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GPS for Smoother Flights

by atina 2010-04-01 10:29

Flying just got easier for pilots and passengers. Just this past week the Senate passed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which allows aviation centers to upgrade from radar, based infrastructures to GPS technology systems.


The techno-overhaul nation wide will cost a little under $34.5 billion, but the costly renovation will allow planes to travel closer together without interference and avoid runway incursions, according to a statement released by of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, one of the main supporters of the bill.


The new system to be installed is known, as NextGen will provide satellite tracking for planes in the air as well as vehicles on the ground at airports. The GPS-based system also allows controllers to tailor each aircraft's approach for landing, which will save fuel and cut down on late arrivals, according to an FAA fact sheet.


The bill addresses several other issues that have been cropping up in the industry, such as: reassessing pilot hiring process, testing, training and rest requirements for large and small airlines as well as banning the use of personal electronic devices in the cockpit



Two Northwest Airlines pilots lost their licenses because of an incident that occurred in October when the pilots missed the Minneapolis, Minnesota, and airport by more than 100 miles because they were distracted by their personal laptop computers


Also in the bill includes a “Passengers Bill of Rights” which enforces a rule required by all airports to provide busses for passengers on delayed flights after 3 hours. Delayed commercial planes will be required to return to the gate after three hours on the taxiway. Or the rule permits the airline to send a buss to take passengers off the plane to back to the terminal so the aircraft doesn’t lose its place in line.


“Airlines must treat their customers fairly and with decency, or face consequences," said Kate Hanni, executive director of a group called Flyers' Rights.


The final version of the bill has yet to be sent to the president.

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