Sunday, March 18, 2012

NextGen GPS Air Navigation Launched in Dallas


The airport in Dallas, Texas has a new way to route their planes today, using GPS technology. Developed by the Federal Aviation Administration, NextGen is a satellite-based navigation system that promises to get planes in the air sooner, back on the ground faster and overall make the planes more efficient on fuel consumption, pollution and more.

The program consists of a suite of 80 technology upgrades that transform the World War II era radar technology currently used to more high-tech satellite tracking. While several parts of this technology have already been in place at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field will come online today.

From what I have read, the NextGen program has had quite the rocky start first with funding issues preventing roll-out as soon as initially planned and then with reports of glitches in the programs in August when the first of the NextGen software upgrades were distributed to air traffic controllers around the country. The program itself is quite expensive, and an article written by The Hill estimates it will cost $40 billion to implement across the country. Airlines will also have to upgrade their plane computer systems, an estimated cost of about $20 billion. There are currently about 30 airports that have NextGen technology installed and operating. Full roll-out of the program isn’t expected to be completed until 2020.

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