Mon, Jun 07, 2004
Hopes To Take Some Of The Load Off Controllers
Since 1997, NASA has spent some $55
million, trying to come up with a way to triple the volume of air
traffic while reducing the number of aviation accidents at the same
time. Now, researchers at NASA/Langley think they may have the
solution -- the Autonomous Operations Planner.
The idea is to help pilots sort out their own flight path,
weaving through traffic on a course that best matches their speed,
altitude and destination. It's supposed to plug right into existing
onboard flight-management systems.
"There's a lot more information available to me," said Rick
Shay, a 767 pilot and paid NASA.
Reaction from outside the project, according to the
Knight-Ridder News Service, is hopeful -- but cautious.
"All this new technology has to be
designed with a lot of very careful human factors and
considerations," said ALPA spokesman John Mazur. "You can't just
take something that an engineer thinks is neat off the drawing
board and put it on an airplane without looking at how it's going
to be used and how the pilot is going to interface with the
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