“The sky’s the limit” is a phrase used by persons throughout the world to mean possibilities are limitless. For those involved with air transportation we know that the “sky is limited.” As air transportation grows, our airspace has become more and more crowded, challenging aviation professionals to look for new and innovative air traffic control (ATC) procedures and technology to create more efficient use of airspace. The current air traffic control system uses radar along with specified sequencing and separation standards which provide a “safe zone” for each aircraft. However, over the past several years as technology has increased, few enhancements have been made to the air traffic control system to handle the ever increasing air traffic. This lack of technological growth has led to increasingly crowded airspace, more delays, and safety hazards due to the greater number of aircraft in the skies. The summer of 2000 was identified as the worst year for air traffic delays in air transportation history. Delays in 2000 showed a 20% increased over 1999 delays, and a 47% increase over air traffic delays in 1998, showing a need for improved air traffic control technology. In an effort to provide alternatives for air traffic control, Purdue University researchers have been analyzing the European Galileo (GNSS) System. In response to the Air Transportation Association’s Top Ten List of Essential Air Traffic Control Programs, Purdue researchers developed a study to analyze the Galileo system for implementation as the worldwide air traffic control system. The results of the study compare the various global positioning systems in use worldwide and their air traffic control applications; current air traffic control systems worldwide; and the U.S. concerns related to the Galileo system. Based on their findings, Purdue researchers present the advantages and challenges concerning the implementation of Galileo as a worldwide air traffic control system. The paper also addresses how the Galileo worldwide air traffic control system would not only increase the use of airspace and cooperative partnering among nations, but also provide an increased level of safety for the industry.


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