Table 1 Comparison of Future Goals and Visions for Civil Aeronautics

NASA Goals and Objectives

National R&D Plan

2050 Vision

Next Generation Air Transportation System

NASA Aeronautics Blueprint

European Aeronautics: A Vision for 2020


• Accident rate reduced 90% in 25 years

Safety and security

• Risk management

• Prevention of accidents and incidents

• Reduction of injuries when accidents occur

• Reduction of casualties, system disruption, and damage when incidents occur

Safety and security

• No fatalities or injuries

- Human-centered systems to compensate for human error

- Education and training for operators and users (lifetime learning)

- Accident prevention

- Reduction of injuries when accidents occur

- Prevention of incidents: reduction of casualties when incidents occur without disrupting normal operations

Safety and security

• Decentralized air transportation system to improve safety in case of system failure, human error, or terrorist attack

Safety and security

• Improved situational awareness in all weather

• Aircraft health monitoring systems, self-healing systems, and adaptive fault-tolerant controls to respond to system failures and human error

• Aircraft hardening to withstand explosions

• Improved monitoring of projected flight paths to prevent aircraft collisions and detect unauthorized diversions

• Prevention of malicious or ill-advised pilot actions from causing an accident

• Automated passenger identification and threat assessment


• Reduce accident rate by 80%

• Aircraft systems that lighten the burdens on the crew, help them make correct decisions, and reduce the impact of human error

• Higher standards of training

• Monitoring systems that react to technical problems as they occur


• Triple the capacity of the air transportation system in 25 years


• Reduce intercity door-to-door transportation time by 67% in 25 years

• Reduce long-haul transcontinental travel time by 50% in 25 years

Technology innovation

• Revolutionary technologies to enable fundamentally new system capabilities

Engineering innovation

• Advanced tools, processes and culture to enable rapid, high-confidence, and cost-efficient design of revolutionary systems

National Airspace System

• Improve system capacity, capabilities, cost-effectiveness, and services

• Architecture definition and evolution

• Architecture implementation

• Improving air traffic operations

- Involving air traffic controllers in developing new systems and associated training

- Human factors research for controller operations, system maintenance, and improved weather services

• Developing breakthrough technologies to meet growing demand


• Integrated

• Intermodal

Advanced technology

• Improved transportation system definition tools and vehicle design tools and methods

• Optimized vehicle and system operations

• New classes of superefficient, intelligent, reliable, and environmentally friendly vehicles


• Automated management of the airports and airspace for all types of aircraft, day and night, in all weather conditions

• Cultural and institutional changes

• Radically new air transportation management systems

• System definition tools

National Airspace System

• Weather

- Reduced impact of low visibility

- Better observation and prediction of adverse weather and vortices

• Traffic optimization

- Automated, distributed air traffic management

• High-capacity airports

- Integrated arrival, departure, and surface decision-support tools

- Synthetic vision systems for aircraft

- Airport design and operation models

- Smart nontowered airports


- Satellite-based CNS systems

- Active and passive precision navigation/surveillance systems

Revolutionary vehicles

• Global range

• Supersonic speed

• Vertical lift and extremely short takeoff and landing

• Long-duration uninhabited aircraft

• Nanotechnology, variable aerodynamic shapes, and advanced propulsion and power systems

Educated workforce

• Motivating the next generation to work in aviation

• Lifetime learning for the existing workforce

• Multidisciplinary research using virtual laboratories

Air transportation system

• System capacity increased 200% in all weather conditions

• Sophisticated ground- and satellite-based CNS systems

• Free flight

• Airports freed of noise-related operating restrictions

• Air transportation integrated into an efficient multimodal transportation system

• Integrated ATM system that is so effective it becomes the de facto world standard

Educational policies to provide skilled aeronautics workforce

Aircraft design and production

• Integrated design, manufacturing, and maintenance systems

• Large-capacity aircraft (~1,200 passengers)

• Supersonic speed

• Innovative vertical takeoff and landing

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