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NASA Developed Tools For Successful Air Travel Program
(Apr 24, 2005)
After developing several tools used in many of the nation's busiest airports and air traffic control centers, NASA has completed its pioneering Advanced Air Transportation Technologies (AATT) project.

The AATT project was established in 1996 to improve air travel. It focused on technology development to improve the capacity of transportation aircraft operations at and between major airports within the National Airspace System. During the past nine years, the AATT project worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the airline industry. It helped develop decision-support tools for air traffic controllers, airline pilots and air operations managers to handle the growing demand for safe and efficient air travel.

"NASA drew upon its aeronautics roots and engineering expertise to venture into a different aspect of aeronautics research," said NASA's Associate Administrator of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, J. Victor Lebacqz. "AATT has established NASA as a technology development leader for the modernization of the National Airspace System. We are building on that expertise, as we continue to work with other agencies like the FAA."

A tool developed by AATT, the Traffic Management Advisor, is operational at eight Air Route Traffic Control Centers including Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Oakland, Calif. These centers control high-altitude aircraft approaching and departing an airport. The tool helps controllers manage air traffic by sequencing aircraft, as they approach their destination airport. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport realized a five percent increase in arrival capacity since the tool's implementation.

Another AATT tool, the Surface Management System, scheduled for transfer to the FAA, is providing benefits for some of the nation's largest cargo carriers. The tool helps airport controllers and company traffic managers coordinate and spread out aircraft departures from the gate to prevent delays at the runway.

Other AATT technologies include tools that help aircraft fly the most direct route to their destinations and help controllers and traffic managers collaboratively manage in-flight aircraft. New communication and visualization technologies also help by increasing understanding of air traffic patterns and future trends.

"Although the AATT Project is officially completed, many technologies and concepts developed by the project will be incorporated into the Next Generation Air Transportation System," added Mike Landis, manager of the AATT Project. The project was managed by NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

NASA continues work to transform the nation's air transportation system to meet the needs of the year 2025, while providing substantial near-term benefits through its role in the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO). The JPDO includes the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security; NASA; the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and other experts from the public and private sectors. The JPDO mission is to develop a national plan for the Next Generation Air
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Last Updated: March 18, 2024