As unnerving as it is to hear, air traffic control has always been pretty piecemeal. Relying on a combination of instrumentation—namely, radar, radios, and GPS—as well as good old fashioned eyeballs, pilots do a pretty good job navigating the sky. But they’re about to get a lot better with a new satellite-based system.
Designers of the Federal Aviation Administration's futuristic, new air traffic control system did a whoops. Despite explicit instructions from Congress to take drones into account, they failed to include them in the plans for the $5 billion NextGen system. And it's definitely too late to start over.
The air traffic control tower is the most important part of any airport, yet it's also the most unacknowledged. Fliers seldom stop to admire their ethereal beauty and futuristic silhouettes. We're missing out: These towers are fascinating architectural specimens.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just announced the six sites across the country that will host tests to see how drones could fly in the same skies as commercial aircraft. Naturally, geography, climate, safety and use of airspace were the decisive factors.
Think Los Angeles at rush hour is bad? Try doing it half-blindfolded with nothing but a radio and a few blinking lights to show you the way. That's how pilots navigate the invisible highways in the sky, and there's a beautiful design that makes it all work. It only took about a hundred years to come up with it.
So maybe safely guiding in airplanes from the comfort of a living room couch isn't the greatest idea. But that's exactly what Saab's new remote air traffic control towers will allow. Some day ATC crews won't have to be anywhere near an airport to do their job.
As we learned over at the New York Times today, if you were perusing the personal blogs of Japanese air traffic controllers in November you might have come across detailed flight plans for Air Force One. Oops!
In the wake of several high-profile incidents where air traffic controllers were caught falling asleep while working, the FAA has decided to change its work rules. But it still won't allow controllers to take naps. Why not?
For the third time in almost as many weeks, reports have surfaced of an air traffic controller falling asleep at his post. This time, in Reno, a medical plane carrying a sick passenger had to land without tower assistance in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Something's seriously wrong here.
An unnamed air traffic controller at Knoxville's McGhee Tyson airport fell asleep for five hours during his night shift on Feb. 19, leaving seven aircraft to land without their primary officer. And he did it intentionally.
Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, two DC airliners approached Washington DC's Reagan National Airport. They waited for guidance from air traffic control. And waited. And waited. And waited. They never got a response.
It was just after midday in San Diego, California, when the disruption started. In the tower at the airport, air-traffic controllers peered at their monitors only to find that their system for tracking incoming planes was malfunctioning. At the Naval Medical Center, emergency pagers used for summoning doctors stopped…
This is the brain of the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Harry S. Truman—its air control center. From here, the ship performs its core function: Command around 64 aircraft, including F/A-18F Super Hornets, Hornets, Prowlers, Hawkeyes, Greyhounds, and Seahawk helicopters.
Click to view On February 17th, an air traffic controller let his little boy take the reigns for at least five transmissions to commercial jets at JFK International. This was terribly dangerous breach of protocol! And so totally awesome for the kid.