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For Release: April 4, 1996

Catherine E. Watson
(804) 864-6122

Release No. 96-025

Flying Cars to Pilotless Airplanes: The Future of Aviation in the Information Age

Pilotless airplanes communicating with each other in the air and on the ground, cars flying down the freeway, literally. That’s the future of aviation according to Steve Crow, an engineering professor at the University of Arizona. Crow will discuss his view of the future of aviation in the information age at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at the NASA Langley H.J.E. Reid Conference Center, Hampton, Va.

According to Crow, computer microprocessor speeds are 25,000 times faster than they were 25 years ago - representing an increase of 50 percent a year, with no sign of slowing. Personal computers now have the power to monitor hundreds of variables on individual aircraft; these variables provided by the orbiting satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Crow says maybe by the year 2020, the airplane will rank with the automobile and computer as an agent of personal freedom.

Steve Crow is a professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at The University of Arizona and is presently on sabbatical at Stanford University. He is known for his research on aircraft vortex wakes, jet noise, sonic booms, submarine hydrodynamics, and GPS guidance and control.

There will be a media briefing at 1:15 p.m. in the Wythe Room of the H.J.E. Reid Conference Center. Media who wish to attend this briefing should contact Catherine Watson at (804) 864-6122.

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