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Transforming the U.S. Air Transportation System Andres Zellweger, PhD ERAU and NASA Headquarters Herman A. Rediess, PhD Director, Office of Aviation Research, FAA Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry

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transforming the u s air transportation system

Transforming the U.S. Air Transportation System

Andres Zellweger, PhD

ERAU and NASA Headquarters

Herman A. Rediess, PhD

Director, Office of Aviation Research, FAA

commission on the future of the united states aerospace industry
Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry

Transforming the U.S. air transportation system to meet our civil aviation, national defense, and homeland security needs is a national priority

  • The Administration should establish a next generation Air Transportation System Joint Program Office that brings together the needed participation from FAA, NASA, DoD, DHS, NOAA and other government agencies
  • Within a year, the Joint Program Office should present a plan to the Administration and the Congress outlining the overall strategy, schedule, and resources needed to develop and deploy the nations next generation air transportation system
established a joint planning office

Established a Joint Planning Office

…that sets goals and aligns missions across government to ensure that the United States stays at the forefront of aviation and meets the demand of the future.

A Roadmap to 2025 and Beyond!

what are we proposing
What are we proposing ?
  • To build a long term Vision ( 2025 and beyond) of the National Air Transportation System
  • To enable this vision, develop a National Transformation Plan that includes a unified inter-agency research and development program.
  • Align the resources and activities of NASA, FAA, DOD, DOC, and DHS in support of this Plan
  • Create process for continued planning, coordination, periodic reviews and program oversight
scope the air transportation system
SCOPE - the Air Transportation System
  • The system that allows vehicles, both manned and unmanned, to operate safely, securely, and efficiently in the National Airspace System (NAS), including U.S. airports.
  • This system must:
    • provide for mobility of people and goods
    • be affordable and environmentally responsible
    • support global interoperability
    • meet the needs for defense and homeland security
    • adapt to the demands of the free market
    • fairly allocate scarce resources where necessary.
transformation strategy
Transformation Strategy
  • Identify long term national needs
  • Postulate air transportation system concepts to meet those needs
  • Adopt a “strategic evolution” process
    • define evolutionary pathway that
      • provides near term benefits
      • meets long term national needs
    • adjust the pathway over time as we learn more
transformation strategy7
Transformation Strategy

Research refines concepts and transition steps

Future Concepts

Transition Steps


Transition space

FAA Operational Evolution Plan guides implementation of the transition steps

Current NAS



This strategy will put the air transportation system on the path of transformation to meet the long term needs of our nation and achieve near-term benefits along that path

the national plan will include
The National Plan will include:
  • Associated policies, technology, processes
  • Overall operational concepts
  • Supporting research
  • Implementation strategies
  • Policy and implementation commitments

Inter-Departmental Policy Committee

Joint Planning







Strategic Plan

& Perf. Goals

Strategic Plan

& Perf. Goals

Strategic Plan

& Perf. Goals

Strategic Plan

& Perf. Goals

Strategic Plan

& Perf. Goals



Institutionalize within each agencies planning processes and programs



what s different about this approach
What’s different about this approach?
  • Transformation not Modernization
  • Gov’t and industry wide requirements (efficiency, safety, capacity, security, defense)
  • Inter-agency plan approved by high level policy board
  • Has a body that provides for continuous inter-agency coordination and oversight
  • Driven by operations concept that is globally interoperable
2003 goal
2003 Goal
  • Develop a National Plan that includes:

1.National Vision for 2025

2.Socio-Economic Demand Forecast

3.Goals and Policy

4.Operational Concepts and Transition Roadmap

5.Research Requirements/Plan

purpose of chapter 1 2 3

Vision (Chapter 1)

Develop a compelling case for and a unified vision of a 21st century air transportation system that is significantly faster, safer, more secure, quieter and cleaner than today’s system and provides high quality and affordable service to all of its customers.

Socio-Economic Demand Forecast (Chapter 2)

Justify the importance of investing in air transportation by identifying the socio-economic drivers of and national value of air transportation, forecast the anticipated shortfall of air transportation supply relative to demand through the year 2025, and value the shortfall.

Goals & Policy (Chapter 3)

Define National goals and policies for what the air transportation system must provide to achieve the vision and to meet the socio-economic demand.

Purpose of Chapter 1, 2 & 3
air transportation system national plan
Air Transportation System National Plan




Quality of Life


  • Values

















      • National
  • Goals
      • National
  • Goals
      • National
  • Goals
      • National
  • Goals
      • National
  • Goals


  • System Operational Concept
unified vision
Unified Vision
  • A unified compelling vision endorsed by the aviation community is needed to -
    • Help America understand the critical role air transportation plays in our economy and quality of life
    • Make air transportation a national (international) priority
    • Help the “right” organization focus on the “right” problems
      • Policy makers, service providers, equipment providers, researchers
  • The “vision” will be a high-level statement of what the future air transportation should provide
  • Numerous aviation vision statements exist
  • Approach is to synthesize existing visions into one proposed unified vision, then solicit consensus
imagine the future
Imagine the Future
  • Traveling without delay, on your schedule, directly between your home or place of business to your destination
  • Arriving at an airport and walking directly to your aircraft
  • Flying anywhere in the world and returning the same day
  • Moving packages and products to any zip code in the nation the day they are ordered, international destinations the next day
  • Any community, regardless of size, having affordable access to air transportation
  • A system without fatalities and major injuries
  • A system so quiet that communities clamor to have an airport in their neighborhoods
  • Seamless reservations and transition between modes
socio economic demand forecast
Socio-Economic Demand Forecast


  • National value of air transportation
  • Examine economic, quality-of-life, safety and security aspects of civil aviation’s place in the U.S. economy.
  • Provide economic valuation.
  • Future air transportation demand
  • Forecast anticipated growth in air demand to 2015 and 2025 based on accepted modeling tools.
  • Identify socio-economic growth constraints and enablers that may affect the growth and patterns of future air transportation demand.
  • Identify possible futures for air transportation demand based on interactions of economic growth and socio-economic constraints and enablers.


  • Shortfall: capacity assessment vs. anticipated demand
  • Identify critical gaps between today’s plans for future capacity and tomorrow’s anticipated demand, and identify barriers to meeting that demand.
  • Identify major policy implications and fiscal considerations that could help or hinder a transformational effort.
alternative futures
Alternative Futures
  • High-end alternative:
  • Accelerated growth forecast to 2025
  • Optimistic, potential view of growth
  • Baseline:
  • FAA Long Range Forecast to 2025
  • Community validated & accepted
  • Low-end alternative:
  • Constrained growth forecast to 2025
  • Used to identify constraints (sensitivity)
  • Not intended for use in formal forecast
national goals and policies
National Goals and Policies
  • National goals define what the air transportation system must provide to enable the vision and to meet the socio-economic demand
  • National policy is the commitment to enable the vision and goals and frames the necessary roles and rules for government and industry
    • Lower-level policies associated with specific operational concepts will be addressed within those concepts
  • Goals discussion to be built about five categories of service value:
    • Speed and Efficiency
    • Flexible and Reliable
    • Quality and Affordable
    • Safety and Security
    • Quiet and Clean
mission profile

The numerical case for aviation mission needs and factors affecting how and where aviation is used (both supply and demand).

4-6 scenarios will define the range of possible futures.

They will capture service rates, forecasts, user behaviors & trends, and other business factors (including route structure and aircraft mix).

Mission Profile
operations concepts and transformation steps chapter 4

This is the ‘how to’ section of the National Plan that describes the future operations possibilities 

  • Future concepts are described in terms of alternative ways in which a service is provided.
  • Thetransformation to future operations is described terms of:
  • - the procedures
  • the people in the system
  • the products with special attention to cockpit evolution
  • the policies that will drive the transformation.
Operations Concepts and Transformation Steps (Chapter 4)
operations concepts
Operations Concepts

Services: Flight Planning, Strategic Traffic Mgmt, Tactical Traffic Mgmt, Navigation Services; Separation Assurance, etc.




























. . .

Connecting services, including 4-Ps (people, procedures,

products, and policies) gives a holistic concept


Strategic Roadmap: (big picture on one page)

- Key shifts in public policy or a publicly visible aspect of the industry or operations

Transformation Steps: (details, several pages)

- Potential changes to regulations, roles or operations to achieve the vision

Decision Trees:

- A diagram that shows key decision points where possible paths to the future diverge

transition steps

Enhanced feedback on flight planning

Interactive flight planning AOC/ATM

Enhanced Interactive flight planning

4D contract flight plan

Transition Steps
  • Several views in a fold out timeline
    • Diagram the transformation for each dimension with major changes in 5 year bins
    • Narratives define the change & next key decision
    • Capture multiple possible paths and branches

Flight Planning Transition

Auto negotiate and execute flight plan

Auto load flight plan

research requirements plan chapter 5

This chapter identifies research requirements and organizes them by:

  • • Ops Concept research
  • Infrastructure technology research
  • •Research associated with transformation steps
  • •supporting research
    • • study of policy alternative
    • • study of transition process
    • • study of workforce cultural change
    • • strategy validation and benefits analysis
    • • refinement of scenarios and associated demand profiles
  • The research plan will identify necessary research activities, research products, cost estimates, and priorities.
Research Requirements/Plan Chapter 5