The nation’s air traffic control system is in the middle of a monumental transformation. The new system being implemented is called, “NextGen.” It’s set to improve flight safety, increase airport efficiency, and create cleaner, quieter skies. For passengers, it is likely to lead to smoother flights and less waiting time in the plane getting ready to take off.
NextGen will increase the accuracy of location information, enable planes to fly closer together safely, and provide pilots with a real-time picture of air traffic. The system also will allow planes to land and depart quickly, with less noise and greater fuel efficiency. A key component of NextGen is the use of satellites and GPS technology to track planes in the air, taking the place of 1960s-era radars.
Additionally, NextGen’s DataComm component will enable pilots and air traffic controllers to communicate with one another using data and text, sent digitally, rather than relying exclusively on radio voice communication, which can be unreliable and lead to serious — and sometimes fatal — errors.
Przychodny said that, by using texting, there is “less chance of a misunderstanding,” and “you minimize the amount of human error.” That could happen if a radio transmission is unclear, or if the pilot or controller has an accent that may be difficult for some to understand.