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Distributed Aviation Concepts and TechnologiesAviation has experienced one hundred years of evolution, resulting in the current air transportation system dominated by commercial airliners in a hub and spoke infrastructure. While the first fifty years involved disruptive technologies that required frequent vehicle adaptation, the second fifty years produced a stable evolutionary optimization of decreasing costs with increasing safety. This optimization has resulted in traits favoring a centralized service model with high vehicle productivity and cost efficiency. However, it may also have resulted in a system that is not sufficiently robust to withstand significant system disturbances. Aviation is currently facing rapid change from issues such as environmental damage, terrorism threat, congestion and capacity limitations, and cost of energy. Currently, these issues are leading to a loss of service for weaker spoke markets. These catalysts and a lack of robustness could result in a loss of service for much larger portions of the aviation market. The impact of other competing transportation services may be equally important as casual factors of change. Highway system forecasts indicate a dramatic slow down as congestion reaches a point of non-linearly increasing delay. In the next twenty-five years, there is the potential for aviation to transform itself into a more robust, scalable, adaptive, secure, safe, affordable, convenient, efficient and environmentally friendly system. To achieve these characteristics, the new system will likely be based on a distributed model that enables more direct services. Short range travel is already demonstrating itself to be inefficient with a centralized model, providing opportunities for emergent distributed services through air-taxi models. Technologies from the on-demand revolution in computers and communications are now available as major drivers for aviation on-demand adaptation. Other technologies such as electric propulsion are currently transforming the automobile industry, and will also significantly alter the functionality of future distributed aviation concepts. Many hurdles exist, including technology, regulation, and perception. Aviation has an inherent governmental role not present in other recent on-demand transformations, which may pose a risk of curtailing aviation democratization .
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Moore, Mark D.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
August 19, 2008
Subject Category
Aeronautics (General)
Report/Patent Number
SAE 2008-01-2268
Meeting Information
Wichita Aviation Technology Conference(Wichita, KS)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 492505.01.07.89R4.01
Distribution Limits
No Preview Available