Monday, November 29, 2010


Boeing X-37 Orbital Spaceplane   Image: Boeing

Publisher's Note: Within its "Celebration of Flight" series, the GE people have crafted an intricate yet beautiful cinematic ballet of flying in all its glory by bringing together the multitude of take-offs and landings that occur over the course of a single day. And, among other items of note, a detailed look at a satellite-based air traffic management system that takes yet another step towards a paradigm shift in how the world's airways are utilized.

Many will agree with GE's sentiment expressed thusly: "Holiday air travel is notoriously stressful, filled with long lines and seeming-endless delays. But one technology may change the entire experience of flying, by helping keep planes on schedule, using crowded airspace more efficiently, and letting airlines cut fuel use and emissions.

"Known as RNP, for Required Navigation Performance, the technology replaces traditional, land-based beacons that have guided planes for decades. Instead, it uses satellites and sophisticated computers aboard the plane itself to create highly specific flight paths that are shorter and more exact than the ones provided by today’s outdated ground-based network."

"To slip the surly bonds of earth on laughter silvered [supersonic] wings..." Image: Telegraph UK

As one who has had the privilege of flying British Airways Concorde four times before its retirement in 2003 -including an opportunity to sit in the FAA observer's seat from roll-out to 60,000ft at Mach 2.02 (1,340 mph) - flying backseat in former Group 44 Jaguar Racing executive Bob Tullius' P-51 Mustang,  and looping a Stearman with former Jaguar NA President Mike Dale, I never cease to be amazed by the wonder of flight...

Myron D. Stokes

Image Courtesy of FighterAce, Ketsujin Studios

Related: Crisis on Asimov: A Vision of 2085 - Dr. Sheila R. Ronis
Archives: Boeing Air Traffic Management - Revolutionary Concewth While Cutting Delays