FAA Challenges Students To Innovate Data Usage In The NAS


The FAA announced today (March 27) it has launched the “2024 FAA Data Challenge.” The object of the program is to invite university students to explore possibilities for innovating the information and data associated with the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). The competition will be implemented by HeroX, self-described as an “open marketplace for crowdsourcing innovation and human ingenuity.” HeroX was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Christian Cotichini and XPrize founder Peter Diamandis.

Marseta Dill, FAA acting Chief Data Officer, said, “This Challenge is centered around using data more effectively to support the FAA’s mission of driving innovation through improved access to data. We want to reach those who will become the transportation leaders of tomorrow and invite them to participate.”

The FAA expects competitors to tap artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and advanced analytics to help solve issues related to aviation safety, operational efficiency, sustainability, “and the exploration of novel NAS applications.” Prize money will be awarded in two phases—an initial phase where up to 10 finalists will receive $1,000, plus an $8,000 stipend to attend the Phase 2 event, where they will present their solutions to FAA officials and members of the aviation community. Phase 2 includes an overall purse of $90,000 that will be divided among the 10 competitors based on their performance in the second-phase event.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.


  1. So, we spend bajillions on the FAA and they are not able to do this on their own? Here’s an idea – shut down the FAA and let free market of for-profit companies do the job. The homebuilt aircraft industry is a great example of the innovation that occurs when government gets out of the way.

    • Yeah. I investigate homebuilt accidents monthly. Great example of safety. And I’m sure there would absolutely no corruption at all if a for-profit company provided oversight.

  2. “aviation safety, operational efficiency, sustainability”

    I’ll bite.
    When you hear the word FAA, is the word “sustainability” even on your list?