SEPTEMBER 11, 2008 — PARTNER director Professor Ian A. Waitz told members of the House Committee on Science and Technology today that the two most critical needs for the Next Generation Air Transportation System are to accelerate the FAA-NASA Aviation Climate Change Research Initiative, and to increase and accelerate technology, operations, and alternative fuels programs in NASA and FAA that bridge fundamental aeronautics research and industrial development programs.
PARTNER Director and MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department head Professor Ian A. Waitz (right) testifies at the House Committee on Science and Technology's September 11 hearing on Next Generation Air Transportation System status and issues.
Waitz said that accelerating ACCRI would enable a careful evaluation of the complex trade-offs among aviation’s climate impacts, and a balancing of these impacts against other objectives for noise, air quality, safety, and economic performance of the industry.
Waitz told the committee that the technology, operations, and alternative fuels programs “will have the single greatest leverage on our ability to achieve long-term environmental improvements in the aviation industry. Important programs have been planned and proposed … however, they are on hold waiting FY09 funding.”
Waitz also discussed PARTNER’s 2004 Report to Congress on Aviation and the Environment. “The report’s most important element is a proposal for a National Vision Statement for Aviation and the Environment. The National Vision specifies absolute reductions in significant health and welfare impacts from aviation noise and air quality emissions, notwithstanding growth, reduced uncertainty in understanding other impacts, and global leadership for the U.S. aerospace enterprise in addressing aviation mobility and environmental needs,” he said.
Waitz’s comments were delivered in testimony before the committee at its September 11 hearing on the Next Generation Air Transportation System status and issues. NextGen was created in Congress’s 2003 “Vision 100” FAA Reauthorization Act. Committee chairman Rep. Bart Gordon, D- TN, said that NextGen was the Legislature’s attempt to harness FAA, NASA, and other agencies’ resources and expertise to enable the nation’s air transportation to handle future increases in travel demand without compromising safety or the environment. “Today’s hearing will provide this Committee with the opportunity to review the progress that has been made to date as well as examine the challenges that need to be addressed,” Gordon said.