Wouldn't it be great to climb into your air taxi and arrive at your destination long before you would have gotten off the ground in a commercial aircraft?
NASA's Langley Research Center and its Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) project partners are researching an old idea: practical, personal travel by air. Within five to ten years NASA researchers say aircraft should be capable of safely and efficiently flying in nearly all weather, to any of 3,400 public airports in this country.
Cockpits such as this one contain on-board computing, advanced flight controls, Highway in the Sky displays, and automated air traffic separation and sequencing technologies.
Research is under way to develop technologies and procedures to help planes safely fly into rural and suburban airports that don't have radar or air traffic control towers. Cockpit systems are already being developed to help pilots land safely in low visibility conditions.
The National Consortium for Aviation Mobility has chosen Danville Regional Airport, Danville, Va. as the location for the SATS research test site.
Groups of people who need to travel could hire air transportation similar to NASA's 507 aircraft, leave from a neighboring airport and land anywhere they wish.
In mid-2005 NASA and the National Consortium have plans for an operational demonstration of aircraft equipped with these new technologies. They want to show how these advances benefit the traveling public delivering reliable, safe air transportation. This was based on information that shows that 93 percent of people in the U.S. live within 30 minutes of a small airport.
NASA's partnership is developing the ability to make flying in small planes safe, affordable and convenient. Traveling by air could be as easy as driving a car or hailing a taxi.
For further information visit:
NASA's Langley Research Center and John F. Kennedy Space Center