Aircraft in Gulf to be Tracked Using Satellites

FedAviAdminAir traffic controllers will begin using satellite technology in December to track aircraft flying over the Gulf of Mexico, a significant milestone in the government’s program to replace the nation’s radar-based air traffic system, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday.

The most immediate beneficiaries will be airliners flying from the southern United States to South America, which will be able to take off more frequently and fly closer together, and helicopters servicing about 9,000 oil rigs in the Gulf, which should be able to fly more direct routes and be less limited by poor weather.

The new technology will be used in a 240,000-square mile area of the Gulf. Radar coverage extends only about 150 miles from shore, so aircraft flying over the Gulf — or any large body of water — aren’t covered. As a safety precaution, controllers are required to keep 100 square miles around each plane free of other aircraft. To do this, they stagger planes leaving the continental U.S. by ten minutes, an inefficient system that dates back to World War II.

Likewise, helicopters, which service Gulf oil platforms with an estimated 5,000 to 9,000 daily takeoffs and landings, must be able to see other aircraft. That limits their ability fly in poor weather.

The satellite-based surveillance will give controllers the ability to see aircraft over water just as they do over land using radar.

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to deploy the system nationwide by 2013, although aircraft won’t have to install the cockpit equipment needed to take advantage of the new system until 2020. Ultimately, the system — known as NextGen — is expected to save the airline industry billions of dollars every year in time and fuel, as well as cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The system “is one of the biggest steps in technology our generation is going to see,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, who joined LaHood at a news conference.

Airlines, who have been especially hard hit by the economic downturn, are seeking help paying for the estimated billions of dollars it will cost to install new equipment.

“Congress and FAA should make this program a priority by creating the necessary financial incentives for accelerated deployment,” said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, which represents major airlines.

LaHood said the administration is working with the industry to find a solution.


Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.

Breathe easy, stay warm with Amazon’s one-day deal on a Dyson air purifier fan

Dyson is a leader in bringing consumers the latest in heating, cooling, and air purification. Its Pure Hot + Cool Link HP02 does all three — and for today only, it’s on sale on Amazon for $359. That’s $241 off the suggested retail…
Smart Home

LG is rolling out the barrels at CES 2019 with a craft beer machine

Looking to get into the beer making game? With the help of LG, you can become a brewmaster at home. The electronics maker is rolling out the LG HomeBrew, an at-home beer making machine at CES 2019.
Product Review

The Brava Oven takes all the thinking out of cooking

Using bulbs to cook food at different light frequencies, the Brava Oven lets even the clueless cook a tasty meal. But your own smart chef doesn’t come cheap.

Save big on these Braun electric razors and women’s epilators

Amazon and Walmart are currently offering limited-time deals for Braun electric razors and women's epilators. If you plan to make your way through all the festive parties this year with fresh smooth these tools will help.

The best air fryer deals you can still snag before Christmas

Christmas is closing in on us fast, but you still have a little bit of time left for last-minute kitchen gifts. We've searched the depths of Amazon and Walmart to bring you the best air fryer deals going on right now.

Best deals on smart locks so you’ll never have to worry about unlocked doors

Is your front door locked? We found the best deals on smart home door locks that take the worry out of wondering if your home is secure. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely and some models let you control locks with voice commands.

These Amazon kitchen deals are perfect for Christmas gifts and healthy eating

Today is day 10 of Amazon’s “12 Days of Deals,” and it’s all about kitchen. From blenders to Instant Pots to KitchenAid mixers and more, practical yet highly coveted small appliances are available for up to 50 percent off.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Smart Home

The Apple HomePod gets a whole lot cheaper today at Target

Apple's HomePod hasn't been the most popular smart speaker on the market but for users who are all in on Apple's heavily policed ecosystem of devices, this smart speaker is on serious sale at Target this week.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…