Thu, Sep 13, 2012
FexEx Aircraft To Serve As Test Beds For New Technology
The first real-world test of the FAA's new text-based communications technology associated with NextGen will be conducted at Memphis International Airport using FedEx aircraft. About 70 of the overnight delivery service's airplanes are being equipped with the technology.
The theory is that the text-based messages between ATC and air crews will save time and money, and increase cockpit efficiency. The FAA plans to rely heavily on text-based messages as part of NextGen, which the agency says should reduce ground delays and save fuel by allowing more direct navigation.
The Commercial Appeal of Memphis relays a report from Aviation International News that indicates the first trial of the new system will begin November 12. Other trials scheduled to get underway beginning next year include United Airlines at Newark Liberty International Airport, and then Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will begin testing the system with Delta Airlines. The trials are scheduled to begin at four-month intervals.
The tower at Memphis has been under modifications since this summer. As many as 70 FedEx Boeing 777s and MD-11s will take part in the trial, with an average number of 30 to 50 airplanes participating each day.
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