Reason To Give Thanks

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Highway In The Sky Inches Nearer...

The long-awaited Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) gets its first practical trial sometime in 2005 at the Danville Regional Airport in Virginia. The system is designed to empower GA by giving small aircraft and small airports the technology (like WAAS) to provide safe, reliable point-to-point air travel, free from the more typical "New York to Chicago to reach Dayton" routing imposed by airline hubs. And free from the two-hour drive necessary to arrive at that major airport on time. "These technologies could help planes safely fly into underutilized rural and suburban airports, including many airfields that don't have radar or air traffic control towers," said a NASA news release. About 93 percent of Americans live within 30 minutes of such an airport. Most of the technology required to accomplish this is already in use or close to it. The key, according to NASA, is making all the various pieces work together to allow airline-type safety and reliability in four- to 10-seat aircraft. The four major goals of the test in Danville (and the system in general) are to allow more traffic to safely use non-towered airports, allow IMC operations at airports without a conventional ILS, increase the single-pilot performance and allow SATS aircraft to move easily within the National Airspace System.