...But Future Gets Funded
While funding to maintain the current aviation system is scarce, the system of the future is getting strong support. The proposed budget triples funding for the Joint Planning and Development Office, whose mandate is to transform the nation's air transportation system to meet the needs of the year 2025. The Transportation Department says the next-generation air transportation system will allow travelers to choose how, where and when they want to travel while making their experience as safe, secure and hassle-free as possible. The budget also requests $2.4 billion to improve and modernize the National Airspace System. Over at NASA, however, funding for aeronautical research faces deep cuts. In fiscal year 2006, funding declines from about $900 million to $852 million, with further declines projected through 2010. NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate conducts research into advanced propulsion technologies using hydrogen fuel; airframe and propulsion technologies for noise reduction; lightweight, high-strength structures; modern decision-support tools; revolutionary display and control systems; adverse weather countermeasures; adaptive controls; and advanced vehicle designs. In collaboration with the FAA, the directorate also conducts research in air traffic management technologies.