A public-private partnership, working to develop tools
for a better Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS),
has chosen Danville Regional Airport, Danville, Va. as the
location to test technologies that could improve general
aviation and make air travel more accessible to more people.

NASA and the National Consortium for Aviation Mobility are
planning an operational demonstration at the airport in mid-
2005 with aircraft equipped with new technologies developed
by NASA’s SATS project. The goal of the demonstration is to
show emerging aviation technologies can be integrated into
operations in an airport environment. This new capability
may some day allow more small aircraft and airports to be
used safely and reliably by more passengers. It is the
culmination of the five-year SATS research project.

Researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton,
Va., and at SATS laboratories across the country, are
developing integrated airborne systems, cockpit displays and
operating procedures for advanced four to 10 passenger
aircraft. These technologies could help planes safely fly
into under used rural and suburban airports, including many
airfields that don’t have radar or air traffic control
towers. About 93 percent of people in the U.S. live within
30 minutes of one of these airports.

SATS research is focusing on four operating capabilities
that may help permit people and goods to travel faster and
farther, anywhere and any time. These technologies would

  • higher volume operations at airports that don’t have control towers or terminal radar
  • pilots to land safely in low visibility conditions at minimally equipped airports
  • increased single-pilot performance
  • SATS aircraft to integrate seamlessly into the complex national airspace

Many of the cockpit systems to enable the SATS operating
capabilities are already being developed by NASA, its
industry partners and other companies. SATS researchers are
working to demonstrate complex, sophisticated technology can
be brought together as an effective, affordable system for
smaller airplanes.

For information about NASA on the Internet, visit:


For more information about SATS on the Internet, visit:


For information about the National Consortium for Aviation
Mobility on the Internet, visit: