Next-Generation Air Transportation System to Ultimately Succeed, Computer Scientist Predicts

Dec 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen, is due for national implementation in stages between now and 2018. "I am predicting ultimate success and a system that will provide a much safer travel environment," says Dr. David Brown, a University of Alabama professor who has used data mining to help improve FAA safety databases.

The Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen, is due for implementation across the United States in stages between now and 2018. To implement this new system, the Federal Aviation Administration will undertake a wide-ranging transformation of the entire air transportation system.

“It is very well known that the current air transportation system is under increasing stress from gridlocks and delays,” says Dr. David Brown, professor of computer science at The University of Alabama and a nationally recognized expert on using database retrieval technology to help improve and FAA safety databases. “The recent computer problem in November with the FAA system that collects airlines’ flight plans caused widespread cancellations and delays.”

The NextGen system moves from the current ground-based technologies to more dynamic satellite-based technologies. The first phase will be the automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, which will use satellite signals, and will begin after the proposed rule is finalized around 2010.

“If history is any indicator, I would predict it will be a complete flop because they have tried this recently, but to no avail,” says Brown. “Given that they have to upgrade, however, I would think that perhaps they have learned from their past mistakes and instead of a big bang approach will do some smaller scale prototyping and testing. I also expect them to put a plan into effect to allow the new system to evolve concurrently as the old system is being phased out.”

“So, I am predicting ultimate success and a system that will provide a much safer travel environment,” explains Brown.

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