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Kathy Barnstorff
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
(Office: 757/864-9886/Cellular: 757/344-8511)

Colleen Robar Mullen (NCAM representative), Detroit, Mi.
(Office: 313/394-0304/Cellular: 313/304-8639)
RELEASE : 05-029
SATS 2005 Technology Event to Attract Noted Aviation Experts

Nationally recognized aviation experts will help kick off SATS 2005, a demonstration of technologies that could lead to a transformation of air travel, next month in Danville, Va.

Expected to attend the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) event, June 5-7, are NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Marion Blakey, NASA Associate Administrator Dr. J. Victor Lebacqz and well-known aviation author and journalist James Fallows.

The event will showcase technologies designed to make small planes more accessible to more people. Nearly all of the people in the U.S. live within 30 minutes of an under-used community airport. SATS technology allows single-pilot planes to fly more safely and freely into more than 3,500 airports, including many without radar or air traffic control towers.

SATS 2005: A Transformation of Air Travel is the culmination of a five-year, public-private research partnership between NASA, the FAA and the National Consortium for Aviation Mobility (NCAM), which includes SATS laboratories in more than a half dozen states.

"SATS is a vision for a new kind of air travel that will complement today's airline system. Cockpit technologies already being developed will allow new classes of aircraft including very light jets and other advanced small planes to use neighborhood airports to fly people from place to place," said Jerry Hefner, NASA SATS project manager at the Langley Research Center.

"The caliber of industry leaders willing to come to the Danville Regional Airport to see what the project has achieved is a testament to the hard work of all the SATS partners," said Pete McHugh, FAA SATS program manager.

"We're excited to receive the support of influential officials like the heads of NASA and the FAA," seconded Jack Sheehan, NCAM president. "Their commitment to improve accessibility and affordability of air travel for everyone, especially those who live near under-used community airports, is what the SATS vision is all about."

SATS 2005 will open with a "fly-in" to the Danville Regional Airport June 5. Designed to inspire the next generation of explorers, a LEGO Mindstorm Robotics Competition is also slated for Sunday. Teams of students build mechanical robots out of LEGO building blocks and compete against each other.

Monday, June 6, is the premiere day of the demonstration with doors opening at 8 a.m. Students and visitors will be able see the latest aviation technologies that will make small planes more accessible to more airports, plus hear from experts on what impact SATS could have on businesses and communities. The tentative schedule has Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Virginia), the NASA and FAA Administrators, and Phil Boyer, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association president, speaking from 10:15 -11 a.m.

They will be followed by a live demonstration of the SATS technologies and operating capabilities featuring a number of small aircraft. Live video will be beamed from the cockpits onto huge screens making the crowd of on-lookers "virtual co-pilots."

Other dignitaries expected to appear on June 6 are the executive vice-president of NetJets Richard Smith and author James Fallows. Up and coming aviation companies such as Cirrus, Eclipse and SATS Air will also showcase their aircraft and expertise.

SATS 2005 will open at 9 a.m., Tuesday, June 7. On the agenda that day is a presentation of a new research aircraft developed by Honda as well as panel discussions featuring additional aircraft manufacturers, including Adam and Cessna. All during the three-day event hundreds of students from the surrounding community will also have a chance to check out aircraft of the future and take part in hands-on aviation experiences.

SATS research has focused on four operating capabilities that may help permit 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

For more information on SATS 2005: A Transformation of Air Travel, please check the Internet at:

Media credentials are available for SATS 2005. Contact NCAM's Colleen Robar at or 313-394-0304 or register online at


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