United States Air Traffic Control System

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Innovations and Modernization of the United States’ Air Traffic Control System

The modernization of the United States’ air traffic control system has been a slow process encumbered with politics and reluctance for change. The purpose of air traffic control is the safe and expeditious flow of air traffic through the National Airspace System (NAS). Simply, air traffic contol’s job is to ensure that an airplane departs point A and reaches point B safely and as quickly as possible. The point of this is simple: to protect lives, to save aircraft operators money, and to protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions through shorter flight times. This is all done through antiquated technology that dates back to World War 2. Radar was
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The transformation is multifaceted. It takes various technologies and merges them into one system. Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) are being utilized to provide navigation to pilots on specialized departure procedures that offer optimum climbs without leveling off prior to reaching cruising altitude, in the enroute stage of flight providing the most direct route from point A to point B, and in the arrival/final approach phase of flight enabling the pilot to pull back the aircraft’s engines to idle and glide from cruising altitudes to the airport, thus minimizing fuel usage that saves money and the environment. NextGen technology is paired with new air traffic control interfaces (radar scopes) that offer high definition displays and new software that provides many features that assist air traffic controllers in their daily controlling …show more content…
Juneau, AK sits between tall mountains that prevent radar signals from providing adequate coverage. As a result, very restrictive non-radar procedures needed to be applied to aircraft departing and arriving Juneau’s airport. This did not allow for an efficient flow of air traffic causing delays to inbound and outbound aircraft. The FAA successfully upgraded Juneau Air Traffic Control Tower with this innovative technology allowing the controllers to “see” aircraft descending between the mountains into Juneau International Airport. Other success stories include Nextgen use over the Gulf of Mexico, Palm Springs, CA, and Denver International Airport arrival

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