Press Release

July 12, 2005
Press Release

Bethesda, Maryland – Five years of research culminated this month in Danville, VA., a successful public demonstration of new cutting-edge technologies for small aircraft and airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Consortium for Aviation Mobility (NCAM) combined forces to present SATS 2005: A Transformation in Air Travel at the Danville Regional Airport in Danville, Va., on June 5-7, 2005.

Designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) project, the event showcased technologies designed to make small aircraft and airports more accessible to more people. NASA and the FAA are partnered with over 130 organizations and six SATS Labs organized under the National Consortium for Aviation Mobility (NCAM). The five-year, public-private partnership project showed through actual flight demonstrations that emerging aviation technologies can be integrated into operations in a small airport environment.

Key flight demonstrations performed on two successive days showed six SATS equipped aircraft conducting a near simultaneous approach to the Danville airport within the NASA defined High Volume Operations (HVO) operations scenario. All aircraft were equipped for automated position reporting and communications with a ground based Airport Management Module (AMM) that provided real-time position monitoring and point-to-point data communications. The AMM instructed each aircraft on the status of the airport environment, along with landing sequence information/ instructions. Under the NASA HVO scenario, no pilot voice communication is required to execute normal SATS approach and landing operations.

Five of the six aircraft carried PMEI provided VHF Data Link radios and all shared a single VHF frequency for all communications to and from the participating aircraft and the ground station located at the Danville airport. In addition, the datalink carried position location and aircraft address information to permit seamless integration and back-up for the primary Automated Dependence Surveillance (ADS-B) system. The PMEI data link operates in real-time and provides inbuilt protocols to support TCP/IP communication services among all aircraft and the ground station. Communication services supported by the data radios include broadcast, point-to-point and a number of specialized capabilities operated simultaneously under sixteen levels of priority and specialized bandwidth management schemes.

The FAA technical demonstration booth at the Danville show highlighted the use of the Airborne Internet technologies to support the SATS vision. PMEI’s partners Strategic Aeronautics, Rannoch Corporation, Computer Networks & Software, Inc., and Progeny Systems provided a complete tabletop demonstration of air-to-ground Airborne Internet services including global internet connectivity to multiple Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) that were moved from the demonstration area to the FAA’s SATS participating Convair aircraft for the flight demonstration. A similar configuration was demonstrated and flown under the Virginia SATSLab umbrella on Ohio University’s King Air research aircraft.

Project Management Enterprises, Inc., (PMEI) specializes in the development and application of aircraft datalink products and services. Our development partners include OTE S.p.A. of Italy and RTX Telecom A/S of Denmark. For more information please contact K. Prasad Nair at +1-301-652-5306 or e-mail: