A public-private partnership, working to develop tools for a better Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS), has chosen Danville Regional Airport, Danville, Va. as the location to test technologies that could improve general aviation and make air travel more accessible to more people.

NASA and the National Consortium for Aviation Mobility are planning an operational demonstration at the airport in mid-2005 with aircraft equipped with new technologies developed by NASA’s SATS project. The goal of the demonstration is to show emerging aviation technologies can be integrated into operations in an airport environment. This new capability may some day allow more small aircraft and airports to be used safely and reliably by more passengers. It is the culmination of the five-year SATS research project.

Researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and at SATS laboratories across the country, are developing integrated airborne systems, cockpit displays and operating procedures for advanced four to 10 passenger aircraft. These technologies could help planes safely fly into under used rural and suburban airports, including many airfields that don’t have radar or air traffic control towers. About 93 percent of people in the U.S. live within 30 minutes of one of these airports.

SATS research is focusing on four operating capabilities that may help permit people and goods to travel faster and farther, anywhere and any time. These technologies would allow:

– higher volume operations at airports that don’t have control towers or terminal radar
– pilots to land safely in low visibility conditions at minimally equipped airports
– increased single-pilot performance
– SATS aircraft to integrate seamlessly into the complex national airspace

Many of the cockpit systems to enable the SATS operating capabilities are already being developed by NASA, its industry partners and other companies. SATS researchers are working to demonstrate complex, sophisticated technology can be brought together as an effective, affordable system for smaller airplanes.

For more information about SATS on the Internet, visit:

For information about the National Consortium for Aviation Mobility on the Internet, visit:

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