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May 4, 2016

NASA engineers demonstrate wireless communication of aviation data to aircraft

Engineers from NASA's Glenn Research Centre have wirelessly transmitted aviation data to an aircraft on a runway at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Ohio, US.

By Lopamudra Roy

aircraft

Engineers from NASA’s Glenn Research Centre have wirelessly transmitted aviation data to an aircraft on a runway at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Ohio, US.

The team used a wireless communication system to send the data, including route options and weather information, to the aircraft.

NASA carried out the demonstration, in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Hitachi, at Glenn’s communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) test bed.

The engineers used an aircraft access to system-wide information management (AAtS) solution to transmit the data to an FAA Bombardier Global 5000 travelling at 60mph to 70mph.

Information was relayed to the aircraft using Hitachi’s Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System (AeroMACS).

The AeroMACS system is based on WiMAX wireless communication standards and uses different frequencies to provide connectivity on the ground.

It enables the transmission of airport and weather updates, as well as flight information before takeoff.

"This wireless communications capability will deliver great benefits to US airport operations."

AAtS and AeroMACS are said to enhance situational awareness and reduce the potential for human error as pilots are given access to the data they need to make decisions.

The demonstration revealed that AeroMACS can handle multiple services easily and simultaneously.

AeroMACS technical lead Rafael Apaza said: "We were able to send multiple applications to the aircraft at the same time and exchange surveillance and advisory flight information with fixed facilities without losing any data.

"This wireless communications capability will deliver great benefits to US airport operations."

The new wireless technology will replace the existing underground infrastructure to reduce maintenance costs and downtime, and improve the airport’s operational capabilities.


Image: NASA tests wireless communication system for aeroplanes on the ground. Photo: courtesy of NASA.

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