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dallas's picture

FAA plans to hire 6,000 air traffic controllers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is looking to hire a few good air traffic controllers to boost the nation's flight navigation system. 

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Monday that the agency is holding a "virtual career fair" from March 23-28 as it seeks to start filling 6,000 air traffic controller over the next five years. 

Huerta said in a blog post on the Transportation Department's website that air traffic controller position is an attractive post for potential job seekers. 

Giorgos's picture

Inside Nasa’s amazing airport simulator

With air traffic becoming busier every year, how do controllers train to the limits? At Nasa’s Ames Research Center, they can simulate any airport in the world at the click of a button.

The skies are getting crowded. Every year more and more commercial aircraft join the world’s fleets. In the last 40 years the number of passengers flown on the world’s airlines has multiplied 10-fold to three billion a year. By 2030, that’s expected to be six billion a year. Keeping track of all those planes is proving to be a challenge.

Take the winter storms which have battered the Midwest and Southeast United States in recent weeks; they led to many thousands of flights being cancelled. Getting those planes back into the air, resuming their schedules and getting thousands of people to where they need to be is a massive task. It calls for sophisticated technology, and highly trained controllers.

dallas's picture

FAA Is Trying To Keep Hackers Out Of Air Traffic Control, Official Says

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told Congress Tuesday his agency is implementing changes to ensure the nation's air traffic control system is protected against computer hackers. Huerta told a House panel "the system is safe," despite a Government Accountability Office report that found "significant security control weaknesses."

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore, one of the lawmakers who requested the GAO report, said at a House Transportation subcommittee hearing that he is concerned the system could be vulnerable to breach by terrorists. "We know there is an enduring interest in terrorist groups in aviation; they've used our aviation system as weapons. One can imagine they might be interested in hacking the system and perhaps could facilitate a midair collision."

The GAO report found the FAA has taken steps to protect air traffic control systems, but that weaknesses remain in, among other things:

2_b_or_not's picture

FAA Must Address Cyber-Security of Air Traffic Control Systems: GAO

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report calling for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to strengthen the cyber-security of the nation's air traffic control systems.

The report contends the FAA has failed to consistently control access to NAS [National Airspace System] computers, implement controls for identifying and authenticating users and encrypt sensitive data. The GAO conducted its review between August 2013 and January 2015.

Giorgos's picture

New system allows air traffic controllers to converse with drones

If autonomous delivery drones are ever going to see widespread use, then they can't simply fly around with no regard for other aircraft. In recent projects, drone operators had to file flight plans in advance. Researchers from Australia's RMIT University have gone a step farther, however. They've developed a system that lets drones communicate with air traffic controllers using a synthesized voice.

The system was developed by RMIT in collaboration with Thales Australia's Centre for Advanced Studies in Air Traffic Management (CASIA), and software engineering firm UFA Inc. It utilizes UFA's ATVoice Automated Voice Recognition and Response software, allowing drones to both verbally respond to spoken information requests (delivered by radio), and to act on clearances granted by air traffic controllers.

Jean46's picture

Why 40-Year-Old Tech Is Still Running America’s Air Traffic Control

The problem is that NextGen is a project of the FAA. The agency is primarily a regulatory body, responsible for keeping the national airspace safe, and yet it is also in charge of operating air traffic control, an inherent conflict that causes big issues when it comes to upgrades. Modernization, a struggle for any federal agency, is practically antithetical to the FAA's operational culture, which is risk-averse, methodical, and bureaucratic. Paired with this is the lack of anything approximating market pressure. The FAA is the sole consumer of the product; it's a closed loop.

dallas's picture

Halt FAA’s Wasteful Revamp of Air Traffic Control

Air traffic controllers are one of those modern parts of life that, when everything is working smoothly, you never notice their role. On a daily basis, they ensure 2 million Americans get safely across the skies; at any given moment, there are some 5,000 flights in the air over the United States, each carefully tracked and accounted for by a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controller.

Air travel has become one of the safest, most convenient modes of transportation. According to a recent report, commercial and private air travel is safer than traveling by bike, foot, passenger car, bus and train. While this can partially be attributed to the work of well-trained pilots and safer aircraft, it’s largely due to the critical work of our nation’s air traffic controllers.

2_b_or_not's picture

HungaroControl HUFRA to save $3m in fuel

HungaroControl will be the first air traffic services provider in Europe to abolish the entire fixed flight route network, thus enabling aircraft to use the airspace freely, without any restrictions.

The significance of the new traffic management concept (Hungarian Free Route Airspace, HUFRA) is that aircraft can take the shortest possible flight path between the entry and exit points in Hungary’s airspace.

According to experts, this solution suggests potential yearly savings of 1.5 million kilometres by aircraft flying over Hungary. As a result, airlines may save nearly $3 million worth of fuel per year, which may also lead to a reduction of CO2 emissions of more than 16 million kilogrammes.

It will soon be mandatory for air navigation organisations to introduce Free Route airspace, above 9,000 metres across the whole of Europe by 1 January 2022 so HungaroControl has met these provisions well before the deadline.

loulou's picture

A new way to stop the gridlock in the skies

British air traffic controllers have invented a new system that could eventually cut flight delays all over the world.

The principle is simple enough. Planes coming into land will be spaced out by time, rather than by distance. But it has taken a team at NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Control Services) four years of scientific study to make sure it is safe, and Heathrow is about to become the first airport on the planet to test it out.

It all comes down to wind.

Wind is the biggest single cause of landing delays at London's Heathrow airport, messing up flights on around 65 days each year.

If airliners are fighting against a headwind, even if they maintain the same speed through the air, they take longer to reach the runway. And that creates delays.

The new Time-Based Separation (TBS) system simply moves the aircraft closer together, thus cutting those delays.

Jean46's picture

Air traffic halted in Dubai due to recreational drones

Air traffic in Dubai was halted for nearly an hour due to public misuse of recreational drones near the flight path of commercial airlines, a senior aviation official said.

Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ahli, Director General of the Dubai Civil Aviation, and CEO of Dubai Air Navigation Services, told the official agency WAM that air traffic in Dubai came to a standstill from 3:00 to 3:55 on Friday as a result of malpractices of some members of the public  who flew unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) -- or "drones" -- in the air navigation passages meant for commercial planes.

He said such recreational drones pose a serious risk to the safety of air navigation as well as passengers, he said.

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