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The Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) 2005 Technology Demonstration

Air travel could get easier in the future with the introduction of a new kind of service -- the air taxi. The day may come, perhaps within five years, when you'll be able to take a safer, affordable small plane from your neighborhood airport to a destination as much as a thousand miles away.

Aircraft manufacturers are now designing advanced micro-jets, thanks in part to technology developed by NASA and its government and industry partners. Before this new generation of planes can take to the sky, they have to not only fit into the current U.S. aviation system, but also win the confidence of passengers who are more comfortable with larger aircraft.

A Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) technology demonstration set for June 5 - 7, 2005, in Danville, Va., will showcase some of the operating capabilities developed to make small aircraft and airports more accessible to more people.

SATS 2005 logo

Image to right: SATS 2005 Technology Demonstration logo

SATS 2005: A Transformation in Air Travel is the result of five years of research conducted by NASA's SATS project, the National Consortium for Aviation Mobility (NCAM) and the Federal Aviation Administration. The goal of the public-private partnership is to show that emerging aviation technologies can be integrated into operations in a small airport environment.

The SATS 2005 three-day event is designed to attract the aviation entrepreneurs and enthusiasts, the public and leaders in industry, Congress, other government agencies, and state and local economic development leaders. Students will also participate in a SATS educational experience that will teach through interactive displays.

SATS 2005 will open with a fly-in to the Danville Regional Airport on Sunday, June 5, followed by two days of technology demonstrations, aircraft displays and in-depth business and economic analysis presentations. Planes from NASA and NCAM's SATS laboratories in Indiana, Maryland (Mid-Atlantic), Michigan, North Carolina (Upper Great Plains), the Southeast and Virginia are expected to take part in the flight demonstrations.

Small Aircraft Transportation System research is focusing on four operating capabilities that will help people and goods to travel faster and farther, anywhere and any time. These technologies would allow:

  • Higher volume operations at airports that don't have control towers or terminal radar
  • Pilots to land safely in low visibility conditions at minimally equipped airports
  • Increased single pilot performance
  • SATS aircraft to integrate seamlessly into the complex national airspace

SATS technology would allow planes with people and products on board to safely fly into under-used regional, rural and suburban airports. That includes many airfields that don 't have radar or air traffic control towers. Nearly all of the people in the U.S. live within 30 minutes of one of these airports.

Kathy Barnstorff
NASA Langley Research Center