Explore how NASA technology improves the flow of U.S. air traffic.
The U.S. has some of the busiest airports and airspace in the world. At any given time more than 5,000 planes are traveling through its skies. To help air traffic controllers direct these flights, scientists from NASA Ames Research Center created a powerful computer program that can predict how planes will move around the country. Called FACET (Future Air Traffic Management Concepts Evaluation Tool), the program uses actual air traffic and weather data to model the climb, cruise and descent paths for commercial aircraft. The simulated routes can be displayed on a map and analyzed for improvements in flight plans, such as finding ways to move people and cargo faster and with less environmental impact. Watch the animation to see 24 hours of simulated air traffic over the continental United States.