For Immediate Release

July 28, 2005
Contact: Holly Baker
Phone: (609)485-6253

Center Research Plays Key Role in Major National Aviation Advancement

EGG HARBOR TWP. — A team from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center has been honored for its innovative research that helped the agency reduce the minimum requirements for vertical separation of aircraft.

Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey and other top FAA officials held a nationwide satellite ceremony to honor agency employees who contributed to this stellar effort. In January, the FAA reduced the minimum vertical separation of aircraft from 2,000 to 1,000 feet, on domestic airspace routes flown at altitudes between 29,000 and 41,000 feet, doubling the available air navigation space at high altitudes. Similar practices have been followed across the North Atlantic for years.

More precise navigation and altitude-reporting instruments on aircraft are the keys to implementing and using domestic reduced vertical separation minima (DRVSM).

Technical Center testing was pivotal in the FAA's ability to implement domestic reduced vertical separation minima. Center researchers designed, ran and analyzed simulations and assessed the results for the safety implications of a switch to RVSM. The center continues to monitor the system, and it operates the Regional Monitoring Agency for North America, an arm of the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization.

Technical Center Director Anne Harlan presented the center team members with awards during the ceremony. "The exceptional talent and expertise of this team played an integral role in DRVSM implementation," Harlan said. "Their work will make the airspace system more efficient and expand our options in managing air traffic."