No Silver Bullet for Complex Problem Says NASA Researcher
Michael Bloem Image of Michael Bloem
Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

“I want to help design the Next Generation air traffic control system,” said Michael Bloem, an aerospace engineer working in NASA Ames’ Automation Concepts Research Branch. “The air traffic control problem is what attracted me to NASA.”

For the last fifteen years, NASA Aeronautics has been working in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop software tools for our country’s airspace infrastructure.

As an expert in control theory and optimization, he has applied these tools to air traffic flow management and anticipates studying the economics of safely changing the national airspace configuration. “I am confident that careful modeling, rigorous application of mathematical theory, and insightful consideration of cost tradeoffs and user preferences will bear fruit in air traffic control system design,” he said.

Bloem was born in Southfield, Mich., in 1982. As a young boy, he liked to design and build vehicles or buildings with Lego toy pieces, as commissioned by his two brothers. In high school, his favorite subject was science, and for fun he would enter math competitions. After graduating with honors from Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Mich. he moved to Nigeria to do community development work. One year later, he was off to Champaign- Urbana, Ill. where he earned another degree in electrical and computer engineering, but this time it was a masters of science.

“There is no silver bullet solution that will fix this problem,” said Bloem. “I have been impressed and sometimes discouraged by the complexities and difficulties of the air traffic control problem. However, I am hopeful that we will create a new system that meets society’s needs.” Bloem wants to continue his graduate studies.

Ruth Dasso Marlaire
Public Affairs Specialist
NASA Ames Research Center