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NASA Reviews Feedback on APiJET's Digital Winglets Program

Real Time Flight Routing Saves Fuel, Money at Carrier Scale

NASA has published a brief review of its success in a pilot program with carriers using an EFB-based routing app that provides en-route, real time guidance for improved efficiency and flight times.

The Regulator designed the Traffic-Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR) system, a piece of algorithmic software that crunches the specs of each and every route possibility to provide the best choice for pilots. With the basis for routing, NASA found an eager partner in APiJET (formerly iJET), a connectivity company that offered a broad spectrum of updated info throughout the air traffic system. The firm licensed TASAR from NASA for use in their "Digital Winglets" app, named after the NASA invention.

The result? They burn less gas, and get to their destination sooner. The margins aren't ludicrous improvements, of course - even the demo images published show a maximum route improvement of just over 4 minutes, with the lower end saving only 1 minute. But at scale, those improvements can add up, particularly with fuel. CEO Rob Green said that Alaska Airlines has found their app to save about 2% on fuel overall, or about 28,000 pounds for every hundred flights made. A few more airlines are trialing the app now, with Frontier the closest to widespread use. The carrier is currently field testing it in limited numbers, finding similar performance to Alaska.

NASA points to the success story to highlight its utility in the private sector, where taxpayer-funded technologies can be licensed to enterprises to kickstart the next generation of economic revolution - however small.

FMI: www.spinoff.nasa.gov

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