U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University showcased for Florida local and state officials and the media one of the first working demonstrations of state of the art NextGen air traffic control technology on Thursday, Sept. 9.
NextGen is the national program, led by the FAA, designed to transform and modernize the National Airspace System.
Embry-Riddle’s program is one of only three locations in the country developing new technologies that will convert the nation’s current ground-based system of air traffic control to a modern satellite-based system.
In addition, Mica announced the collaboration between Embry-Riddle and some of the nation’s leading aerospace companies. To accommodate the additional work, the Embry-Riddle testbed facility will be doubling in size by the spring of 2011.
“At a time when our nation needs job creation, research on NextGen technologies will create significant opportunities for all of Central Florida,” Mica said. “Our partners in this research are creating jobs and economic development, while developing a system that will make air travel safer and more efficient.”
The Embry-Riddle location is the only testbed located on a private facility. The university entered into a contract with the federal government in 2008 to develop and test new technologies, and explore any potential issues in using the new technologies. About $37 million of the $50 million program will be spent over the next three years.
“Embry-Riddle is proud to be on the forefront of revamping the nation’s air traffic control system,” said Dr. John Johnson, president of Embry-Riddle. “We are particularly excited about the potential partnerships with major aerospace companies and the impact it will have on Daytona Beach and all of Central Florida.”