|Air Traffic Management|
Moving beyond imagination
Boeing team tests technologies for air system of the future
BY LEN VRANIAK
If you were a member of the Boeing team working on the Global Communications, Navigation and Surveillance System contract with the Federal Aviation Administration, you wouldn't have to imagine such a world. You would be too busy creating it.
Air Traffic Management leads the GCNSS team, which consists of representatives from across the Boeing enterprise, including Connexion by BoeingSM, Phantom Works, Autometric and Preston Aviation Solutions.
The FAA awarded the contract to ATM in July 2002 to evaluate the feasibility of integrating emerging capacity- and security-enhancing technologies into the National Airspace System. The enhancements are intended to improve the capacity, efficiency, safety and security of the National Airspace System by providing both air- and groundbased personnel with improved real-time situational awareness of the entire flying environment.
"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," said Mike Lewis, Boeing program manager for the GCNSS project.
In February 2003, the team began to demonstrate the effectiveness of improved connectivity in the air system on a test flight from Seattle onboard Connexion One, a specially equipped 737 aircraft that Connexion by Boeing operates, offering airborne broadband communications capabilities. Customers from the FAA were aboard the flight as well as in ATM's McLean, Va., lab facility to witness these initial tests and to see firsthand the promise that improved connectivity holds.
Capabilities the GCNSS team demonstrated, among others:
The team accomplished all of these transmissions 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," Lewis said.
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