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Friday, June 26, 2009

American flight to test fuel saving by using direct GPS route
Jun 9, 2009USA Today
DALLAS — American Airlines(AMR) will test fuel-saving technology and tactics on a Paris-to-Miami flight this week that the carrier and federal aviation officials hope will help make the case for a new navigation system. The plane on the Thursday flight will take a direct route guided by Global Positioning System, or GPS, technology instead of staying within the usual jetliner paths across the Atlantic. It also will ascend and descend more gradually and take other fuel-saving measures, some of which are becoming standard, such as taxiing out to the runway on one engine instead of two. American says it will be the first U.S. carrier to test a full range of fuel-saving and emissions-reducing tactics on a trans-Atlantic route. The test is being conducted with the Federal Aviation Administration. Bob Reding, an executive vice president at American, says the test would demonstrate the benefits of new GPS-based navigation technology. Airlines such as American argue that the technology could save fuel, reduce air traffic delays and cut emissions. Some safety advocates say the GPS-guided technology also could have helped track the Air France flight that went down in the Atlantic Ocean last week on a trip from Brazil to France. The plane disappeared while out of radar range from Brazil and Africa. It took several days to locate debris from the crash. Experts say the modern satellite-based surveillance system could let controllers track the plane's path all the way across the ocean. Despite a reduction in travel caused by the recession, the FAA is still pushing to modernize air traffic control to improve airlines' fuel efficiency and reduce environmental harm. FAA official Victoria Cox recently told Congress that the current air traffic control system "is not performing adequately." She said new technology that FAA and airlines are testing — lumped under the label NextGen, for next generation — would meet future travel demand, cut delays and improve safety.  
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