Boeing's Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Connexion by Boeing SM units yesterday successfully demonstrated the feasibility of a number of potential enhancements to the National Airspace System (NAS). The enhancements are intended to improve the capacity, efficiency, safety and security of the NAS by providing both air- and ground-based personnel with improved real-time situational awareness of the entire flying environment.
The demonstrations were completed during a test flight from Seattle conducted under ATM's Global Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance System (GCNSS) contract with the Federal Aviation Administration. Capabilities demonstrated include the following:
All of these transmissions were accomplished using broadband and narrowband satellite links, demonstrating the feasibility of moving voice, video and other data between systems on the ground and systems aboard aircraft in oceanic airspace and other remote environments.
"These technologies have the potential to enable the creation of a fully linked and integrated network of aircraft, airlines, controllers, security personnel, law enforcement officials, and others-regardless of their geographic location," said Mike Lewis, Boeing program manager for the GCNSS contract. "Connectivity of this sort will substantially improve air system efficiency by ensuring that controllers, dispatchers, pilots and airline operation centers have the best information at their disposal, as well as improve the ability of security personnel to detect and respond to unusual situations aboard aircraft."
The demonstration flight was conducted aboard Connexion One, a specially equipped 737 aircraft operated by the Connexion by BoeingSM business unit. This unique flying test-bed is designed to test, validate and pioneer new solutions in broadband airborne communications.
The GCNSS contract was awarded to ATM in July 2002 to evaluate the feasibility of integrating emerging capacity- and security-enhancing technologies into the NAS. These enhancements would increase common situational awareness across the entire airspace system and, based on the availability of better information, improve collaborative decision-making in response to traffic- and weather-related congestion, security alerts and other unusual events.
"The GCNSS team has put a lot of work into meeting the needs of our customer," said John Hayhurst, ATM president, "and they should all be proud of today's successful demonstration flight. Today's achievements give me great confidence as we move into the next phases of this contract."