Congressional field hearing on NextGen set for Tuesday in Egg Harbor Township

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U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo will chair a Congressional field hearing at the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center on Tuesday, March 11 U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo will chair a Congressional field hearing at the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center on Tuesday, March 11 EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo is scheduled to chair a congressional field hearing at the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center on Tuesday, March 11 to examine the center’s pivotal role in FAA’s efforts to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system.

The hearing, titled “Moving NextGen Forward: Leveraging the Assets of the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center,” is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center. The event is open to the public, but attendees must RSVP by 5 p.m., Friday, March 7 by calling 609-625-5008 or 800-471-4450.

The hearing is expected to explore the center’s pivotal role in FAA’s efforts to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system. LoBiondo’s subcommittee will receive testimony from the FAA and industry experts to learn how the center can be best used to advance the Next Generation Air Transportation System, coined NextGen.

The goal of NextGen is to move the nation from a radar-based system where pilots is talk to an air traffic controller, to a satellite based system where aircraft tracking and navigation rely on a transfer of data and little voice communication. As the nation’s designated proving ground for NexGen, the Tech Center and the region have a huge stake in NexGen’s progress, LoBiondo has said previously.

The witness list includes Michael Whitaker, deputy administrator and chief NextGen officer for the FAA; Dennis Filler, William J. Hughes Technical Center director; Cynthia Castillo, president and chief executive officer of CSSI, Inc.; Melvin Davis, national representative for NextGen and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association; Pete Dumont, president and chief executive officer of the Air Traffic Control Association; Ben Gielow, general counsel and senior government relations manager  of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

The NextGen program has been plagued by a series of delays from a variety of sources including funding issues from Congress and leadership changes at the FAA, according to LoBiondo.

The issue came to a head last summer at hearing of the subcommittee that highlighted an inspector general’s report questioning why the FAA has not been able to meet its progress goals for the NextGen program.

Those who RSVP must arrive between noon and 1:15 p.m. and check-in at Gate 18/Amelia Earhart Boulevard, just prior to the Security Operations Center building.  A valid U.S. government issued picture ID is required for access.  Those who do not RSVP are not guaranteed access to the federal facility.

 


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