Tag Archives: Brian Will

AA sees fuel savings “if we can get the regulators and rules out of the way”

In a Chicago Tribune article about Thursday’s AIRE demo flight, American Airlines captain and spokesman Brian Will had this to say:

“For years, we’ve had all this great equipment on the airplanes, but we are not able to use a lot of these things because of what essentially are speed bumps caused by an outdated air-traffic system,” said Brian Will, a Boeing 777 captain at American who is also the airline’s technical programs manager. “This flight from Paris’ Charles De Gaulle to Miami International will show what can be accomplished — several thousands of pounds of fuel saved on that one flight — if we can get the regulators and the rules out of the way,” Will said. [..]

“Airplanes using GPS can report their real-time position anywhere on the planet with accuracy of 20 feet,” Will said. “We have the tools today and really shouldn’t be forced to wait until 2020.”

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NYT looks, superficially, at aviation’s fuel-saving efforts

The New York Times has joined this month’s parade of general-interest news outlets looking at how fuel efficiency is bringing changes to the airline business. This article doesn’t mention ADS-B, RNAV, or RNP, but it does mention continuous-descent arrivals. It also takes a look at efficiency-improving products like winglets and new technologies in engine design.

The following excerpt hints at NextGen and equipage issues, but doesn’t really explain either topic:

On a recent trial flight, Southwest Airlines used satellite navigation and continuous descent approaches on a round trip between Dallas and Houston and determined it could reduce fuel consumption by 6 percent.

“If we were able to reduce and get 6 percent savings across all our flights, that would equal 90 million gallons a year in fuel reduction and a reduction in carbon emissions of 1.9 billion pounds,” said Jeff Martin, Southwest’s senior director of flight operations.

Nancy Young, vice president of environmental affairs for the Air Transport Association, said that changing from a radar-based system to a satellite-based one was “a big, big thing.”

But incorporating the new flights into an older traffic infrastructure takes time. Air traffic control centers and airlines are in transition, with some updating equipment faster than others. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, about 80 percent of American airliners have the necessary devices.

Brian Will, program manager for American Airlines and a pilot, said the agency needed to do more to reward companies that make an investment in new technology. Air traffic control “is compelled to maintain a system that will accommodate everybody,” he said. “In my opinion, this is a mistake.”

The aviation authority is considering ways to expedite satellite-guided planes through the system. “Clearly there is a policy that we’re looking at right now to try and improve our delivery of services to those who are better equipped,” said Carl E. Burleson, the F.A.A.’s deputy acting administrator for policy planning and the environment.


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