testing before policies are set. Specifically in regard to certification, some participants wondered where new methods of certification fit into the JPDO plans. They expressed concern that a lack of new methods may be a barrier to adoption. Many workshop participants argued that the current time and cost to certify new systems is a problem, exacerbated when requirements are not frozen and when there is no mechanism for certification along the way. Some of the participants strongly urged a research agenda that addresses improving the certification process.
Several participants argued that better design of new systems can make transitions easier; thus, the ability to address certification issues at the design stage needs to be addressed. Many participants wondered whether it would be possible under a new system to get “precedent” coverage, and they suggested that policy research might be needed to address issues such as this and to accomplish the goal of new certification processes. They also raised particular concerns about the difficulty of developing requirements for equipage and certification of complex software.
Finally, several workshop participants suggested that a new organization (or administrator) might have to be chartered to make these difficult calls. Most political organizations cannot make the difficult decisions that are needed. For example, some participants noted that decision making is particularly difficult for the FAA, which serves both aviation regulatory and promotional functions. However, fixing inhibiting policies will be critical to the success of NextGen. Thus, these participants felt that it might be necessary to do some research to determine what sort of agency would have to be created to make NextGen a reality.
The agency created would have to possess certain characteristics. For example, it would need to be insulated from the changing priorities of Congress, perhaps in the same way as the nonpartisan Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC), with multiyear funding. One possibility suggested was a government-owned, private corporation agency, like the Tennessee Valley Authority or the U.S. Postal Service. However, most of the workshop participants also recognized that any programs arising from such an agency would have to be coordinated with the FAA; thus, a formal relationship between the two agencies might be needed. Several participants suggested that a congressional study might look into how this relationship might work.