Small Aircraft Transportation System on Display
The FAA, NASA and NCAM (National Consortium for Aviation Mobility) hosted SATS 2005 Sunday through today and drew a larger than anticipated crowd of visitors, including the Administrators of both the FAA and NASA. Held at Danville Airport, Va., the event served as a progress report on the five-year, $69 million Small Aircraft Transportation System program, which comes to a close later this year when funding for the joint government-industry effort concludes. The SATS program, in effect, made the ball that industry is now running with in its quest to establish a new level of utility for small airplanes (jet and piston) to make air travel available, quick and affordable between the thousands of airports not served, or served poorly, by airlines. Many technologies on which SATS will depend were on show, and some form of computer is at the heart of nearly all the advances on display. The most telling demonstration was an orchestrated influx of six self-controlled IFR arrivals to Danville between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. yesterday and today. The aircraft used ranged from an FAA Convair 580 to a Cirrus SR-22.