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Kimberly W. Land
(757) 864-9885
For Release: Jan. 14, 1999

RELEASE NO. 99-002

Speaker to discuss how satellites are sparking a revolution in air travel

It used to be that pilots got the navigational information they needed by talking with air traffic controllers and paying attention to the blinking runway lights. Increasingly, however, the flying public is getting where it's going through cutting-edge technologies that even make use of outer space.

Orbiting satellites are beaming location information directly into airplane cockpits, and high-speed digital-data communications are advising pilots of weather and air traffic conditions.

This revolution in flight will be discussed by aviation authority Cary R. Spitzer at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, at NASA Langley's H.J.E Reid Conference Center.

According to Spitzer, many aircraft operators and nations are beginning to use a new system called Communications Navigation Surveillance for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) to improve air safety and capacity and reduce operating costs.

Spitzer will discuss how NASA Langley and other organizations have developed and demonstrated CNS/ATM technologies and procedures. The talk will also review the technologies involved, the anticipated benefits, and its international status.

Spitzer joined NASA Langley after serving in the Air Force. During his last tenure at NASA, he focused on avionics.

Before recently retiring from Langley, Spitzer managed a joint NASA/Honeywell program that led to the first satellite-guided automatic landing of a passenger airplane. He also led a project to define the requirements for an aircraft that could be used for flight research. Today that aircraft is NASA Langley's "flying laboratory, " an extensively modified Boeing 757 known as ARIES, or Airborne Research Integrated Experiments System.

A media briefing will be held at 1:15 p.m. in the Wythe Room of the Reid Conference Center, 14 Langley Blvd. in Hampton. Media who wish to attend the briefing should contact Kimberly Land at (757) 864-9885.

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