB, the technical goals of the wide area augmentation system are in tact, an independent safety check is definitely possible, we can broadcast the alarm to LNAV/VNAV users within 6 seconds and improve accuracy from 10 meters down to 2 meters, and provide a template for sovereign control over the airspace. That will help with the desirability of GPS use internationally. Indeed, the international standards for such use are also very nearly complete.
I would like to spend the remainder of my time talking about the aeronautical radio spectrum. After all, radio frequency interference (RFI) threatens all use of GPS, not only the wide area system. The local area system and public safety uses on land and sea are vulnerable. After all, the local area system (LAAS) is there to guide airplanes on approach and landing. Airport surface operations are vulnerable, and RFI's particularly worrisome if the RFI source is on the aircraft. Not only is aviation at risk, but emergency 911 operations, police and ambulance operations using GPS are threatened by RFI.
RFI means the GPS is not sole means. To mitigate interference we must sustain some part of our terrestrial radionavigation structure and inertial sensors. However, such a backup system does not mean that we should relax with respect to spectrum vigilance. That is still required. We must protect the safety and efficiency benefits of GPS. We cannot back off on that at all.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 At a recent World Administrative Radio Council, the International Telecommunication Union angrily rejected a proposal that would have threatened our GPS. We must sustain the same kind of vigilance in this country.
The latest concern in this arena is the so-called ultra-wideband technology. Please understand, UWB is an important technology with many important applications not only to aviation but to society in general. UWB appears to be friendly to most other spectrum users. After all, it only radiates one-tenth of one-millionth of a watt. But please recall that the GPS received signal is only one-tenth of one-millionth of one-billionth of a watt. So GPS received power is one billion times weaker than the UWB transmission.
UWB has received a great deal of well-deserved attention and the FCC has released a notice for proposed rulemaking. They have, I believe, signalled the right kind of technical solution. UWB power in the GPS band should be less than what it is in other bands. I believe that is the right way to go forward.
However, I am concerned that the FCC has not allowed enough time to really do the full safety analysis of that UWB technology. UWB technology and spectrum issues must be treated with the same safety methodology that we use everywhere else, for example, on the WIPP. As we know, such analysis is time-consuming. RFI analysis is as arduous and as painstaking as any other safety analysis.
So my wishes, my requests, for you are to support the wide area system and the local area system for an LNAV/VNAV solution based on the WIPP deliberations and accepted international standards currently coming out of ICAO; to support precision approach based on IRB consideration of all the current options, including using the soon to become available second GPS civil frequency after it becomes available in 2003; and to encourage processes like the WIPP and the IRB for other complex, safety-critical systems. Such processes are time consuming, but they do go forward with certainty.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Please help us protect the aviation spectrum. Insist on enough time for the full safety analysis that ultra-wideband deserves. It is an important product and we need to make sure that it is fielded in a way that is friendly to aviation use.
Thank you for your time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Dr. Enge.
Mr. Marchilena, let me start by asking you this question. Mr. Mead says in his testimony, ''Our review of contract files shows that Raytheon has been reporting inaccurate cost and schedule data, thereby limiting EVM as a management tool. Raytheon's most recent EVM report we reviewedApril 2000does not reflect all work being done.''
What do you say about that? Why do you think Mr. Mead said that Raytheon is reporting inaccurate cost and schedule data?
Mr. MARCHILENA. I believe the issue really is that if you go back to the critical design review and the safety issues that were there, the baseline for our EVM report is based on what occurred before. It did not take into account the integrity issues that have now come up. So our EVM, our milestones, were based on what the system was envisioned to be at that time, not what we are looking at today. And again, we are not even prepared to put out milestones in an earned value system that is going to project what is going to happen as a result of the WIPP until we understand what the requirements are going to be.
Mr. DUNCAN. So what you are saying is that the FAA has been changing the requirements, the specifications, or what?
Mr. MARCHILENA. Up through November 1998, everything was exactly on schedule. Then, when we went into starting to look at the other tests, it was all taken into account. But the integrity issue is not accounted for in our system today.
[The information received follows:]
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The WAAS program plan included the algorithms and analyses appropriate for the state of knowledge at the time of program inception of how to ensure the integrity requirement of 10-7 was met. Recent technical progress has provided further insight into the electronic signal environment of GPS, which has led to the need for additional algorithms and analyses (being defined by the WIPP) to provided sufficient proof that this error rate has been achieved. This effort is over and above that included in the original plan.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Zaidman, you just heard Mr. Mead say that the burn rate was $4 million a month, but he couldn't even find figures or determine what was being spent on this program in April or May. Can you tell us what the rate of expenditures is for this program? And explain why Mr. Mead would not be able to find out that information.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. The Raytheon burn rate annually is $45 million over this past year. There has been variance on a month-to-month basis when you break it down, so it is not $3.8 million per month. That is just an average. In my estimate, Raytheon needs to improve the way they report on a timely basis the monthly expenditures.
We deal with large corporationsRaytheon included. This has been a problem for FAAand I believe broader than FAAto be able to get accurate accounting on a real-time basis. Normally there is a 2-to 3-month lag time before we get the monthly reporting data. And they do vary by month.
One of the other problems we see is the inability to retain qualified technical expertise. It is a buyer's market, it seems, in the technology and because people come and go at different levels, the burn rates really vary depending on how many people they have on staff. So there are two reasons: one is the delay in good accounting data back to FAA on a monthly basis and the second is the variability of the personnel resources the technology programs bring.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. DUNCAN. In a 1995 hearing, we were told by FAA that this system would be operational by January 1998. Now we hear Dr. Dillingham talk about moving things back to as far as 2003. Can you tell us what your assessment of this is and what kind of time table we are looking at now?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Back on the 1998 date, FAA made the decision to both develop and acquire a systemwe call it concurrent engineeringwhere we took a significant technical risk to develop the science while we had planned to implement the science. In hindsight, that was in error. That is the risk one takes when you desire as a national priority to develop a GPS augmentation capability. We took a risk to say that we wanted it sooner and therefore did the inventing while we were doing the acquiring. That is one of the reasons that date has slipped.
Mr. Chairman, I prefer to wait for the report of the WIPP as well as the IRB in January to tell us their findings to see if this technology indeed is achievable in the end state and what it will take to do that, as Mr. Mead said. Then FAA will be able to develop a reasonable and confident schedule with some integrity to it rather than me guessing on what I don't know.
Mr. DUNCAN. So even though we were told in 1995 that this would be operational in January of 1998, what has happened now is that you can't really give us a date at this time?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. I would hate to give this committee a date that we can sign up to because I would have less than full confidence in that date. But the time frames that Mr. Dillingham spoke to is about the time frames I would agree with. Although I would not make that official until we had the benefit of the independent review board.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Marchilena, we have a report that says WAAS is producing bad information once every 1,000 approaches. This is approximately 10,000 times more errors than what we are talking about on the goal we are shooting for. Why is that? Why has Raytheon missed the mark by such a wide margin?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. MARCHILENA. First of all, I am not familiar with that number and we will try to find out exactly what that is. But this is not system performance from a hardware-software point of view. There have been bugs that have been found and fixed. But now I believe you are intoif you have that kind of error rate--understanding the physics of being able to predict what is happening with GPS signals coming through the ionosphere.
[The information received follows:]
There have been three instances of WAAS producing bad information since December 1999. Each of these has been corrected through software. Although this is insufficient length of time to be statistically significant, this is roughly equivalent to once every 50,000 approaches (not 1,000). The requirement for less than one bad data transmission for every 10,000,000 approaches has not changed since program inception. However, the FAA and Raytheon understanding of the algorithms and proof to ensure that this error rate is achieved has expanded significantly as a result of recent technical progress in understanding the electronic signal environment of GPS.
I don't believe it is a hardware issue because at this point we have no major outstanding hardware-software issues that are causing us problems.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Zaidman, what do you think about Mr. Mead's recommendations that we need to have a cost incurred audit and unannounced labor checks and things of that nature? That sounds like the kinds of things that need to be done in programs where there are all kinds of fraud, ineptitude, or waste. What is your response to that?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. I think it is a good idea, as a matter of prudence, to know how the taxpayers' money is being spent. I think, however, that that is one part of the problem. I think the significant part is whether or not we have a good game plan, as a community broader than FAA and Raytheon, to see whether this technology is this feasible and when it can be put into application.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 So on one hand we have the audit of burn rate and expense. On the other hand, we have still an uncertain architecture of the program to deliver the safety performance that we need to. And both are related.
So I would argue and suggest that we really have a good handle from all our sourcesthe independent review board and integrity panelto where the GAO, the IG, the FAA, and this committee can say that this looks right, this is the architecture, and these are the problems, and then be able to convert that to a realistic cost and time frame.
I think also Mr. Mead was suggestingand I would agree with thisthat the current data that we are getting from Raytheon is somewhat inconsistent on a month-to-month basis and there needs to be a firming up in the reporting and auditing of that data.
Mr. DUNCAN. I may have some more questions depending on what other members ask, but I have gone too far over my time, so we will go now to Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. LIPINSKI. Certainly, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I would just like to make an announcement for our colleagues.
The President within the next half hour is going to announce a new Secretary of Commerce, our former chairman and former colleague, whose portrait hangs on the wall behind me, Norm Mineta. I just thought I would like to make that announcement right here, ahead of the President.
Mr. DUNCAN. That's a very good choice. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. LIPINSKI. I concur. That is an excellent choice.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Now back to the business at hand.
Mr. Dillingham, you mentioned that there should be a third-party review board in your testimony.
Mr. DILLINGHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. LIPINSKI. But don't we already have two third parties reviewing the situation?
Mr. DILLINGHAM. Yes, sir. What I meant by my comment is that the independent panel, rather than the WIPP panel, as a part of their responsibilities could serve as a check. The addition that we are talking about is letting the Congress know exactly what is going on, that the independent panel would in fact, submit that information to FAA and the Congress as well when FAA comes back and asks for additional funds for the WAAS Program. We aren't suggesting yet still another panel. We think one of the panelsnot the WIPP because the WIPP involves the contractors and the FAAbut the independent panel can serve the purpose of dealing with the checkpoints that FAA proposes to set up to monitor the program.
Mr. LIPINSKI. So you would simply give additional duties to this particular panel rather than create a third panel?
Mr. DILLINGHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Mead, you talked about the Europeans pursuing this system also, or a similar system. What kind of problems are they having? Do you have any idea? How far along are they?
Mr. MEAD. Last time I examined that issue, the Europeans were discussing this very actively. They are not in production, so to speak. It seems to me that the driving factors behind a European system go beyond just an issue of not relying on the United States' GPS and wanting a system of their own. I think it is a technology issue. I think the Europeans see this as greatly improving Europeans' ability to compete on the technology front and be on the cutting edge.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The Europeans also expressed reservations about relying on what is essentially a United States military-based system. I would point out in our discussions that the United States seems further along in harnessing satellite navigation for civil aviation. Why would they want to make this additional investment? They seem willing to, notwithstanding.
I believe that one issue down the road we will faceas people are wondering if there is anything else we don't know yet--is how the United States system will interface with a European system. This subcommittee should watch this closely.
Mr. LIPINSKI. It seems to me that they are also taking extremely aggressive independent positions in regards to Airbus and the Hushkit situation and the certification of American-manufactured aircraft in Europe, too, at the present time. To me, it is just another one of theirI don't know exactly how to characterize it because I don't want to be inflammatorybut they are taking a very aggressive posture in regards to the development of world-wide aviation. I will let it go at that.
You stated in your testimony about some of the technical problems that still exist with WAAS. You question whether or not some of these technical problems really can be overcome. I just wanted to make sure that is what I heard and that is what you said because that is very concerning to me if you have that feeling that we may not be able to overcome some of the technical problems.
And as an add-on to that, do you think that the technical problems that you are sure that we can overcome would be sufficient, even at that level, to continue on with the system, even if we can't get to the point where we originally intended to be if it was implemented perfectly?
Mr. MEAD. Mr. Lipinski, that's a very good question. I don't know how to answer that question. That is why Administrator Garvey formed this WIPP and why they have gone to the Institute for Defense Analyses. These are very complicated questions and issues.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 As Mr. Zaidman was pointing out, one in ten million landings is an enormously exacting standard that thousands of aircraft are going to rely on. As noted earlier, the difficulty lies right now with the integrity issue. It is not the accuracy of the WAAS signal. The accuracy of the WAAS signal is extraordinary. The issue is letting the pilot know when the WAAS signal is not accurate, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, over the entire United States. This incredibly challenging.
I am optimistic but I am going to defer to these panels and experts.
Mr. LIPINSKI. I am going to ask the doctor right now to comment on the question that I asked to Mr. Mead.
Dr. ENGE. Thank you, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. Mead certainly puts it well. It is a very demanding requirement.
The strategy that we have used is now to break the program into two pieces. One is for the aircraft when it comes down to 350 feet or so. We call that the LNAV/VNAV operation. It still brings most of the advantages of vertical guidance to the community, it obviates non-precision approach and therefore reduces controlled flight into terrain. So that is for the aircraft at 350 feet. In that operation, we must guarantee that the signal is always accurate to within 50 meters.
As the aircraft continues on down to 200 feet, the requirement becomes even more demanding. Now we must guarantee that the error for the aircraft is never larger than 10 meters. And I don't mean nominally, I mean essentially never, ten to the negative seven.
I feel the LNAV/VNAV solution is well in hand. Please appreciate the difference between the 50 meters and the 10 meters error bound. That is a five to one increase in the difficulty.
The precision approach solution is at this point still more open. Can we do that with the WAAS architecture by filling in more reference stations and so forth? I don't know. Can we do it in the fullness of time? Absolutely, but we might have to pull in other powerful architectural elementsthe new GPS signals, the local area system, and so forth. I am confident we can do it. Is the WAAS the right way to do it for all the way down to precision approach? I am not sure. I am rather confident that the solution for LNAV/VNAV will be in hand even by the end of summer.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. MEAD. And it is important to recognize that the biggest benefit component of the WAAS package, the safety benefit, focusing on providing a precision landing capability at hundreds of airfields throughout the United States that do not have it at the present time.
Mr. LIPINSKI. I hope to have a second round, but Mr. Chairman, I am over my time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I have to say, thinking back over my time in this committee, I find it extremely frustrating that we seem to go through this cycle time and again. I have been here six and a half years. One of the very first hearings I had was a hearing about why the FAA had messed up on a particular development of electronics equipment. It seems that at least once a year we have a hearing of that sort that they simply have not handled properly. I think it is high time to try to identify what this systemic problem is in the FAA that leads to this.
I am not throwing arrows at any of the individuals at the table, it just seems to happen again and again and again and again. I know these are incredibly complex problems. I am a scientist and I have a good feel for the difficulties they are encountering. But when you know it is that difficult going in, you make the plans accordingly and you make sure that you meet your goals.
I think there is something intrinsic in the structure of the FAA or the approach that leads to this difficulty and that is something this committee should try to dig up.
Having said that, I just want to ask a few specific questions to get a little better handle on it.
One, there has been some referenceI think Mr. Zaidman testified that he had been at an international conference and everyone is working on this problem together, et ceteraand others have said that the Europeans are going one way and we have to make sure the systems are compatible.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 What really is the situation? Are we trying to develop a world-wide system that all nations are buying into and everyone will use precisely the same standards and the same approaches, or are we not?
Dr. Enge, I think you are supposed to have the broad view. What is your answer?
Dr. ENGE. Your question is very timely. I just returned from the most recent meeting of the ICAO in Seattle. At that meeting we completed the SARPs, Standards and Recommended Procedures, for what in international parlance is the satellite-based augmentation system. That includes our WAAS, the European system EGNOS, and the Japanese system MSAS. Those SARPs specify a single, unified standard for the message to be delivered to aircraft world-wide.
Mr. EHLERS. Is every nation or group of nations trying to reach that independently? Are they developing their own electronic equipment? That would be an incredibly expensive approach.
Dr. ENGE. Certainly manufacturers world-wide will build to that standard, but that equipment built in France or the United States will be able to fly anywhere world-wide. So you won't have to buy French equipment to fly in France.
Mr. EHLERS. But each country or each manufacturer is developing his or her own equipment to meet those standards?
Dr. ENGE. That is correct.
Mr. EHLERS. Which may not be the optimum way of doing it because standards will change as time goes on and anyone whose equipment can't meet the higher standards is going to object strenuously to changing that standard. Is that correct?
Dr. ENGE. That is true.
Mr. EHLERS. Let me get into the example that was givenI don't know if it is Mr. Mead or Mr. Engeabout the accuracy needed.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Is that accuracy needed to locate the airplane vertically, horizontally, or both? You mentioned the 350-foot level, the 200-foot level, et cetera. Where is the accuracy needed?
Dr. ENGE. Vertical is most critical and difficult.
Mr. EHLERS. Most airplanes nowperhaps not all generation airplanesI think all commercial airlines have radar that measures their altitude quite accurately. Generally, every airplane has a number of different systems that give the pilot an opportunity to check and verify that they are all working together. If they aren't, there is something wrong and he immediately knows something is wrong.
Why do we need such incredible precision when, for example, they have the ground radar, which gives them their actual ground altitude very accurately?
Does anyone care to answer that?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Thank you.
WAAS and LAAS, the local part of WAAS, is designed to serve the whole user community. I think some of the high-end air carriers currently have avionics to do instrument landings right now. Over time I am convinced that one day it will be an autonomous capability using equipment wholly within the aircraft to do that. Very expensive, very hard and difficult to certify and maintain.
However, we have 200,000 general aviation aircraft in this country that generally fly into fields that don't have this capability or cannot afford the sophisticated avionics required to make this advanced kind of landing system possible in the future, not to mention the commuters, the corporate and business jets, and some of the military aircraft.
So I think while there may be 2,000 or 3,000 high-end air craft that may not require a WAAS-like system in the future, the general preponderance of people who fly in all kinds of aircraft will require, in my estimation, an external source similar to WAAS to be able to give the vertical guidance that they need for both access to the airport as well as the safety that is required for it.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. EHLERS. I am not questioning the need for WAAS. I am just questioning whether one has to be that concerned about the precise location of the airplane because there are usually auxiliary equipment on board, even in general aviation.
Mr. DUNCAN. Will the gentleman yield? Dr. Ehlers, would you yield a moment?
Mr. EHLERS. Yes.
Mr. DUNCAN. I thought that was a very good question because I wondered about that in the briefing we had yesterday, whether we were going to unbelievable expense for an accuracy that maybe was just much, much more than we really needed.
You said that planes will require this. But the question is, Why? Why is it necessary to go to this level?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. I will answer in two parts.
Studies over time require that vertical navigation is needed in terms of it being five times safer when the pilot gets vertical navigation. Now the question is, How much is enough?
The international standards that were developed by aviators as well as engineers and scientists have determined the numbers that Dr. Enge had talked about down to 8 or 9 meters vertical accuracy as required in a worst case situation. You always design for the worst case. In this worst case situation, it is with a visibility of 200 feet or less. When you can't look out of the cockpit and you are relying on your instrumentation, that is the amount of give, if you will, in the system8 meters, 7 meters, of accuracy that is required virtually 100 percent of the time. And it is largely due to the inability of the pilot to see out the windshield because of bad weather.
Mr. EHLERS. If I may reclaim my time for one last question, I am trying to understand the ten to the minus seven figure that was given. You said that was the accuracy. What are you using that for? What are you specifying when you use that number? Is that the accuracy you are expecting on each approach? Or is that your failure rate? I didn't quite get that.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. ZAIDMAN. It's the failure rate of the system being accurate or out of specifications or loss of signal. It is the end to end system performance whereas the undetected failures to the pilot cannot exceed one in ten million. If something goes wrong in the system where the system is not putting out a signal within the specifications on accuracy or availability or time to alarma whole host of thingsthat cannot come out to fail more than one in ten to the seven.
Mr. EHLERS. Are you talking about this being a long-term failure in a particular flight? Or a 5-second failure?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. This sample in 150-second increments, but the time to alarm to the pilot has to be within 6 seconds when you are about to land. That time to alarm really varies depending on your phase of flight. But down to the landing portion of flight, it is within 6 seconds.
Mr. EHLERS. Mr. Marchilena, I think you wanted to add to that.
Mr. MARCHILENA. Yes.
It is not accuracy. The system is twice as accurate as it needs to be. The issue is being able to inform the pilot that the system is incorrect. That is what the integrity number is. It is not accuracy, it is not failure, it is being able to tell the pilot that the data he just received is incorrect. That is the one in ten to the seven.
Mr. EHLERS. Okay. That helps a great deal to understand it.
My next question is, If that happens once in ten to the seven, that is not a signal pilots are likely to recognize very rapidly because the average pilot is never going to hear it. What sort of warning do you give them.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. On the avionics, it is both an oral and visual alarm. So it is both. And whereupon the pilots have recurrent training, they are trained to execute a missed approach or land at an alternate airport.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. EHLERS. So while landing it basically means get out of here?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. It is essentially the same as today. A red flag comes up on your ILS indicator telling you that the signal has lost its integrity and you execute a missed approach.
Mr. EHLERS. I yield back. Thank you very much.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I compliment you and Mr. Lipinski on convening this hearing to review the status of WAAS. It is important for us to stay current on all the developments of the vast technology requirements of the FAA and the modernization of the system that has been underway for many years. WAAS, I think, is perhaps the most complex and in a way the more critical of the systems we have seen the FAA install back to the display system replacement, STARS technology, the voice switching and control system, the more advanced radars, ASR-9,-11, and others.
This particular technology is so vital it cannot be off by the magnitudes that the FAA allowed the industry to decline in the DSR. Instead of having seven nines of reliability, we are at five nines of reliability. We are doing the same with STARS, reducing the scope and the exacting requirements.
But in this technology, if we don't adhere to the seven nines of reliabilityor one in ten million, or one error in 47.5 years, or however you want to express itif they are off by that little factor, that means the plane overshoots the runway, or lands on a taxiway, or crashes before the pilot realizes he is coming in at the wrong altitude. That is what is at stake here.
WAAS is a critical piece of the air traffic control modernization plan. With a billion passengers expected in the next few years, we have to raise the efficiency and the standards of our national airspace system.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 This technology will allow precision approaches at 4,000 airports that don't have it now. And that will add capacity to our system. It will make general aviation and business aircraft aviation much safer, spread it to more airports, and relieve pressure on our existing major airports and hubs.
There are indirect safety benefits. It will improve position accuracy. Pilots can navigate their own flights more accurately. The NTSB has recommended FAA require aircraft be equipped with EGPW, enhanced ground proximity warning systems, and has done so to prevent controlled flight into terrain, CFIT. WAAS, with the wide area overlook instead of simple ground radar that spreads out over the surface of the terrain, will give much broader area, much greater accuracy, and much better navigational guidance.
It is easy to sit here and criticize the FAA. Well, maybe I should amend that statement. It is not so easy. We have done that for many years. GAO has taken FAA apart and put it back together and the subcommittee has done that time and again. It isn't easy in the sense that you have to spend a lot of time to analyze and really understand what the issues are. But on the one hand I say ''easy'' because we are not at stake. FAA is at stake. We sit here with 20/20 hindsight. So do many witnesses. When you are in the soup and managing these highly complex programs, it is a much different perspective.
For many years, this subcommittee pressed the FAA to terminate contracts, move on to a different one, take a contract away from someone who wasn't performing, and Administrator Hinson did that and told Wilcox they weren't on track to meet within the time frame and the dollar amounts the requirements of this contract, ten to the minus seventh power. They didn't meet it. Hughes didn't meet it. Raytheon overtook Hughes. Raytheon hasn't met it.
I have read all the statements last night and this morning. Raytheon signed on to a contract and to its specific technical requirements. Raytheon is not a naive, first-time entrant in Government contracting. They had problems with STARS. I have been up to their facilities. I have looked over what they are doing. They know how difficult it is to meet these requirements. They should not be saying that it is because there were changes in system design and analytical methodology.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 No, the fact is Wilcox didn't meet that requirement, Hughes didn't meet the requirement, and Raytheon hasn't met the requirement. If they had, FAA wouldn't have to be adapting and adjusting and doing a dance to help this company meet their requirements. The fundamental requirement is that this is a leap of technology into a vast new future for aviation and you have to get it right. It doesn't serve the cause to point fingers and say it is because they made us change.
This company, Raytheon, is good. There is no question about it. They shouldn't be sitting here, wringing their hands, and saying it was the FAA changing the requirement. They are in this together. In the distant past, you couldn't tell where FAA's culture left off and IBM's culture began and vice versa. FAA has learned to separate itself from the culture of the industry that is performing the contracts for them and get tough and insist on meeting requirements.
The only fault I would say is that FAAof course, there wasn't anybody else to turn to after you have gone through two other contractors and now you are with Raytheonbut stand firm. The fundamental issue here is, Do you meet that requirement?
What is at stake is replacement of over 1,000 VORs installed in the 1940s and 1950s, with an average age of 25 to 30 years, updated somewhat in the 1970s and 1980s. But this technology replaces what we will have to address in another couple of years replacing the DMEs and the VORs at a cost of $500 million. We can avoid that cost if we get it right with WAAS.
The future of the radio spectrum is also an issue and I will address that later. I just want to point out that there is a report by the Standish Group that says that the success in meeting software projects is only 16 percent for projects that are completed on time in the private sector. For larger companies, the news is even worse: 9 percent of their projects come in on time and on budget. Projects completed by the largest American companies have only 42 percent of the originally proposed features and functions; 78 percent of their software projects get deployed when they are done by smaller companies.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I just want to ask Mr. Mead one question, and Mr. Dillingham. Have you looked at this report of the Standish Group? And are you aware of these private sector problems in meeting the same standards and requirements the FAA is faced with? Are there lessons to be drawn for their contracting with software companies?
Mr. MEAD. The answer is yes, sir. While there are not perfect parallels between AAS and WAAS, FAA made some common mistakes. FAA does not get a good handle on the maturity of a technology.
WAAS is held out as a concrete deliverable. We know what we are going to deliver, here is how much it is going to cost, and how long it is going to takewhen in fact it is an R&D initiative to begin with. It is an invention and requires considerable development. It is something brand new. But in the environment that FAA is in, time and time again, the agency steps forward and says they will deliver a certain system in 2 years and it is going to cost $1 billion. Generally, There is intensive software development involved. Time and time again, the estimates and deliverables fall by the wayside and schedules have to be revised.
It is not that the idea or concept is fundamentally flawed. My point is that in many cases it is an R&D initiative. Private sector firms don't stand up and put an advertisement and say they will be done on X date and at Y cost when a lot of R&D needs to be done. Nor in fact does the Defense Department do this on a lot of its programs that are this complex and sophisticated.
Mr. OBERSTAR. But when you were at GAO, one of the constant themes you brought to this committee was that FAA does not have the capability to manage large, complex contracts of this nature. Thatin fact, as you just saidare essentially R&D projects that have to move to the application stage. Do you find that is still a problem?
Mr. MEAD. Not nearly as much of a problem. I think FAA has learned a lot of lessons.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 A big difference is that you will note that FAA is not here telling you that everything is going fine.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Dillingham, do you have an observation on that same point?
Mr. DILLINGHAM. Yes, sir, Mr. Oberstar.
As you said before, GAO has had numerous opportunities to look at FAA and one of the aspects of FAA that we looked at was its software acquisition capabilities. We did this a couple of years ago and found that FAA needed to enhance its capability to do acquire software. And to FAA's credit, it is in fact making progress toward that.
But clearly, what we have said in the testimony is that the ''Achilles Heel'' is this software acquisition. Along with what the IG just said, this idea of trying to do too much too soon is also a lesson that seems to not have been learned as well as it could have been based on past experience. We have recommended in the past that instead of trying to take the huge chunks that they break them down into smaller chunks and not over-promise.
The chairman spoke earlier this morning about the Congress giving FAA a new acquisition authority. We said, even when that was being given over to the FAA, that that was not the ''silver bullet'' or the answer, that in fact things we are seeing now needed to be addressed, too. That is oversight of contractors, that is breaking down the stovepipes and the culture of FAA where certain groups don't talk enough to each other, and also not underestimating the complexities of these cutting edge activities the agency has to engage in.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much.
I will have some further questions later on for Raytheon.
Mr. EHLERS. Will the gentleman yield for just one observation?
Mr. OBERSTAR. It is up to the chairman.
Mr. EHLERS. I appreciate the questions, and I earlier was a bit rough on the FAA saying we go through this every year. I do see improvement.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 But I just wanted to highlight one comment by Mr. Dillingham in his report which I think is very important, and that is that the FAA needs a more concrete implementation plan and the Congress needs progress reports in order to make good funding decisions. I would say that is absolutely essential: developing concrete implementation plans with the full knowledge of the complexity, realistic deadlines, realistic achievements, and letting us know constantly so we can make better decisions.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I think the gentleman is right, letting us know constantly and adjusting those, but not over-promising at the outset and having an appreciation for the complexity of the tasks that they are undertaking. That has been a constant theme of this committee and pressing the FAA and private sector contracts to do exactly that.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Oberstar.
I am told that Mr. Miller is next on our side.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have to associate myself with Mr. Ehlers' comments on the frustration. It reminds me of a story of a news lady who is interviewing a politician and every time she asks him a question he answers it with a question. She just becomes so frustrated she grabs him aside and says, ''Excuse me, how come every time I ask you a question you answer it with a question?'' He looks at her for a moment and smiles and say, ''Well, why shouldn't I?''
Mr. MILLER. I have been taking notes of what is being said here and it just amazes me. The one part I guess I have to sayone thing you said, Mr. Mead, that really made me suspect was when you said that the private sector doesn't undertake projects and give completion dates and have cost estimates before they start. Those companies you are talking about in the private sector who don't do that are bankrupt today. There is a big difference between the private sector and Government.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The things that were said, the data is somewhat inconsistent. I am paraphrasing what the panelists said. WAAS is extremely accurate, however, How do we let the pilots know when it is not accurate?
One of the panelists said that the system is twice as accurate as it needs to be. That's good because obviously it meets its mandate. The problem is, How do we let the pilot know when the information is not accurate?
I hear one thing on one hand and one thing on another hand. Then I hear the burn rate of $4 million per month. I would like to have that burn rate in my wallet.
Then, Mr. Mead, in your observation of the FAA satellite navigation system, in one section you say that first there has been a great deal of uncertainty over the years regarding how much WAAS will cost, when it will be delivered, and what benefit can be obtained. I am not being critical. That covers everything you could cover in a statement.
Second is that recently WAAS experienced complex hardware and software problems and concerns exist about the system's integrity. Another problem.
The next thing is that FAA's analysts show that WAAS' safety processors failed to prevent hazardous misleading information from being broadcast on several occasions since last December. I don't know who is responsible for that. Somebody has to be responsible for designing a system and having these kinds of problems.
Then you say that notwithstanding cost increases, delays, and uncertainty regarding benefits, you believe it is premature to make judgments about the future of WAAS, although there is a burn rate of $4 million per month.
This one is really good: that the potential benefit of WAAS appear to be significant if they can be achieved. That reminds me of a farmer who has a cow and hires somebody to milk him. The guy hooks the milking machine up in 1994 and milks that cow 24 hours a day to the year 2000. The farmer comes back and asks if there is any benefit in that, and the guy responds that the potential could be tremendous if it could be achieved. But you can only milk a cow so many hours a day. That is the problem.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 That is kind of a comical conclusion. I am not trying to be sarcastic, but I don't know how you can avoid it with what has been said here today. On the one hand, each of you has said one thing and then the qualifier to it has said quite the opposite every time. I wouldn't know where to begin my questioning, based on everything that has been said here today.
Another commentand Mr. Oberstar, I have tremendous respect for youbut the statement that we can make all the excuses in the world to continue a contract or to not continue a contract, and one of them is that everybody has failed, every contractor has failed, but in order to continue you would have to say not to worry about the cost, not to worry about the time frame, let's just don't worry.
I was in business in my real life before I became a congressman, a general contractor. I can see why people would love to do contracting with the Federal Government. This is great. You don't have to be good. You don't have to be timely. You don't have to keep the cost in line with projection. In fact, as with this one, we can go over 500 percent above what was estimated to be the cost factor.
That really bothers me. To sit in this hearing and say I am a politician and I am 500 percent over what the projections were supposed to be, understanding it is not my money, it is the taxpayers' money. Men and women are working real hard out there today paying taxes that they don't want to pay, in many cases, and I am looking at a system that is 500 percent over cost, and I don't have any idea when it is going to be done, and I don't have any idea what it is going to cost, but I do know that this system is twice as accurate as it needs to be, but we can't guarantee that it is even accurate?
Mr. Chairman, thank you for letting me talk, but I really can't think of any questions after that.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, I think those were very fine comments, Mr. Miller. I think you have expressed the views of many people.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mrs. Norton?
Mr. BASS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Unlike my colleague, Mr. Miller, I want to associate my remarks with Mr. Oberstar's.
I serve on the Intelligence Committee and we have to deal with research and development contracts constantly. It is a very large part of our responsibility. And what is going on here with this WAAS contract is quite familiar to me. I would only comment on Mr. Dillingham's comment that we may be trying to do too much too soon by observing that it may be better to try to do that than too little too late.
What we are talking about hereand I really don't want to repeat Mr. Oberstar's commentsis an entirely new navigation system that is based upon entirely different concepts. The very direction from which navigation signals are going to come is exactly the opposite. It has enormous potential. But a large portion of this contract is associated with research and development, and research and development isn't done until after you have paid out some money. And there is risk associated with this. This is exactly the kind of contract that was signed and we shouldn't be all that surprised. It would be nice if it was less costly, but very rarely have I seen that occur.
The only problem with the process is one that is typical to this and that is over-promising and underbidding, which happens all the time. And I don't really have a solution to it. We face it all the time in the intelligence area. But I really do think it is important to support the FAA rather than criticize them, to support Raytheon's efforts to meet the requirements of the system, to provide the kind of oversight and guidance that will result in not doing too little too late because we are trying to cut the budget and hold this agency to its promises, and meet somewhere in the middle.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Ultimately, we need the best system, we need the most accurate system, and we need to make sure we get it in a timely manner.
Those are this congressman's observations about the situation as I see it today. I don't condone cost overruns, but we should cope with them, deal with them, and try to make them work out.
And I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. EHLERS. Will the gentleman yield on that? I would just like to make one comment on that.
Mr. BASS. Certainly.
Mr. EHLERS. I agree with you, but the problem that disturbs me is the repetitive pattern of cost overruns, which indicates a problem within the agency. I agree that the job has to be done and if there is a cost overrun, we continue until we get the job done, but if it happens over and over again, I think there is an internal problem that has to be dealt with.
I yield back.
Mr. BASS. Thank you.
And if I could reclaim the time that I yielded back to the chairman, I agree with you, Mr. Ehlers. But if I were a representative of FAA, I wouldn't quite know how to deal with that because there are honestly some significant unknowns in this system. I give the example that everyone knows about and that is Star Wars.
There is a program that has been controversial, yet it still has to move forward. Nobody should have expected that everything would work out in a turnkey R&D contract exactly the way it was supposed to. Maybe the FAA and the contractor have to look at new methods to analyze where they are and where they are going.
I am not sure I know the contract situation well enough, but I really don't think it is useful for us to simply criticize the FAA and this contractor solely because they haven't met the expectations. It just plain not that simple.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I yield back to the Chair.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. ISAKSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am sorry I just arrived. When I have a question, I will submit them for the record. I have no questions now. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Oberstar, any other questions or comments?
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, if I may, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Marchilena, is the integrity requirement of ten to the minus seven an additional requirement, or one that was included in the original contract?
Mr. MARCHILENA. The integrity requirementback in 1997 when we went for our critical design review, we addressed all the safety issues. At that time, the understanding from the company point of viewsince we were given permission to go forward with the processis that we believed we understood all the safety issues. In all fairness, the FAA said they reserved the right to go back and review this.
Again, since this system has never been done before, there has been another look at it, and the answer has come in that we need to have integrity to ten to the minus seven and we need to have an analytical way of performing that.
Mr. OBERSTAR. But that was in the original contract, was it not, Mr. Zaidman?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. That is correct.
Mr. OBERSTAR. And that has never changed?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. That has never changed.
Mr. OBERSTAR. That is not an additional requirement?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. That is not an additional requirement.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. OBERSTAR. Has Raytheon met that requirement?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Not to date.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Marchilena?
Mr. MARCHILENA. Our contract specifies that we implement the requirements. We are unable to certify and say what the certification issue ought to be and how to certify it, how to gain integrity. What we will do is when we are told how to gain integritywhether it is new algorithmswe will go implement those algorithms. We don't believe it is part of our contract to determine certification. We are not a certifying agency.
Mr. OBERSTAR. That is very true.
But what I am trying to get at here is the fundamental problem, which is at the outset of this design of very large, complex, exacting systems, if Raytheon were a newcomer to the scene, mom-and-pop operation with great ideas about software and didn't meet the requirements of the contract, I would say that was too bad and these folks need a helping hand.
But Raytheon is a big organization and has handled major, massive, complex contracts and had problems with them. The FAA, under Mr. Hinson, took this very contract away from Wilcox because they weren't meeting the requirements and because the cost overruns were going to be too much for FAA to bear. And then awarded it to Hughes. Then Raytheon took over Hughes.
The complexity of this issue right from the very outset was known to all those who participated, including FAA. It ill-becomes anyone to come in at this stage and say, ''Oh, gosh, we didn't know how tough this was.''
Mr. Mead, do you have some observations about this progression of the problem?
Mr. MEAD. As with most tough issues, there are two sides, and maybe three on this one.
One of the points that FAA needs to work onand I think it is germane to what Raytheon is sayingis the certification process for WAAS. This is part of the way we are going to decide whether or not there is enough integrity with the new system. We don't know at this time. Raytheon doesn't know and FAA cannot say yet what Raytheon must do to satisfy the integrity and certification process. So once the standard is set, the rigor will focus on the process needed to meet WAAS performance requirements. FAA knows that and Raytheon knows that.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I don't know if I am being articulate enough in explaining that.
Mr. MARCHILENA. I would like to go back to 1997. We proposed what we were going to do in October of 1997.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Yes.
Mr. MARCHILENA. And this is how we would meet the integrity issue. It was accepted. Since then, people have looked at what they consider integrity and the way it was done and have come back with, ''That's not sufficient.''
We are not the certifying agency. We can't put out certification and determine what it is. We are told what to do when it comes to certifying. In 1997, it was accepted. We based our performance on that.
[The information received follows:]
Mr. OBERSTAR. My understanding of that problem is that the FAA looked at Raytheon's mathematical analysis and concluded that it did not prove one in ten to the minus seven power. And we are talking aboutas you said very properly in your testimonythat proving WAAS integrity through observation alone, through experiential practice, would require 50 years of data. I think everybody concurs in that.
Let me ask Dr. Enge, as an observer on the sideline in a sense, but one who understands these complex systems, Where do you think the problem started and how did it grow?
Dr. ENGE. Thank you.
Ten to the negative seventh, as you mentioned, is a tough thing to prove. What it requires in terms of the safety analysis is a listing of all the threats, and that is the part that is tough. Is it the ionosphere that is going to give you trouble? Is it RFI that is going to give you trouble? Is it some failure on the GPS satellite that is going to give you trouble?
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And it is tough work. You have to go through each and every one of those and either prove to yourself that that is not a problem, or if it is you must decide how it will be treated. Then you have to prove that your treatment is adequate.
That kind of safety analysis is system-specific. The list of threats for one system may not be the same list of threats that you deal with on your last contract or anywhere else. And each and every one requires a profound understanding of the underlying physics. What really is going on there?
So really, in my view, the underlying difficulty is that we are coping with a new technology. It is GPS. That is new. It comes with a brand new set of threats and each and every one of those has to be understood anew. So both the FAA and Raytheon have been spooling up their technical expertise. Certainly the academic community, I feel, should have responded more quickly and directly. We are now included. We have brought the very best expertise that we know to the table. So I think things are better understood now than they were 2 or 3 years ago.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Do you observe these same difficulties in the private sector, large corporations that develop complex software systems, as the Standish report held, that 9 percent of the big systems come in on budget and on time?
Dr. ENGE. It is nice if you can keep the software team more compact and smaller, because the number of interfaces between people and groups is smaller. But as the effort gets bigger, the risk gets higher. There is no doubt about that.
Mr. OBERSTAR. What advice do you have for FAA and Raytheon at this point?
Dr. ENGE. I think the guidance that comes from Mr. Dillingham and this committee to not over-promise and break it into manageable pieces, is the right advice. I think that we have now done that. The LNAV/VNAV is the right part of this puzzle to break off and to consider as a production system and a production contract. The precision approach part should be regarded as more developmental. I think that is the right approach. I think the right team is in place now.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. OBERSTAR. That is very encouraging. I am very happy to hear that. Good advice. Thank you.
My final comment/observation.
I have stated the safety benefits and future cost avoidance, expanding the number of airports that will have precision approach by 4,000, adding capacity to air traffic system, and making those airports vastly safer than they are with VORs and DMEs.
Do you have a comment on that, Mr. Zaidman?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Well, I agree, sir. One of the main reasons we are pursuing this vision is both for safety and access. The tremendous growth of aviation that is now upon us and will be continuing raising the bar for safety, which is more than appropriate, leads us to solutions such as WAAS in the future.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Dillingham, do you think the current state of this contract, FAA and its Raytheon partner, is in a manageable form as you have described and as Dr. Enge have described?
Mr. DILLINGHAM. Yes, sir. I think the things that are on the drawing board now--the WIPP, the independent panel, breaking it into manageable piecesif those things come through in terms of fruition, we are making progress and they are on the right path.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Has FAA established benchmarks, Mr. Mead, for future progress of this contract?
Mr. MEAD. No. They are in the process of establishing benchmarks. That is what these two independent review groups are doing.
But I wanted to add to Mr. Dillingham's response to your question about the management of this contract.
I think the answer to that also has to include the finances. We have a $4 million burn rate on this contract, which Mr. Miller was alluding to. We are recommending that the WAAS contract undergo a cost incurred audit, to determine where the money is going and what we are getting for it. We are also recommending a series of unannounced labor floor checks. That is the financial side of this contract. That is a dimension that is quite important as well, sir.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If those final comments are adhered to and we can benchmark this contract from here forward and follow its progress, I think we will have achieved something very useful.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Oberstar.
Dr. Dillingham, in 1997, you talked about the problems with the satellites. I am told that before this system can become certifiable that it is going to require at least another two to four satellites. Is that correct?
And I am also told that that will take anywhere from 18 to 48 months unless we pay a whopping amount extra to get them up quicker than that. Is that all accurate and is that going to delay things even more?
Mr. DILLINGHAM. That is still our understanding, Mr. Chairman. In terms of delay, again, it will depend on the other elements that have to be dealt with that the panels are going to deal with.
Mr. DUNCAN. And it is your intention, Mr. Zaidman, to enter into some type of contract with a satellite manufacturer as soon as these recommendations come in in December or January?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Our plan is to wait for those recommendations, to make sure we can achieve the LNAV/VNAV requirement, and then proceed with a lease versus buy study, which we owe the Congress, and then in collaboration with the Congress make a final decision on whether to acquire the two satellites you alluded to.
Those two satellites are not necessary for implementing WAAS. They are necessary for reducing and eliminating the other ground navigation aids that exist right now. So before we can reduce in any substantial way the ground navigation aids, we need backup communications capability not having anything to do with GPS, and that requires a minimum of one and possibly a second additional communication satellite, for a total of four.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. DUNCAN. At the time that you enter into the contracts with the satellites for the new satelliteswhenever that is, January or a year later or wheneverhow soon do you expect them to produce those satellites and put them up?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Generally what the industry has told us is that they require a 2-year lead time from the commitment of FAA to do that. So that would be a 2-year lead time. But I want to emphasize that given the technical difficulties we have had with this program, it would not be prudent for FAA to rush in acquiring additional communication satellites until we are all positive that we can produce the promise of WAAS integrity and accuracy.
Mr. DUNCAN. Dr. Enge, originally we were talking about a promise of a category one, and then we ended up hearing about LNAV/VNAV. The staff tells me that they think that is a term that was created for this program. Would you just explain for the record who came up with LNAV/VNAV and exactly how it differs from the category one? I am told that category one involves 200 feet vertical and a half mile horizontal, and LNAV/VNAV is 350 feet vertical and one mile horizontal. Who came up with the term LNAV/VNAV?
Dr. ENGE. That is a good question, but I don't know the origin of the term.
The way that I think about it is in terms of the airport itself. If you want to go all the way down to 200 feet, then of course you need the alarm limit or the performance down to the 10-meter guarantee. But you also need taxiways, lights, and specially painted runways. The 350-foot level is the best you would want to do for airports that don't have those other features.
So in my mind the division between LNAV/VNAV and precision approach really depends on the airport. LNAV/VNAV is the best you can do in terms of vertical guidance to the vast majority of airports that don't have the other features. For airports that do have the other things that you need for precision approach, you would want the 200-feet.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Steve, perhaps you can help me on that one.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. If I may.
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. We went to the user community, knowing what we knew with the state of the programming, and asked what they needed in terms of performance. We had a meeting sponsored by the carriers and the general aviation community in March. They said that if we could get them there incrementally, 350 or 400 depending on the environment, they would take that as an interim step toward FAA and Raytheon resolving the additional integrity requirements to get us down to 200 and a half. The lower you go, the harder it is to get that integrity because you are closer to the ground, obviously. So we agreed, as an interim step.
Then we went back and asked the WIPP to look at that as a challenge. LNAV and VNAV both require verticals and how low you can go with confidence.
To answer your question, we came up with that knowing where we are with this program. We brought it to the user communities. We got acceptance to do it in an incremental fashion and that is what we plan to do.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. SWEENEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
If I could, I would like to see unanimous consent to submit a full statement for the record.
Mr. DUNCAN. Without objection, your prepared statement will appear in the record.
Mr. SWEENEY. And I apologize. I am involved in a markup in Banking. I want to thank the panelists. I am sorry I missed some of your testimony but did review some of it as well.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 If I could, I would like to start with a question for Mr. Zaidman.
I understand that Chairman Shuster has sent the Secretary a letter asking that the Secretary do whatever he needs to do to keep fighting to maintain to keep the radio spectrum program that was initially borrowed by DOD. Is the Secretary going to do that and how important does the FAA view that effort?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Well, preservation of the aeronautical spectrum for safety services is the highest, most critical priority for us. And we have reached agreement with DOD relative to GPS on identifying an additional frequency, which is in the protected aeronautical spectrum zone. We call it L5. And most gratifying is we had a United States position up to the recent world-wide radio conference, which was held in Istanbul. Basically at that conference we got global opinion to protect the critical GPS frequency, both the currentwhich we call L1and the new one called L5 from interference.
So the answer is that we are in lock step with DOD. We have a common plan for identifying and procuring additional frequencies on the GPS constellation which are geared toward the safety of flight.
Mr. SWEENEY. I am glad to hear that.
I am just curiousI am sure you are not the right person to ask, but I will ask it anywayWhat is DOD's position and what were their arguments initially?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. The arguments are: Who pays for it? What is the right frequency to be in? When should something called selective availability be turned offwhich it has been as effective May 1st? Timing on what the military requirements are versus the civil requirements because it is a military contract. So when will the civil community identify the spectrum and how soon can we pay for it? And non-interference for the civil side versus the military. The military, obviously, needs the key frequencies and they use a bunch of them for national defense reasons.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. SWEENEY. I am assuming that those responses are being prepared to be sent to Chairman Shuster.
And Mr. Oberstar, if you could also make those available to others of us, I would appreciate that as well.
Mr. Dillingham, thank you and welcome. Thank you for all your help in the past on a number of projects. It is good to see you again.
The FAA has a slightly better reputation than the military for handling money and schedules. From the record, it seems that we know that every few years you come back, this panel comes back, we have this discussion with this program, which seems to be a day late and a dollar short.
If you could, would you give me a perspective on what factors you think Congress should look at to determine if the program should be continued or shut down? How much is too much, I guess is my fundamental question.
Mr. DILLINGHAM. Yes, sir.
I think, again, that sometimes if you think of FAA as sort of a huge ocean liner and you need to make a turn, it is not something you can do on a dime. I think with the new Administrator and some of the programs and recommendations that have been made by various oversight bodies that FAA is beginning to turn around.
Specifically with regard to the WAAS program, I think that we need to wait on the outcome, the reports from the two panels that have been designated, and make the decision based on their expertise. It is now time to shut it down. I think the fact that hearings are being held and the agency and the contractor are being put on notice that the Congress is really watchingthat tied to those reports--will give us a better basis for making that decision.
Mr. SWEENEY. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Sweeney. I do think it is fair to say that the comments expressed by Dr. Ehlers and Mr. Millerthere seems to be an old shell game that we vastly underestimate the original cost of any new program, and then we have all these cost overruns. A small business couldn't get away with what some of the extremely big businesses seem to get away with in Federal contracting.
I will tell you that people all over this country are becoming very, very skeptical and angered by what is going on. But I think we need to have another hearing or another look at this after we get these recommendations in January and see where we stand at that time.
Thank you very much for being with us this morning. We will proceed now with the second panel.
Our second panel consists of Captain Russell G. Chew, Managing Director of System Operations Control, American Airlines, on behalf of Air Transport Association; Ms. Deborah C. McElroy, President, Regional Airline Association; Mr. Edward M. Bolen, President, General Aviation Manufacturers Association; and Mr. Jeffrey L. Ross, Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy, Time Domain Corporation.
We are certainly pleased to have each of you here with us.
Captain Chew, we will proceed first with your statement.
TESTIMONY OF CAPTAIN RUSSELL G. CHEW, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF SYSTEM OPERATIONS CONTROL, AMERICAN AIRLINES, ON BEHALF OF THE AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION; DEBORAH C. MCELROY, PRESIDENT, REGIONAL AIRLINE ASSOCIATION; EDWARD M. BOLEN, PRESIDENT, GENERAL AVIATION MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION; AND JEFFREY L. ROSS, VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGY, TIME DOMAIN CORPORATION
Captain CHEW. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. My name is Russell Chew, and I am the managing director of System Operations Control and a captain for American Airlines. On behalf of American Airlines and the member carriers of the Air Transport Association, I am pleased to join you today to share with you some of the thoughts that the airline industry has on some of the more important challenges confronting the future of aviation navigation.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Knowing that my full statement will be placed in the record, I will just give a brief oral statement and a demonstration associated with the last 2 minutes of a video that I think amplifies some of the things we talk about in words and would be much more useful to you.
Satellite navigation is really an integrated plan that requires not only GPS but also the Local Area Augmentation System and the Wide Area Augmentation System to permit the full application of the new air traffic management concepts for all types of air traffic control users of the system.
LAAS is a critical element of satellite-based navigation services and represents the airline industry's top priority because it will permit precision operations in lower visibility conditions than WAAS at airports where greater utilization is required, such as commercial service airports. LAAS also provides the ability to perform category one, two, and three approaches at properly equipped airports and in low visibility conditions.
LAAS and WAAS, when used with other systems, such as automatic dependent surveillance broadcast, or ADSB, and in moving that display can support all weather navigation of surveillance on airport surface for aircraft and other vehicles.
We encourage the FAA to make WAAS signal available this year on a 24-hour per day, 7-day a week basis for non-integrity type applications. And we believe that the WAAS Integrity Performance Panel established by the FAA will show us the correct path for full WAAS implementation.
Ultimately, the benefits provided by WAAS to the system user, such as enabling precision approaches with vertical guidance virtually to all runways, will pass directly to travelers through improved safety and reduce delays and inconvenience. These benefits will be achieved through safer operations in poor weather conditions, increased enroute airspace capacity in areas of heavy traffic, and more approaches with vertical guidance. Other direct benefits include the prevention of runway incursions and collisions through WAAS-aided precise ADSB ground tracking of vehicles and aircraft.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And as this committee knows, the aviation community depends significantly upon the communication spectrum for two-way voice and data communications as well as navigation services. The members of this committee have participated in efforts to make GPS a critical component of modernizing and improving the air traffic management of our country and indeed throughout the world.
To this end, Congress has repeatedly adopted statutory provisions intended to ensure the integrity of the radionavigation band where our GPS services are located. And as you know, the spectrum used for aeronautical safety systems, including GPS, is in a restricted band and evidence of the critical importance of maintaining this spectrum free of any threat of interference.
But the demand for spectrum is increasing exponentially. And in the last 20 years alone, we have seen expansive development of innovative communication technologies, all of which create the demand for spectrum. Aviation's safety of life applications shouldn't have to compete with all these commercial interests. The potential for encroachment into the restricted bands is especially serious in the case of GPS, which is vulnerable to increases in background noise.
One particular technology application that seeks to use a portion of the radio spectrum allocated to GPS is ultra-wideband, or UWB technology. UWB tends to generate very large power outputs compared to GPS, and these outputs have the potential to interfere with GPS receivers. You will notice that I mention ''have the potential to interfere'' because frankly no one knows what all the effects of UWB are. And several UWB companies have petitioned the FCC for permission to operate within the aviation safety of life spectrum band, and the FCC has granted a temporary waiver to these companies.
On June 14th, the FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to consider whether and if so to what extent UWB devices might be permitted into the aviation spectrum. And while the FCC's NPRM recognizes the critical importance for aviation safety, and observes that interference with GPS is unacceptable, we remain concerned that the FCC may issue the final rule without adequate analysis of the interference potential.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Preliminary analysis conducted under the auspices of the Department of Transportation suggest that some UWB devices can interfere with GPS. Private parties are conducting further testing and the Department of Commerce is planning on conducting studies. Technical analyses and operational demonstrations must be completed to ensure that unwanted emissions do not encroach into the safety of life GPS bands and that the aggregate of UWB devices is safe.
Until independent studies answer all the questions about UWB and GPS, we must not permit these applications to utilize the aviation spectrum.
And I wish to be absolutely clear about our position. The aviation industry supports and encourages the development of new technologies. And UWB is not without merit. In fact, to the contrary, it is possible that this technology holds a lot of promise for a variety of applications, including emergency services and security services, for us. And we are grateful for the letter sent by you and the committee leadership to FCC Chairman Kenard on May 25th urging that thorough testing and analyses be done prior to the issuance of the final rule.
Mr. Chairman, aviation simply doesn't have any alternative. Satellite navigation and GPS are essential to not only our safety of life applications to our industry but also air traffic modernization. And with your permission, I would like to show the last 2 minutes of a brief video, which demonstrates probably one of the more compelling applications for GPS.
Captain CHEW. We chose the river approach to Reagan National Airport as the test bed utilizing a Gulf Stream Four airplane. Although this is only a test scenario, the video illustrates the importance of ensuring the integrity of the GPS signal, as well as the necessity of protecting all aviation spectrum for the sole use of safety of life applications.
One camera is mounted on the nose gear and the other one is in the cockpit behind the pilot and the copilot. You will notice the autopilot is flying the airplane with the aid of GPS. And as the aircraft maneuvers the Potomac River approach, it descends to about 150 to 200 feet where the pilots will take control and land the airplane.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 That can't be done without GPS. Nor would you want interference to interfere with that landing.
[End of Video Presentation.]
Captain CHEW. Although this scenario was undertaken on a clear day, you can see that it would be ever more critical during poor weather conditions. The loss of the GPS signal due to interference would have prevented that landing you just saw.
In closing, the airline industry requests your continued support in urging the FCC to refrain from issuing a final rule until sufficient testing and analysis is completed.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to also enter into the record a letter sent by the Air Transport Association, the American Association of Airport Executives, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Business Aviation Association, the Regional Airline Association, the Cargo Airline Association, the Airports Council International-North America, and the National Air Carriers Association on March 28th to FCC Chairman William Kenard.
I thank you again for the opportunity to testify and we are most appreciative of your continued efforts to address our concerns. I will be happy to answer any questions at the appropriate time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Captain Chew.
Ms. MCELROY. Thank you.
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. Thank you for providing me this opportunity to share my thoughts about the benefits of the Wide Area Augmentation System. I am here today on behalf of the Regional Airline Association to advocate that Congress support and promote the Global Positioning Systems and Global Navigation System for commercial use and, specifically, to urge the committee to support WAAS as an important part of the transition to a satellite-based navigation system and free flight.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 By way of background, I am president of the Regional Airline Association. We represent 60 regional carriers in the United States. Regional airlines provide scheduled service linking small-and medium-sized communities with the Nation's hub airports, operating modern, technically-advanced turbo prop and regional jet aircraft.
In 1999, RAA member carriers transported 97 percent of the 78 million passengers transported on regional airlines. Our industry is healthy and growing. The number of passengers traveling by regional aircraft increased 10 percent in 1999 and has increased more than 50 percent over the last decade. Last year, one out of eight domestic passengers flew on a regional airline.
Government and industry projections indicate this growth will continue with passenger enplanements projected to reach 104 million by 2005. By that time, regional jets are expected to represent over 50 percent of our fleet and may carry 70 percent of our passengers.
In order for regional airlines to achieve this projected growth, United States air traffic control system capacity must be expanded to meet the demands of our customers. That is, to provide safe, reliable, convenient air transportation at a reasonable price. The ATC system as it is today is not prepared to meet the demands of tomorrow. It does not meet user demands and causes delays for regional airline passengers.
We are especially vulnerable to the delays in the system because we are the user group that FAA air traffic control uses to adjust volume to an airport. For example, if an airport is experiencing high demand and subsequent delays, ATC will permit long-haul aircraft already in route to continue, but will hold aircraft within a 200-to 300-mile radius until the demand diminishes. This first-tier hold invariably captures large numbers of regional airline segments, since short-haul operations are the defining characteristic of regional airlines.
In order to provide schedule integrity and accurate information to our passengers, airlines have expanded scheduled enroute times. These expanded times do not reflect the point-to-point distance between the departure city and the destination. Rather, these times reflect the assigned ATC routing, limits on enroute speed, and frequent delays encountered.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 These are just some of the reasons why RAA supports long-term capital investment in the infrastructure for an improved ATC system is pleased that AIR-21 included a funding mechanism that will help FAA undertake the long-term planning needed for these efforts. We appreciate the efforts of this committee to ensure that funding.
While I have initially focused on the limitations of the current ATC system, what we need and what I am here to recommend to Congress today is a program that the FAA, Congress, and the aviation community can agree upon so we can invest our time and our dollars wisely. RAA believes that WAAS is an important part of the national airspace modernization effort and urges this committee to support the FAA in implementing this technology.
I know you recognize and appreciate that changing directions in mid-course is very disruptive to those in the industry who must commit funds to make it work. And while there are alternate proposals for implementation of a combined ground-based and satellite system, we do not believe these programs offer the ultimate benefits of WAAS. In order to wisely invest in equipment changes, we now need a clear, concise plan with the commitment of the Government behind it.
The regional airlines are willing to invest in navigational equipment and training that allow more direct routings because of the savings in operational costs. Before our carriers make this investment, however, we need a firm commitment from FAA not only to WAAS but also to rapidly integrate a streamlined approval procedure so that implementation is successful and seamless.
The long-term goals for a satellite-based navigation system include precision instrument approaches and free flight. While we allow that we still face more work ahead, we are convinced that the implementation of WAAS is an important step toward satellite-based navigation, the basis for free flight. And while WAAS will ultimately offer category one approach capability, it already holds great promise for improving enroute and terminal navigation in the interim, as well as addressing runway incursions.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Regional airlines will benefit from WAAS by providing safe and reliable instrument approaches to small-and medium-sized communities. And while regional airlines only serve a limited number of airports without at least one instrument approach, we are unlikely to see ground-based precision navigation capability acquired for additional runways in the future. WAAS will allow expansion of precision approaches at regional airports, providing enhanced schedule integrity for our passengers.
As I mentioned, it is true that the number of air carrier airports currently without precision guidance is small. But it is important to note that many of these airports have only a single instrument landing system, which allows a precision approach to only one runway. This can have a significant impact on the airport's capacity and in low visibility conditions can determine whether or not the flight can land and the airline can maintain its schedule integrity, an issue critical to our customers.
WAAS will enable the FAA to effectively eliminate non-precision instrument approaches, thereby providing the benefit of precision guidance to more runways and allowing the development of a greater number of approach routes. And WAAS will also provide precision approach capability to airports not currently served by regional airlines, but desiring such air service in the future.
We understand that in implementing WAAS the FAA has faced several critical challenges. But we believe WAAS offers the best path to greater safety and efficiency through improved navigational capability. The fact that FAA failed to address flaws in Raytheon's system design for certification purposes early in the program should not automatically disqualify WAAS as the best solution. The General Accounting Office's recent report reached a similar conclusion.
It is important to note the significant progress that both the FAA and Raytheon have made already in correcting some of these problems. The establishment of the WIPP and the independent review board are also very positive steps taken by the FAA.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And while I am addressing the challenges faced early on in system design, I would like to note one more thing. Clearly, operational experience as well as mathematical analysis must be taken into account in order to reach the full potential of WAAS. To that end, we urge the FAA and the committee to push forward with deployment of WAAS as soon as possible to gain this valuable experience.
The first step in this process requires FAA and Raytheon to begin providing usable WAAS services for applications that are not safety critical, such as positional awareness on airports and reducing false alarms emitted by terrain avoidance systems. It is our understanding that this can be achieved as soon as WAAS goes through its next stability test.
The next step is to begin the process for procuring WAAS satellites. Industry experts indicate it will take 3 years from the date FAA begins this process to the day the first satellite is launched. If this effort is not started in fiscal year 2001, the first satellite may not be launched until the end of calendar year 2004. The time issue is significant. Therefore, we have urged the FAA to request the necessary funding as soon as they receive the information from the WIPP indicating that they should move forward.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement and I would be glad to respond to any questions you or members of the committee might have.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Ms. McElroy.
Mr. BOLEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have a prepared statement I would like to submit for the record.
Mr. DUNCAN. Without objection, your prepared statement will appear in the record.
Mr. BOLEN. Mr. Chairman, as you know, more people today are relying on aviation than at any point in history. And as was just stated, the projections are that that continued growth in air traffic is going to continue as far as the eye can see.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In order to accommodate the projected growth without decreasing the safety and efficiency of our system, we must modernize. The Wide Area Augmentation System is the cornerstone of our NAS modernization effort. GAMA and the entire general aviation community have been very supportive of WAAS because of our strong interest in having instrument approaches with vertical guidance, what are commonly called precision approaches, at a large percentage of our Nation's general aviation airports. Having precision approaches at nearly 4,000 airports in the United States will improve the safety and utility of general aviation and it will also improve the efficiency of our aviation system.
Manufacturers are significant stakeholders in the WAAS Program. We have spent millions developing WAAS receivers. We also participate on the Satellite Navigation Users Group. We attend meetings of the WAAS Integrity Performance Panel. The point I am trying to make is that this is a program we are following very closely.
Despite all the well-publicized problems with the WAAS Program, GAMA continues to be very supportive of WAAS. We are pleased with the recent tests that have shown the accuracy of WAAS to be even better than anticipated. And like the Inspector General, we are optimistic that the problems with the integrity of WAAS will be solved.
GAMA has reviewed the GAO report on WAAS and we agree that neither the FAA nor the contractor have been perfect. We don't believe that either of these organizations committed adequate technical resources to the program up-front. However, we understand that both are doing better in this critical area.
We also believe that another reason there have been delays is the FAA's failure to commit individuals from certain lines of business in the integrated product team. Until aircraft certification members became active on the integrated product team, we don't believe the FAA fully understood the difficulty of proving the integrity of WAAS.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to take issue with a reference that is found in the GAO report. It seems to suggest that Loran could provide some benefits to civil aviation, the same benefits as WAAS. Loran is a good, low-cost Nav-aid. GAMA supports Loran as a supplement to WAAS. However, we believe there are insurmountable problems with Loran as an alternative to WAAS.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 It is important to note that a manufacturer tried to certify Loran for non-precision approaches 10 years ago. Millions of dollars were spent without success. The manufacturer concluded that even with better antenna technology, the Loran signal would not have the availability or the integrity necessary for instrument approaches.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to comment on GAO's cost-benefit analysis. I think it is important to note that the FAA purposely took a very conservative approach to estimating the program's cost and benefits. For example, no attempt was made to quantify the safety or efficiency benefits of WAAS. Even with this conservative approach, the cost-benefit ratio was positive.
In moving forward on WAAS, we would recommend that the FAA expedite the changes recommended by the WIPP as soon as they are available. As you know, the scientists and engineers that are working on these recommendations have not concluded their work. And GAMA is concerned that if those recommendations are not implemented quickly that further delays will be caused in the system. So we are urging the committee to closely monitor that work.
We also believe that the FAA needs to resolve the geostationary satellite issue. This was just mentioned in terms of the importance of not delaying this program beyond the 2001 fiscal year.
GAMA also recommends the prompt implementation of a new generation of satellites with a third civil frequency, the L5 band, as soon possible. The third frequency addresses many of the concerns that have been raised about the WAAS Program, including atmospheric and frequency interference.
With regard to the L5 band, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the United States ambassador to the World Radio Conference and the FAA for the effort and their success at protecting the aviation spectrum. Despite our success at the World Radio Conference, however, challenges to aviation spectrum continue. Recently there have been a lot of questions raised about ultra-wideband technologies. GAMA does not believe that to date the full impact on the aviation spectrum of the ultra-wideband has been understood. That is why we are so supportive of future tests.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 GAMA urges Congress to be vigilant in monitoring the FAA actions in this regard. Spectrum is critical to our future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to testify.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Bolen, for being with us again.
Mr. Ross, you may begin your statement, please.
Mr. ROSS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I wold like to thank you for inviting me here to testify before you today.
Mr. Chairman, before I begin I would like to request that a copy of my complete remarks be entered as part of the record.
Mr. DUNCAN. Without objection, your prepared statement will appear in the record.
Mr. ROSS. Thank you.
My message to you today is simple: Time Domain is committed to the responsible deployment of ultra-wideband technology in a manner that comports with aviation safety. We will continue to work with the FCC, NTIA, FAA, and other agencies as they seek answers to questions involving ultra-wideband technology.
Time Domain's time-modulated ultra-wideband technology is different from existing radio. It emits extraordinarily brief pulses at extremely low power, 10 million pulses a second at one-ten thousandth the power put out by a cell phone. This innovation enabled several orders of magnitude of improvement in three areas: communications, radar, and position location tracking. Time-modulated ultra-wideband technology has the potential to create entirely new wireless applications and products and to significantly advance public safety, aviation safety, military effectiveness, and communications applications.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The technology enables new short-range radar applications such as radars that can see through walls and under ground, personal radar in the form of security bubbles and electronic security fences that can tell you the exact size and shape of a penetrating object, and automotive sensors for vehicle collision avoidance and smart airbag deployment. Time-modulated ultra-wideband technology complements GPS by extending its reach to indoor, underground, and urban environments where GPS often cannot function.
In the area of communications, time-modulated ultra-wideband technology will enable ultra high-speed indoor wireless networks for the true smart home and office. And its efficient use of the spectrum will free up valuable spectrum for other uses.
Aviation safety is a natural concern and one that we share. Ultra-wideband can help address many pressing safety of life concerns, such as aircraft and airport security systems, runway incursions, controlled flight in terrain, aging aircraft writing, and we expect other applications will be developed using ultra-wideband's communications and radar capabilities.
Time-modulated ultra-wideband radar would permit airlines and airports to place security bubbles around planes and sensitive equipment and sensors in carts and mobile equipment to automatically apply brakes and prevent collisions. In position location tracking, the technology would enable air traffic control, airports, and airlines to track their assets, provide alerts in advance of vehicles travelling into any unauthorized airport areaincluding runways, thereby reducing the number of runway incursionsthe tracking of personnel entering high-security areas, and the tracking of every piece of baggage, thus virtually eliminating incidents of lost luggage.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, Time Domain is absolutely committed to not causing harmful interference with GPS and absolutely committed to ensuring that our technology does not compromise aviation safety in any way. In addition to this being the right public policy position, there are selfish reasons for us to make this commitment and to honor it.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 For liability reasons alone, no company could have a business premised on causing such harmful interference. Our customers are demanding that we physically collocate our devices with GPS, and this could not happen if we caused harmful interference.
For example, Time Domain has a current demonstration program underway with Boeing for STRICOM, the U.S. Army Simulation Training and Instrumentation Command, to extend GPS' outdoor tracking capabilities by showing the precise location and tracking of soldiers in live training exercises in buildings. If we were to cause harmful interference with GPS, many of our products using time-modulated ultra-wideband technology would not function in the integrated way that our customers desire.
As we have maintained for some time, the question of possible interference with GPS needs to be answered with thorough, independent, and credible testing. To that end, Time Domain is aggressively supporting multiple testing agendas, including Government efforts. Our goal is to ensure that ultra-wideband can coexist with all safety of life services. We are confident that tests by others will confirm what our tests have already shown: time-modulated ultra-wideband technology will not compromise aviation safety and will not cause harmful interference to GPS.
Our testing has shown that the technology causes the same amount or less interference than the billions of other ultra-wideband devices already in use by the public such as laptop computers, palm pilots, and pocket calculators. All these devices are ultra-wideband devices, all have similar emissions characteristics as our technology, and all emit energy at the same or higher levels of power than our technology. At the point at which the GPS bands begin in the upper part of the spectrum, near 1.7 gigahertz, our technology is placing four times less energy into the GPS bands than the current FCC limit for radio emissions from common digital devices.
Even though extensive testing has already been conducted by ourselves and others, we recognize the need for further independent testing. Having sought such testing for more than a year, we are delighted that the process is now underway.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Time Domain has consistently reached out to the aviation community in an effort to work together to address this issue responsibly. We agree with the aviation community, which recently told the FCC that comprehensive, independent, credible testing is needed. We have worked hard to make this testing happen and we remain open to suggestions of ways to further this goal.
The FCC has made clear that it will not authorize ultra-wideband services without a sound technical basis for demonstrating that harmful interference will not result. We also fully expect the FCC to continue to seek input from both non-Government spectrum users and from agencies within the Federal Government whose missions depend on the use of spectrum.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I want to restate Time Domain's commitment to ensure that our technology, with its many benefits, will not cause harmful interference with GPS. This is not only the right public policy position, it is the only feasible business position for our company.
Ultra-wideband technology is a once-in-a-generation technology and one that can save lives. It would be a shame to stifle this technology without giving it a chance. Testing will provide the data whereby the FCC, the FAA, and others can address and answer the interference concerns. We believe the record will show that critical safety of life GPS applications can be protected without foreclosing the life-saving and other beneficial applications of ultra-wideband technology.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Ross.
When you say things like that Time Domain is committed to ensuring that your ultra-wideband technology won't cause any interference, how long do you think that testing will take? You have mentioned in your testimony that your testing has shown that it doesn't interfere any more than a laptop computer or a palm pilot and so forth. Yet you know that present rules are that people have to turn off their laptop computers until planes exceed 10,000 feet elevation. Some people are skeptical about that and we have considered holding a hearing about that in this committee as to whether laptop computers really do cause interference.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 What do you have to say about that? Are you sure in your own mind and could you sit here and tell us today that you are absolutely convinced that your technology will not cause any interference based on the tests your company has done?
Mr. ROSS. Mr. Chairman, based on the tests we have conducted, we have found no harmful interference to GPS. However, we realize that we are dealing with critical safety of life applications here, and that is one of the reasons why we have been very supportive of moving forward and trying to have independent testing, hopefully done by Government entities. We feel that will add a lot to the debate.
Mr. DUNCAN. You mentioned a test you are doing with Boeing. Is that a test that is going on now or in the future? When will that be complete?
Mr. ROSS. Actually the project with Boeing is a demonstration project to evaluate the technology. So it is not an interference test.
Mr. DUNCAN. So is any independent interference testing going on right now, to your knowledge?
Mr. ROSS. Yes. There are three efforts going on right now.
Mr. DUNCAN. And when are they going to be completed?
Mr. ROSS. There is an effort going on by Stanford University that Dr. Enge is involved in sponsored by the Department of Transportation. I believe their test plan is now complete and they are going to be publishing it soon or have published it in the Federal Register for comment.
Mr. DUNCAN. Did you say is now complete?
Mr. ROSS. I believe they completed what is a final draft that is going to be put out for comment.
There is testing that is going on by the University of Texas Advanced Research Labs. They are still working on their test plan and are soliciting input. I believe they are going to begin their testing soon.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Then NTIA has recently gotten funding to do testing of ultra-wideband and GPS.
Mr. DUNCAN. Are you concerned that if testing does drag on that it will give foreign competitors some type of potential advantage over a company such as yours?
Mr. ROSS. We feel that there needs to be adequate testing to protect safety of life applications for GPS. That is of paramount importance. What we hope is that there can be a process whereby the testing can move forward and that we can get to a point where the technology can be deployed.
This has been a deliberative process. Ultra-wideband has been around for more than 30 years used primarily and significantly by the military. At Time Domain we have been seeking regulatory approval for the technology since 1989. The FCC had put out a notice of inquiry several years ago soliciting comment on the technology and received a lot of comment from Government and non-Government users of spectrum.
I think as one of the other panelists mentioned, we applied for a waiver, along with two other companies, to deploy 2,500 units of our radar visionwhich is see-through-walls radar for fire, police, and rescue workers. There was a comment period on that waiver as well. My understanding is that the FAA did an analysis in January 1999 of the technology at that time.
Additionally, there has been some testing at the FCC's labs by NTIA and FCC personnel.
So there has been a deliberate process here. Certainly more testing needs to be done, but we hope there is a process whereby it can move forward so that this technology can be deployed first in this country.
Mr. DUNCAN. I will ask Captain Chew or the industry representatives, If this interference testing is done to your satisfaction, do you think the FCC is moving too fast on this? Or too slowly? What is your position?
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I know you mentioned the letter and the groups that have joined with you, Captain Chew. What do you say about that?
Captain CHEW. Our joint position is that the notice of proposed rulemaking and the October 30th deadline is probably too soon to complete all the interference testing, including aggregate noise floor testing that needs to be done.
Mr. DUNCAN. That is what I was referring to, the October 30th deadline they have set.
Captain CHEW. Yes.
Mr. DUNCAN. Let me move to something else.
Everyone wants to make aviation as safe and efficient as possible, and we have heard a lot of good things about WAAS here today. We have heard about the problems also and some concerns. I understand that the industry wants the potential benefits of WAAS, but you may have heard me mention in my opening statement and in our hearing in 1995 we were told that this system would be operational by January of 1998. Then we heard in 1997 at our hearing that this initial operating capability would be delivered by April of 1999. We keep having these delays and these cost overruns.
What if the WIPP recommendations come back in Januaryor whenever they are duewhat happens if it is not all good? What happens if they say that they have discovered bad problems, there will be more costs associated with this, and more delays? What is the responsibility of industry?
Do you just sit back and say that the taxpayers are just going to have to accept all this, no matter the cost, even if it is going to billions more because you think it is good for you? Or do you have some responsibility to get in here and start pushing some of these people and tell them that they must do a better job? Are we just supposed to sit back and not say anything about these cost overruns and these delays?
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. BOLEN. Mr. Chairman, I think your frustration with the program is well understood and shared by industry. We are significant stakeholders in this. As a representative of manufacturers trying to build the boxes that will carry the WAAS signal, we are intimately familiar with the problems associated with trying to build, hold, wait, find out where the program is, when we can go forward, the start-stop nature of that.
Nevertheless, I think despite the fact that we are part of that, we have brought the groups in to talk to our Board of Directors on numerous occasions to try to get our own handle on what is going on. I think we have to keep in mind where we are today with our current navigation systems, that for all intents and purposes it is based on technology developed in the 1940s. I think we have to look at where we are in terms of system efficiency and capacity and realize that in order for us to make quantum leaps forward we are going to have to have more efficient technologies that handle our navigation system.
I think we also have to look at what is happening in Europe and Japan and elsewhere in terms of competitive technology and understand that if we are forced to build our products to other countries' standards, then they are going to in a large sense dictate the rules of operation.
I think that while the stakes are high and certainly at some point you reach a level of frustration where you give up, I would certainly urge Congress not to give up yet. We think we are on the right path. We will wait and see what the WIPP recommendations are and respond to them at that time, but we are hopeful that they will come back positive and we have reason to believe it will.
Mr. DUNCAN. Anybody else?
Captain CHEW. Actually, the process of collaboration under both free flight and even before free flight included the users in on WAAS at the very beginning. In fact, the operating requirements and the operating needs of the user community were established during many of those sessions and continue to be.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I would label the cooperative collaborative relationship we have as not necessarily not being antagonistic. In fact, there have been many heated debates on the exact requirements for certification of the system and the needs of the users. Nevertheless, because of the complexity of the process and the fact that we really have no other alternative to address the future of the system capacity, that we continue to be as frustrated as you are on the cost overruns and in recognition of maybe some of the shortfalls in a way perhaps the programwhether it is R&D or a production systemis managed. However, we don't have much alternative.
Mr. DUNCAN. Ms. McElroy?
Ms. MCELROY. I would echo the comments of Captain Chew. We are particularly concerned about capacity. As you know, the regional airline industry is expanding greatly. We have orders from our member carriers for the deployment of more than 900 regional jets over the next 3 to 4 years. It is a very significant stake we have in ensuring that capacity enhancements are made.
We participate in the Satellite Navigation User Group that Mr. Bolen mentioned earlier. We are frustrated that the schedule that the FAA put forward has not been achieved, but we also believe that the proposal to break this off into two parts to go with the LNAV/VNAV initially and then work on the other processes necessary for certification is a good step forward and we continue to be committed to the process to help FAA achieve that.
Mr. DUNCAN. We all recognize that with the tremendous growth in air passenger traffic and air cargo traffic and the National Civil Aviation Commission telling us in 1997 that we were going to face gridlock in the skies shortly after the turn of the century, we all have to do more and we have to do better. That was the main push behind the passage of Air-21. I think that will lead to a lot of improvements.
But on some of these things, it is sort of likea family may want a Rolls Royce or a Mercedes, but especially if somebody else is paying for it, such as the Government. But they may have to accept a Chevrolet or a little bit less. If a Chevrolet is handled properly, it can be just as safe or safer than a Mercedes. I don't know.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 It seems to me that everybody involved in this is going to have to start doing a little better job than they have been doing in the past if we are going to bring this system to fruition. That is what everybody seems to want and think that we need. But there are limits to what we can do when you are dealing with the taxpayers' money.
You have been a very helpful and informative panel and I thank you very much for being here. That will concludeI am sorry. I didn't know Mr. Oberstar had come back.
Mr. Oberstar, I apologize.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I have been sitting here listening very intently to your very thoughtful comments and line of questioning, Mr. Chairman. I had to step out briefly for a meeting on forestry issues in my district.
I appreciate this panel's contribution. Let me pick up on the point the chairman was pursuing.
Cat-I is generally described as 200-foot ceiling and a half mile horizontal visibility. Where we stand with WAAS at this point is 300-feet and maybe three-quarter mile visibility. So we aren't quite getting the vertical, we are perhaps getting a little better horizontal visibility.
What difference does that make in operations?
Captain CHEW. Well, the interesting part is that we tend to focus on the most stringent requirement, and therefore the edge of the envelope, when we talk about a system like WAAS or GPS. In fact, probably the most important aspect of the system is not the landing part, initially. It is the fact that you have a route system in the United States which is based on fixed routes. We blanket that with 5,000 or 6,000 IFR airplanes every day and we have rush hour congestion every day even with no weather in the system.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Every time you put weather in the system, it is like having an accident on the beltway. If you have that accident at 3:00 in the morning and you obstruct a lane, it doesn't have much effect. But if you do it at rush hour, it has a very great effect. WAAS or GPS gives you the ability to move off those fixed routes. It gives you the ability to add many, many more routes to the enroute system and bypass the weather and not cause a traffic jam.
So probably the greatest benefit to the travelling public will be a greater predictability of the amount of delay you might have on a flight. But when you do get down to a landing system, probably the most important part of risk management is the fact that you have precision guidance, vertical guidance, which enables the pilot to know where he is in relationship to the ground.
In a non-precision approach todayand we talk about 350 feetit is predicated on no guidance. You virtually look at an altimeter and look at a chart. All the terrain avoidance type of risk is in the pilot's mind. This puts it on a gauge in front of you. There have been many, many studies showing that precision guidance is probably the single most important aspect of safety of operations in the landing phase in instrument conditions than any other. So the altitude is not that critical.
Mr. OBERSTAR. So the difference between 200 feet and 350 feet, in your judgment, at this stage of development and evolution of the technology
Captain CHEW. It is not where the lion's share of the benefit of moving to a GPS-based WAAS system is.
Mr. OBERSTAR. But what impresses me is the opportunity at this stage of the development of the technology to reach 70 percent of the continental United States with a vertical guidance system, which is far better than what we have had, to add 4,000 airports.
Ms. McElroy, does that benefit your association?
Ms. MCELROY. Well, the number of airports that we currently serve without an ILS system or some precision approach capability is limited. There are significant benefits to adding to that universe, as you mentioned, especially for communities that currently don't have that service but might desire it in the future.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Bolen, for the manufacturers, this technology should extend the range of facilities that can be served by aircraft with greater reliability and accuracy and safety.
Mr. BOLEN. For the general aviation community, the benefits are just tremendous. Right now, we don't have precision approaches at the vast majority of the airports we serve. This will give us that capability. And as Captain Chew mentioned, that gives us the vertical guidance on the instrument approaches that we think is the biggest step forward in terms of safety. And if you increase safety and you allow better situational awareness in bad weather, you are really tremendously increasing the utility of a general aviation aircraft.
We see general aviation becoming a mainstream mode of transportation in the future. We see it being able to take people out of hub airports and off of highways so they can get to their destinations. This is a critical point in doing that. We have to be able to fly safely and in all types of weather. WAAS is a critical element there.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Ideally, you want an ILS at an airport. There are 625 airports that have ILS today. But if we move to the GPS and the WAAS combination, that universe expands to 4,000 more than now have Cat-I and ILS technology at far less cost.
And also a matter of concern, it seems to me, to the general aviation community is that the VORs that were installed in the 1940s and 1950sover 1,000 of those have to be replaced sometime in the next few yearseven though they have been upgraded, they are not up to the technological requirements of the modern ageat a cost of nearly $500 million. But by launching WAAS, we can avoid that cost and provide CAT-I service to 4,000 more airports. I think that is an important step forward to make, even though we are not at the point of perfection.
It reminds me of the debate over TCAS a few years ago. The FAA was saying that they were not ready for TCAS, they have a better system with TCAS-2 and TCAS-3 that gave many more parameters. This subcommittee finally simply enacted legislation requiringor moved it out of our committee and eventually it was enacted, to be accurateto require FAA to proceed with TCAS saying that we should not let the perfect crowd out the good.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 It seems to me that we are here with something that is very good and that can be perfected as we move ahead.
On the wideband issue, Mr. Ross, your statement on behalf of Time Domain is a little troubling to me. You are recommending that we ''do not have an answer to the question of what level of energy constitutes harmful interference, nor do we believe anyone has that answer at the present time.'' You are saying that we should go ahead and see what happens and then make adjustments. Is that correct?
Mr. ROSS. Mr. Oberstar, the issue is how much energy is permissible in the GPS bands. Right now, there are all types of products from everything I was talking about beforelaptops and palm pilotsthat put energy out, as well as Government radar and other things. But the issue is, How much is an acceptable level? That is what we are hoping the testing will get at. The testing will provide that data but then a lot of it is going to be a policy decision as to what level of energy in those bands is acceptable.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Are you suggesting we should just proceed with deployment rather than wait, do all the testing, assure that none of these technologies will interfere, that there is some level of energy that will cause interference, and wait until we have weeded out those problems? Are you saying that we should just deploy the systems and see what interference occurs and fix it them?
Mr. ROSS. I don't think anyone has suggested that there be deployment before careful testing analysis has been done. The FCC has been very firm about that and certainly Time Domainand I am sure the rest of the industrywould agree that we shouldn't have deployment until we have the answers to those questions.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Some are suggesting that testing may take a very long timea year, 2 years, or even longer.
Mr. ROSS. I think as we mentioned before, there has been a pretty deliberate process the FCC has gone through up to this point. They have received a lot of input at several points in the process from different parties, including numerous studies.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 As to the timing on the testing, I leave that up to the FCC. They had set an initial date of October 30th to have initial test results in. I am sure at that point there will be analyses done, opportunity again to comment, and I am sure at that point the FCC will take a look and see where they are at and what the testing results have shown.
Mr. OBERSTAR. That is encouraging. I read differently perhaps between the lines of what you were saying here. It seemed to me that you were suggesting something other than what you have just clarified.
The classic dilemma of the FAA is on the one hand, from experience, the FAA has learned that you have to test and retest and check again before you deploy a system, and they get criticized for dragging their feet. If they push a technology into operational status and something fails, immediately the arrows are pointed at FAA saying they should have done the testing, should have taken their time, should have proven the system.
I think they have it about right. I would weigh in on the side of caution in testing technologies until we know that they are safe to deploy, that there is some level of interference that will be harmful we must proscribe and then have the confidence that the aviation needs and that the travelling public needs that the system is safe to deploy.
Ms. McElroy, are there airports that are not now being used by regional carriers that would be available for service if WAAS can be deployed at the level it is designed to do?
Ms. MCELROY. There are approximately 20 or 25 airports that are currently used by regional airlines that we don't have ILS, so we don't have the precision approach capability. There are certainly a number of airports that do not currently have scheduled airline service that do desire that. WAAS would be one important element in providing that service. But again, there are other elements that are necessaryPart 139 certification and other things I know you are very familiar with. But certainly WAAS would be an important element in expanding the potential for service to those communities.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. OBERSTAR. Have carriers done economic analysis to provide service into XYZ Airport, but it doesn't meet Part 139, doesn't have ILS, and doesn't have other technology they need to provide safe servicebut for those items, that would be a viable destination?
Ms. MCELROY. I am sure those studies do exist. That is not something the association would be privy to. But it seems reasonable that those kinds of studies would exist. Yes, sir.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, expanding the number of airports that would have precision approach to something like 4,000which is the figure I have heardwould certainly bring in a number of additional communities that would benefit from regional service if they could have a WAAS technology.
Ms. MCELROY. Yes, sir.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, there are certainly many questions we could pursue, but I think we have the highlights here.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank the panel for their splendid contribution and their excellent prepared testimony as well.
Mr. SWEENEY [ASSUMING CHAIR]. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.
I apologize. I have been in a markup and I have been bouncing back and forth, so I have missed some of the testimony but have read some of the others. I am going to ask one question and then conclude the hearing, and that is to Ms. McElroy.
You state in your testimony that the association in fact doesn't have a problem that phase one of WAAS will not include category one approaches for the foreseeable future and the FAA says this feature will be delayed a few years. Is that realistic, in your mind, or are you expecting future delays?
Ms. MCELROY. Congressman, it is difficult to say without the information that will be provided by the WIPP. We have worked along through the process with the FAA, but because of the difficulties they have encountered and because of the inability to provide accurate information in the past, we are skeptical. But we are looking forward to having the recommendations and the results of the WIPP review. At that point, I think we will have a better sense of it.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I have to give the same response as the IG did earlier. It is really difficult to say without that expertise at this point.
Mr. SWEENEY. When you receive the WIPP report, if could you write us and give us a sense of what the association's view is at that point, we would appreciate it.
Ms. MCELROY. Yes, sir, we will.
Mr. SWEENEY. Thank you.
With that, let me conclude the hearing and thank the witnesses again for your expert testimony. We appreciate it.
[Whereupon, at 12:28 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]