Recently we wrote about how a UK railway is telling its engineers to shut off one of their engines while coasting downhill and to close doors sooner on tardy passengers. Now the FAA is looking at simple ways to reduce fuel use as well.
Last week, FAA officials at San Francisco International Airport were monitoring a Boeing 777 Airways New Zealand flight from Auckland to check on how many more efficiencies can be obtained through control and monitoring of the flight using satellite-based GPs rather than ground-based radar.
The project is an attempt by FAA to streamline trans-Pacific flights and the flight was the first of its kind for the airline. The Airways New Zealand pilot said the flight saved 1,200 gallons of jet fuel, avoiding 12 tons of carbon from being emitted into the air. A bonus was passengers arrived five mines earlier than anticipated.
The coordinated use of GPS by the pilot and air traffic control personnel allowed planes to take a more direct and fuel-efficient flight route.
Robert Sturgell, the FAA's acting administrator, said the new flight navigational technology means the skies are like a town with no need for traffic signals because all of the car movements are synchronized. The new technology will improve safety, decrease delays and lower fuel costs, says the FAA.
“With jet fuel going for three to four dollars a gallon, and more people than ever wanting to fly, we need to do everything we can to ensure that aviation remains a safe and efficient means of getting there,'' said Sturgell.
The GPS-enabled technology monitored every aspect of the flight from taxiing on the ground, climbing to cruise altitude and finding the most direct route before applying the smoothest and most gradual descent approach available.
The program, which will cost taxpayers $16 billion to $22 billion, will gradually be introduced across the country, with nationwide conversion to satellite-based air traffic control by 2025. Using the program, said the FAA, could FAA's NextGen program is gradually being introduced across the country, with nationwide conversion to satellite-based air traffic control expected by 2025.
written by Yoshi, September 17, 2008
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