B
Comparative Assessment of Goals and Visions

In response to the statement of task for Phase 1 of this study, the Committee on Aeronautics Research and Technology for Vision 2050 assessed the future visions and goals for U.S. civil aviation as expressed in five source documents (see Appendix A). To gain additional insight into U.S. visions and goals, the committee also included in its assessment a comparable vision for civil aeronautics in Europe, European Aeronautics: A Vision for 2020—Meeting Society’s Needs and Winning Global Leadership, which was produced by the Group of Personalities and released in 2001 (available online at <http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/growth/aeronautics2020/en/>).

NASA’S NEW GOALS

After the committee began its work, NASA adopted new goals and objectives for its aeronautical research program. These changes were part of a reformulation of NASA’s agency-wide vision, mission, and objectives, which are now as follows:

  • NASA’s vision

    • to improve life here

    • to extend life to there

    • to find life beyond

  • The NASA mission

    • to understand and protect our home planet

    • to explore the universe and search for life

    • to inspire the next generation of explorers … as only NASA can

  • Role of the Aerospace Technology Enterprise

    • to pioneer and validate high-payoff technologies: to improve the quality of life, to enable exploration and discovery, and to extend the benefits of innovation throughout our society

Based on the above, NASA’s Aerospace Technology Enterprise established Aeronautics Technology Strategic Theme Objectives, which are listed in the second column of Table B-1. NASA’s old goals and objectives are listed in the first column.

In making these changes, NASA has replaced time-phased, quantitative goals (e.g., “double the aviation system capacity within 10 years, and triple it within 25 years”) with open-ended, qualitative goals (e.g., “enable more people and goods to travel faster and farther, anywhere, anytime, with fewer delays.”). For some technologies quantifiable goals are difficult to define, and limiting research to areas with easily quantifiable goals would reduce the scope of NASA’s research to a subset of the overall problem. On the other hand, quantifiable goals could be readily established in many areas, and even as NASA moves away from quantitative research goals, the report of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry (2002) concludes that “the Administration and Congress should adopt … aerospace technology demonstration goals for 2010 as a national priority.” In the area of air transportation, the specific goals endorsed by the Aerospace Commission are as follows:

  • Demonstrate an automated and integrated air transportation capability that would triple capacity by 2025.

  • Reduce aviation fatal accident rate by 90 percent.

  • Reduce transit time between any two points on earth by 50 percent.

  • Reduce aviation noise and emissions by 90 percent.

The first three goals are equivalent to NASA’s now obsolete 25-year goals for improving system capacity, safety, and mobility. The emission goal does not specify what emissions should be reduced. In any case, a 90 percent reduction is more ambitious that NASA’s previous 25-year goals, which were to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and



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Securing the Future of U.S. Air Transportation: A System in Peril B Comparative Assessment of Goals and Visions In response to the statement of task for Phase 1 of this study, the Committee on Aeronautics Research and Technology for Vision 2050 assessed the future visions and goals for U.S. civil aviation as expressed in five source documents (see Appendix A). To gain additional insight into U.S. visions and goals, the committee also included in its assessment a comparable vision for civil aeronautics in Europe, European Aeronautics: A Vision for 2020—Meeting Society’s Needs and Winning Global Leadership, which was produced by the Group of Personalities and released in 2001 (available online at <http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/growth/aeronautics2020/en/>). NASA’S NEW GOALS After the committee began its work, NASA adopted new goals and objectives for its aeronautical research program. These changes were part of a reformulation of NASA’s agency-wide vision, mission, and objectives, which are now as follows: NASA’s vision to improve life here to extend life to there to find life beyond The NASA mission to understand and protect our home planet to explore the universe and search for life to inspire the next generation of explorers … as only NASA can Role of the Aerospace Technology Enterprise to pioneer and validate high-payoff technologies: to improve the quality of life, to enable exploration and discovery, and to extend the benefits of innovation throughout our society Based on the above, NASA’s Aerospace Technology Enterprise established Aeronautics Technology Strategic Theme Objectives, which are listed in the second column of Table B-1. NASA’s old goals and objectives are listed in the first column. In making these changes, NASA has replaced time-phased, quantitative goals (e.g., “double the aviation system capacity within 10 years, and triple it within 25 years”) with open-ended, qualitative goals (e.g., “enable more people and goods to travel faster and farther, anywhere, anytime, with fewer delays.”). For some technologies quantifiable goals are difficult to define, and limiting research to areas with easily quantifiable goals would reduce the scope of NASA’s research to a subset of the overall problem. On the other hand, quantifiable goals could be readily established in many areas, and even as NASA moves away from quantitative research goals, the report of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry (2002) concludes that “the Administration and Congress should adopt … aerospace technology demonstration goals for 2010 as a national priority.” In the area of air transportation, the specific goals endorsed by the Aerospace Commission are as follows: Demonstrate an automated and integrated air transportation capability that would triple capacity by 2025. Reduce aviation fatal accident rate by 90 percent. Reduce transit time between any two points on earth by 50 percent. Reduce aviation noise and emissions by 90 percent. The first three goals are equivalent to NASA’s now obsolete 25-year goals for improving system capacity, safety, and mobility. The emission goal does not specify what emissions should be reduced. In any case, a 90 percent reduction is more ambitious that NASA’s previous 25-year goals, which were to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and

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Securing the Future of U.S. Air Transportation: A System in Peril TABLE B-1 Comparison of Future Goals and Visions for Civil Aeronautics NASA Goals and Objectives   Next Generation Air Transportation System   Superseded Current National R&D Plan 2050 Vision NASA Aeronautics Blueprint European Aeronautics: A Vision for 2020 Safety Accident rate reduced 90% in 25 years Safety and Security Protect air travelers and the public: Decrease the aircraft accident rate and mitigate the consequences of accidents Efficiently decrease aviation system vulnerability to threats Mitigate consequences of hostile acts 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 Safety 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 a they occur Mobility Reduce intercity door-to-door transportation time by 67% in 25 years Reduce long-haul transcontinental travel time by 50% in 25 years Capacity Triple the capacity of the air transportation system in 25 years Technology innovation Revolutionary technologies to enable fundamentally new system capabilities Engineering innovation Advanced tools, processes and cultureto enable rapid, high-confidence, and cost-efficient design of revolutionary systems Mobility Enable more people and goods to travel faster and farther, anywhere, anytime, with fewer delays New aerospace missions Pioneer novel aerospace concepts to support earth and space science missions 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 break-through technologies to meet growing demand Efficiency 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 Efficiency 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 CNS 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 increase 200% in all weather condition 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 become 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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Securing the Future of U.S. Air Transportation: A System in Peril NASA Goals and Objectives   Next Generation Air Transportation System   Superseded Current National R&D Plan 2050 Vision NASA Aeronautics Blueprint European Aeronautics: A Vision for 2020 Noise Perceived noise of new aircraft reduced 75% in 25 years Emissions NOx of new aircraft reduced 80% in 25 years CO2 of new aircraft reduced 50% in 25 years Environment Protect local environmental quality and the global climate by reducing aircraft noise and emissions Noise Reduce noise by 5 to 10 dB by 2007 and up to 20 dB by 2022 Emissions Local effects: Reduce emissions of NOx by 70% by 2005 and 80% by 2022 Global effects: reduce emissions of CO2 by 25% by 2007 and 50% by 2022 Compatibility with the environment Noise Land-management techniques Noxious emissions and green-house gases Energy-efficient air transportation system Non-carbon-based fuels Compatibility with the environment Noise Reduce noise restrictions on aircraft operations Eliminate the need to soundproof homes near airports Computational simulation of airflow in the engine and exhaust Low-speed fans and nozzles Low-noise airframe designs (e.g., morphing structures) Emissions Reductions in NOx to improve local air quality Reductions in CO2 to reduce global effects Noise Elimination of noise as a nuisance outside airport boundaries through reduction of perceived noise by 50%, better land planning and use, and systematic use of noise reduction procedures Emissions CO2 and NOx emissions per passenger kilometer reduced by 50% and 80%, respectively, for new aircraft Lower fuel use through drag reduction (using conventional and novel shapes), fuel additives, and better airframe/engine integration   Quality and affordability of air transportation Choice of routes and schedules 99% on-time departures and arrivals in all weather Quick airport check-in Comfortable aircraft accommodations Reduced costs for operators, passengers, and freight   Primacy of the European aeronautics industry New framework for companies to work together Synergies between civil and military research New standards of quality and effectiveness Time to market cut in half Commercialize technology   Support nationalsecurity: Leverage NASA aeronautics technology investments in partnership with the Department of Defense to support national defense     Independent of foreign sources of energy Independent of foreign sources of energy   NOTE: CNS, communications, navigation, and surveillance; ATM, air traffic management.

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Securing the Future of U.S. Air Transportation: A System in Peril carbon dioxide by 80 percent and 50 percent, respectively. In order to serve as a reliable guide for research and policy changes, goals for emissions should clearly state whether the goals are for average emissions or “characteristic emission” levels, which are about 15 percent higher than the level of NOx measured during the landing-takeoff cycle specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Goals should also be established for cruise operations (to limit climate effects) and landing and takeoff cycles (to limit effects on local and regional air quality). Another possibility would be to establish emissions goals that take into account the operational efficiencies of individual airlines, requiring them to meet goals in terms of emissions per revenue-passenger-mile, for example. ASSESSING THE GOALS AND VISIONS The committee identified compatibilities and incompatibilities in the visions and goals above, as they relate to civil aeronautics. The results are summarized in Table B-1 and discussed below. Although the above documents encompass a variety of time periods, starting as early as the late 1990s and extending as far as 2050, the committee concluded that all of the documents consistently emphasize three main thrusts: safety and security capacity of the air transportation system environmental compatibility (noise and emissions) The visions point to a comprehensive approach to safety and security that includes both prevention of accidents and incidents and mitigation of consequences (in terms of injuries, damage to equipment, and disruption of the air transportation system). Not unexpectedly, the most recent visions—NASA’s Aeronautics Blueprint and the current agency goals and visions—place much more emphasis on security than the visions created before September 11, 2001. As funding for transportation security increases, the magnitude of related technology development efforts is also likely to increase. As with the other major thrusts, long-term plans for developing technology to improve security should be based on a systematic approach that assesses the specific problems that need to be addressed and targets technologies accordingly. For example, security systems should be designed to predict and adapt to future threats to ensure that we are not in a constant state of preparing to “fight the last war.” This requirement is not included in the current U.S. visions. The visions point to the need for a similarly comprehensive approach when it comes to the capacity of the air transportation system. Research and technology efforts are called for to realize improvements in four areas: (1) the performance of each of the primary elements of the air transportation system: aircraft, air traffic management systems, and airports; (2) the integration of the air transportation system with other modes of transportation; (3) supporting systems such as communications, navigation, and surveillance systems and weather observation and prediction systems; and (4) the design and development processes used to create new technologies and products. Some of the documents quantify their goals for reducing the noise of new aircraft. NASA’s Blueprint and the European aeronautics vision, however, specify the ultimate goal in terms of operational impact: Aircraft noise should be reduced to the point where it is no longer a nuisance outside airport boundaries and airports are freed from operational restrictions related to noise. In terms of emissions, most of the visions deal only with NOx and CO2. The National Research and Development Plan takes a more open-ended view—it covers all emissions that affect local air quality, global climate, or atmospheric ozone. This broader view is important to ensure that future aeronautics research adequately considers both new understandings about the threat of other emissions and the complex interrelationships among various strategies for dealing with environmental problems. For example, high-altitude emissions of water vapor may be a particularly important environmental consideration for new supersonic aircraft, and some approaches for reducing NOx may increase emissions of particulates. The European aeronautics vision includes two areas that are not highlighted in any of the U.S. visions: quality and affordability of air transportation global primacy of the aeronautics industry By including quality and affordability issues, the European vision acknowledges the importance of structuring research and development programs so that they are focused on providing air transportation services that users want to buy and are able to afford. The original 1997 version of NASA’s goals spoke of reducing the cost of air travel by 50 percent within 20 years. However, this goal fell into disfavor with Congress, which seemed to view the meeting of customer demands as an industry responsibility that was inappropriate as a topic of NASA research. Congress reduced NASA’s aeronautics budget to eliminate research related to this goal, so NASA eliminated the goal. The European vision foresees the following future: In 2020, European aeronautics is the world’s number one. Its companies … are winning more than 50% shares of world markets for aircraft, engines, and equipment…. The public sector plays an invaluable role in this success story…. Crucially, they are coordinating a highly effective European framework for research cooperation, while funding programmes that put the industry on more equal terms with its main rivals (Group of Personalities, 2001). The future of the U.S. air transportation system is not necessarily tied to the future of the U.S. aeronautics manufacturing industry. Advanced aircraft and air traffic manage-

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Securing the Future of U.S. Air Transportation: A System in Peril ment systems could be procured from foreign suppliers if U.S. manufacturers fail to remain competitive. However, the supremacy of the U.S. aeronautics industry provides important national security and economic benefits. A U.S. aeronautics vision and research program that does not explicitly consider the importance of U.S. leadership in aeronautics could make it easier for the Europeans to achieve their vision of global leadership and market dominance. One of the ways that the European vision foresees achieving global primacy is through greater cooperation and harmony among various elements of the aeronautics community throughout the European Union. Similarly, improved coordination and cooperation in this country would benefit the United States. Close cooperation is needed between NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), for example, to establish requirements for NASA research that are relevant to the air traffic management systems the FAA is likely to procure in the future. The FAA’s ability to support long-term systems analysis and requirements definition is limited, however, because so much effort is expended to solve more immediate problems and keep the air transportation system operating. Commercialization of technology only shows up in NASA’s goals and objectives. This is an important goal for a research agency like NASA, because the value of its aeronautics research is closely linked to its ability to transfer research results to other organizations that are directly involved in the development or production of aircraft, air traffic management systems, and other aviation products. Two of the visions include independence from foreign sources of energy. The committee questions the wisdom of giving much consideration to this goal when formulating a national aeronautics research program because it does not believe that freeing one segment of the economy, such as air transportation, from foreign sources of energy would produce significant benefits if the economy as a whole remained dependent on foreign energy. Before diverting significant resources to research intended to free air transportation from foreign energy, the federal government should conduct a comprehensive, economy-wide assessment of various options for reducing U.S. dependence on foreign energy. Such a study might well conclude that the optimum strategy for reducing U.S. dependence on foreign energy should focus on nonaviation uses of petroleum products. A large reduction in the demand for jet fuel would not greatly reduce overall demand for petroleum products. In 2000, jet fuel accounted for less than 9 percent of U.S. consumption of petroleum products (EIA, 2002). In addition, design requirements are more stringent for aircraft engines, especially in terms of reliability and power density, than for virtually any other large-scale user of petroleum. New types of engines are unlikely to be adopted by the aviation industry unless they are first proven in other applications. REFERENCES Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry. 2002. Final Report of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Office of Aerospace. Available online at <www.aerospacecommission.gov/AeroCommissionFinalReport.pdf>. Energy Information Administration (EIA). 2002. Energy Consumption by Source, 1949-2000. Available online at <www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/tab0511.htm>. Group of Personalities. 2001. European Aeronautics: A Vision for 2020—Meeting Society’s Needs and Winning Global Leadership, p. 15. Available online at <http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/growth/aeronautics2020/en/>.