NASA is restructuring its aeronautics research programs, including fundamental aeronautics, airspace systems, aviation safety and aeronautics testing. Among the goals of the restructuring are protecting and maintaining NASA’s key aeronautics research and test facilities as national assets.
The Small Airplane Transportation System (SATS) demonstration came to what most consider a successful conclusion last summer with demonstration flights and exhibits in Danville, Va., but where the technology goes from here is anybody’s guess.
NASA is requesting 3.2 percent more for its FY2007 budget than it requested for this fiscal year, but the agency’s aeronautics division may not benefit from the proposed increase. In fact, the Aeronautics Mission Research Directorate might lose 18 percent of its funding. The agency’s request went to Congress for debate early last month.
Testifying before the House space and aeronautics subcommittee last month, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president and CEO John Douglass said NASA must take specific and immediate action to meet a coming workforce crisis head on, and the aerospace industry can help.
Reductions to NASA’s aeronautics budgets are undermining critical research for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS), according to Dr. Michael Romanowski, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) vice president for civil aviation.
A NASA research program has led to a U.S. patent for a system designed to warn pilots when energy levels on approach stray outside normal ranges. Awarded in July, the patent is for a system and related software designed to analyze “kinetic and potential energy” on approach and takeoff to determine if the aircraft “will be put in an anomalous configuration” when joining a stable approach or takeoff path.
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