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Introduction It has been estimated that air traffic will double within the next ten years Maintaining our current accident rate with double the traffic would mathematically lead to twice as many accidents as we currently experience every year That prospect is unacceptable UK and International Press There has been obvious growing concern with our airspace due to the anticipated expected growth in air traffic in the years to come These concerns are not unwarranted with technology increasing at a furious pace and sophisticated equipment becoming more and more available This paper will discuss what is currently being done to meet the demanding needs of future air travel The main focus will be on the Wide Area Augmentation System WAAS in association to the concept of free flight with respect to the Global Positioning System GPS and Air Traffic Control ATC automation The ATC automation portion of this report will give specific attention to datalink applications conflict probe and next generation aviation safety Wide Area Augmentation System WAAS The Federal Aviation Administrations FAA WAAS is being developed as the next generation aviation navigation system It will provide en route coverage through Category I precision approach capabilities by increasing the accuracy availability and integrity of signals from the US Department of Defenses Global Positioning System GPS satellites Raytheon 1998 Category I precision approaches are a decision height of 200 feet and a runway visual range of 2400 feet 1800 feet with touchdown and centerline lighting Before the WAAS can be fully understood knowledge of the GPS system must be addressed The information provided on GPS will be brief and its purpose is to supplement the understanding of the WAAS GPS is constellation of 24 satellites that was declared operational in December 1993 and is used for navigation and mapping purposes by a wide variety of industries including aviation Hughes 1999 The GPS has three main components the 24 satellites the ground-based monitors and the receivers
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