Statement of Task and Study Approach


Initially, the committee will assess the visions and goals contained in the documents listed below as they pertain to civil aviation in the United States.1

The first document in the above list proposes key goals for national civil aeronautics research covering both near-and far-term applications, along with program initiatives intended to achieve those goals. The second report recommends a new national transportation vision, and the last three identify current constraints and recommend research and development investments to improve the air transportation system over the next 25 years, respectively.

The committee’s assessment will identify compatibilities and incompatibilities among the visions and goals described in the above documents. The committee will also hold a workshop to solicit inputs from the aeronautics community regarding the extent to which advanced technology will be able to achieve future goals and visions in the next 25 to 50 years. The committee’s assessment will also consider how advanced technology can help civil aviation succeed in the new threat and heightened security environment that exists in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. The committee will refrain from creating a new vision.

Phase 1 will result in two reports. The first report will contain the presentations of the workshop (with no findings or recommendations). The workshop participants will be asked to provide electronic copies of their presentations, and the workshop report may be disseminated in the form of a CD-ROM computer disk. No later than August 2002, the committee will also issue a letter report summarizing its assessment of future goals and visions for national civil aviation. This report was requested by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


Phase 2 will assess technology goals for 2050. Specific tasks are as follows:

  • Identify the extent to which expected advances in key technologies could achieve the aviation vision in 2025 and 2050.

  • Identify key technological goals that will not be met by


Given the long-term nature of this study, it did not assess near-term plans for improving civil aviation, such as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Operational Evolution Plan.

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