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How We Do It

Three team members examining flight information on large monitors in a control room

New Technology

New Solutions for Shaping Tomorrow's Skies

Maintaining the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world is a mission that demands only the most cutting-edge technology available. It takes continuing advances in navigation, surveillance, computer processing capabilities, air traffic tools, telecommunications infrastructure and even weather information to make the national airspace system run.

From automated radar systems to advanced detection capabilities, the programs we have under development provide safer skies for our nation's travelers and a number of exciting and challenging opportunities to build a career at FAA.

Featured programs in development include:

  • Advanced Technologies & Oceanic Procedures (ATOP)
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B)
  • Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X)
  • Airport Surface Radar (ASR-11)
  • En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM)
  • En Route Communications Gateway (ECG)
  • Federal Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI)
  • Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS)
  • Runway Status Lights (RWSL)
  • System Wide Information Management (SWIM)
  • Terminal Automation and Replacement (TAMR)
  • Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)


Let Aviation's Challenge Become Your Opportunity

The future of civil aviation has arrived. The FAA is in the midst of one of the most challenging and radical technological advances since the Wright Brothers' first flight. This is an undertaking that will forever alter the way we navigate, communicate and conduct surveillance in the air and on the ground.

The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is revolutionizing how air traffic operates via a transition from a traditional ground-based system of air traffic control to an advanced satellite-based operation. NextGen will ensure that America's skies are prepared to safely handle the continuing growth of air traffic while reducing aviation's impact on the environment. Implementing NextGen is truly a monumental step for aviation, one that involves an array of skilled and dedicated technical, industrial and business professionals.

To learn more, watch this NextGen video.

Be Part of the Evolution of Air Travel

Being a part of NextGen involves working with leading-edge technology in a variety of locations. You could work at headquarters in Washington, D.C., our regional and field offices throughout the country, or even international locations, such as Belgium, Singapore and others. Opportunities to help build NextGen are available in the following career fields:

  • Acquisitions and Contracting
  • Business and Financial Management
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering and Research
  • Human Factors
  • Information Technology
  • Logistics
  • Mathematics
  • Meteorology

Apply today to experience a career where you can usher in a safer, cleaner and more efficient future for air travel — and for the nation as a whole.

Satellite Technology

For decades the FAA predominantly maintained air traffic via aircraft- and ground-based technologies. Today, through advances related to NextGen, air travel is shifting to a safer and more efficient satellite-based system. Satellite-based navigation routes and procedures rely on the global satellite network to continuously establish precise location information, allowing pilots to know their location as well as the locations of other planes around them at all times.

See it in action.

The benefits of this improvement in navigation are many. Aircraft can fly more direct routes, improved access to airports during periods of low visibility and difficult weather, less time in the air means fuel efficiency and time savings, and most importantly, these strides made by NextGen greatly enhance the overall safety of air travel.

The result is more planes in the sky, all flying safer, smarter and more efficiently, leading to more predictable arrivals and departures. Our nation's air travelers are getting where they're going faster and more safely than ever.

Direct Flight/Precision Path

Today, our nation's skies are busier than they have ever been. In the next two decades, they are only expected to grow more crowded. To meet the demands of increased air travel and busier skies, the FAA is revolutionizing the way aircraft navigate our skies by creating new flight paths and producing new navigation standards.

All of this is being achieved through a new FAA initiative known as Performance-Based Navigation. Designed to increase the efficiency, capacity and safety of modern aviation, Performance-Based Navigation uses on-board avionics to navigate with greater precision and accuracy. There are two key elements that drive Performance-Based Navigation and produce more precise and accurate paths through our nation's airspace.

Area Navigation (RNAV)
Allows pilots to fly a direct path to their final destination, resulting in reduced flight distances and fuel costs
Required Navigation Performance (RNP)
Contains aircraft to a narrow corridor, creating more "lanes" and more precise and accurate paths

These advances in pathing and navigation are only part of what we are developing at FAA to create safer, more efficient airspace for today's travelers as well as tomorrow's.

Environmental Consciousness

More Efficient Air Travel for a Greener Tomorrow

One of the major goals of FAA's NextGen effort is to provide environmental protection that allows sustained aviation growth. This radical shift in the management and operation of how we fly will ultimately reduce delays, save fuel and lower carbon emissions, resulting in air travel that is safer, cleaner and more efficient. We are working to ensure that NextGen will have a positive impact on the following environmental and energy aspects affected by air travel:

Reduce the number of people exposed to significant noise around U.S. airports
Air Quality
Improve air quality by reducing emissions and fuel consumption even as air traffic increases
Limit the impact of aircraft carbon dioxide emissions on the global climate via long-term efforts
Improve energy efficiency across the national aerospace system through alternative jet fuels
Water Quality
Limit aviation discharges to U.S. waters

Economic Impact

NextGen's Green Initiatives

Meeting NextGen's environmental and energy goals requires dedicated professionals working with the leading-edge systems and technology that will shape the face of air travel for decades to come. Technical, industrial and business professionals working in NextGen are developing the following software and initiatives:

NextGen Environmental Management System (EMS) Framework
Identifies and manages aviation-related environmental issues and enhances collaboration among aviation stakeholders
The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Program
Reduces the environmental impact of aircraft through new engine and airframe technologies and sustainable fuels
The Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT)
Models aircraft performance in space and time to more effectively evaluate noise, fuel consumption and emissions
Fuel-saving Performance Based Navigation (PBN)
Creates more direct and fuel efficient routes to reduce emissions
Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI)
Enhances energy security and environmental sustainability for aviation by exploring the use of alternative jet fuels

Career Fields

Take control of your career. The FAA has many opportunities for you to contribute to our safe and efficient skies. Below is a sample of possible career fields:

Air Traffic Control Specialists · Technical Operations Specialists · Aviation Safety Inspectors · Engineers · Contract Specialists

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