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Kathy Barnstorff
(757) 864-9886

RELEASE NO. 00-023

For Release: June 2, 2000

NASA honors innovations with special awards

     A technology designed to reduce airport delays in bad weather has won recognition at a NASA conference in Huntsville, Ala.

TGIR Conference Logo     A NASA "top ten" list of aerospace advances for 1999 singled out that project and a number of other innovations developed at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

     A Langley-based 757 aircraft demonstrated Airborne Information for Lateral Spacing (AILS) at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last fall. The system expands on existing communication and navigation technology to allow planes to land safely in bad weather on parallel runways spaced as close as 2,500 feet apart.

     The AILS system was developed with the help of engineers at the Honeywell Technology Center and the NASA Ames Research Center.

     Langley engineers also received honors for their work on three other teams: Tu-144 high speed research, tiltrotor noise abatement and NASA project systems analysis.

     Among the members of the Tu-144 high speed research team is Langley pilot, Rob Rivers. Rivers was the first westerner to fly the Russian supersonic Tu-144 aircraft.

     For the tiltrotor noise abatement project, engineers demonstrated low noise design concepts in a Langley wind tunnel and developed operational flight procedures that reduced engine noise on the ground. Tiltrotor aircraft are airplanes that take off and land vertically like helicopters, but whose rotors/engines rotate into a horizontal position for horizontal flight.

     The NASA awards program recognizes advances in three categories: Global Civil Aviation, Revolutionary Technology Leaps and Advanced Space Transportation. Ten subcategories honor nominees whose work represents exceptional achievements related to health, safety, the environment, cost reduction and technical innovation.

     Other awards from across NASA and the aerospace industry include those for aviation emissions reduction, next generation experimental aircraft, low cost access to space and other categories.

     A complete overview of the awards, details about the research and a full list of the participating NASA Centers and industry organizations honored is on the Internet at the "Turning Goals into Reality" web site at:

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