An app makes your flight fly faster

More than looking at starts, NASA is also being very down to earth.

Recently, NASA completed a few tests of its new Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) application aboard a PiAggio P.180 Avanti pusher prop and continue a formal test program corporate with Alaska Airlines and Virgin America in the next three years (Lynch, 2015).

TAP connects to the aircraft monitor station which is able to locate the aircraft current position, read its altitude, in charge of the flight route and other real-time information to specify the aircraft’s situation. Then, TAP will automatically start searching a variety of route or altitude changes that could save flight time, reduce fuel costs or carbon emissions and send the detailed analysis result to the pilots.

Moreover, making a connection between TAP and receiver ADS-B ensure the application to sweep the signals of nearby air traffic in order to avoid potential risks in proposed flight route changes, it will be more easy for the controller in the monitor station to approve a pilot’s route change request (Unknown, 2015). By doing so, it will improve the efficiency between pilots and controllers.

In addition, once the aircraft cockpit has Internet connection, TAP can obtain the information on real-time weather conditions, wind speed, temperature, visibility, cloud cover and other information to increase flight efficiency.

TAP can be operated on a tablet and easily implemented. Basically, it doesn’t need any changes of the roles or responsibility of flight pilots and controllers; therefore, it can be implemented on the aircraft to produce benefits in a timely manner.


William Cotton, one of the test pilots said that TAP can save four minutes off the flight time after he requested a route change which granted by air traffic control (Lynch, 2015). Four minutes cutting seems not a big deal, however, with thousands of airplanes travel on each day, there will be an enormous amount of cost savings on fossil fuel and an incredible decrease of carbon emission. Here is an example: shaving off four minutes reduces the fuel costs for a Boeing 767 aircraft for around 330 dollars, if half of the aircrafts take off from Atlanta airport are able to save four minutes flight time each day, cost savings will reach to around 165,000 dollars (Ren, 2015).

Researchers from NASA anticipate this application is going to take a big step forward in the national airspace, since TAP is really doing a nice job on reducing delays, increasing the flight efficiency, protecting environment and offering passengers a better flight experience.


Unknown. (2015, 9 23). NASA’s Traffic Aware Planner to Increase Efficiency of Airliners. Retrieved from World Industrial Reproter:

Lynch, K. (2015, 9 23). NASA Tests New Traffic Planning App Aboard Avanti. Retrieved from AIN online:

RenZong. (2015 9 24). NASA developed an app for helping piolts find optimal flight route. Retreved from Leifeng:

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