General Aviation

General aviation was a major element in only two of the five scenarios assessed by the phase 1 steering committee. However, it is logical to assume that a third scenario, which was characterized by tremendous increases in air travel and economic activity, would include increased general aviation activity. NASA's goal for meeting the future demand for general aviation aircraft is to enable the industry to deliver 10,000 aircraft annually within 10 years and 20,000 aircraft annually within 20 years.

High-Speed Air Travel

The need for high-speed air travel was common to four of the five scenarios examined during the strategic planning workshop. However, the specific requirements for supersonic aircraft varied from one scenario to another. A large, extremely long-range aircraft was considered necessary in some scenarios, whereas a long-range smaller capacity jet used for business travel and specialized cargo delivery was important in other scenarios. Therefore, it is difficult to trace NASA's Goal 8: Reduce the travel time to the Far East and Europe by 50 percent within 20 years and do so at today's subsonic ticket prices directly to the needs and opportunities identified through the scenario-based strategic planning workshop. However, the environmental compatibility of supersonic aircraft was considered important in three of the four scenarios. Furthermore, the one scenario that ruled out the need for supersonic air travel did so because of grave concerns about its potential environmental impact. In addition, the phase 1 steering committee raised concerns about noise and the effects of sonic boom. Therefore, NASA's two goals focused on emissions and noise (Goals 1 and 2) are especially relevant to the future development of a high-speed civil transport.

Air Traffic Management and Related Air Transportation System Technology

Just as the future demands for lower costs, improved performance, and enhanced environmental compatibility will require that future air vehicles be improved, the air transportation system they operate within will also have to be improved. Each future scenario had unique implications for the future global air transportation system. In some scenarios, a sophisticated infrastructure was likely to be developed worldwide. In others, most places maintained almost no infrastructure while other places were left with the same basic infrastructure they have today. The volume of air traffic also varied significantly depending on the scenario. Despite these differences, however, it was clear that a safer, more efficient, more flexible, and more sophisticated air traffic management system would be required in the future. The phase 1 steering committee determined that the future air traffic management system should be satellite-based, should operate more autonomously than the system does today, and should be tailored to regional infrastructures and air travel demands.

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