While frequent flyers in the United States fear that federal budget cuts may compromise flight safety, European researchers are embarking on creating the latest aviation technology designed to make air travel not only safer, but more efficient as well.
The program, referred to as SESAR, will work to mitigate the hazards and delays caused by wake vortices, which are strong, spiraling air movements caused by planes taking off. These vortices have caused multiple crashes in the past and are dangerous primarily because of their extensive reach and their inability to be seen by the naked eye. Pilots who take off behind another plane are at risk of losing control over their aircrafts due to extreme turbulence caused by these vortices.
Currently, the aviation industry has a standard protocol for how many miles must separate their ascending aircraft, but SESAR could change all of that. The project has commissioned mathematical models of determining the strength and breadth of vortices based on dynamic factors such as weather and wind conditions. If the researchers can develop a more precise method of vortice measurement, then it could potentially mean more take-offs and less risk to passengers, clearly a win-win. The success of the initiative is yet to be seen, and we may not have any real data until the project commences in 2016.
Those interested in pursuing a career in the exciting and ever-changing field of aviation can get their start at Everglades University, an aviation college in Florida. The Master’s Degree in Aviation Science offered by the university is designed to train students in a wide variety of industry-specific fields, including air safety. Those interested in learning more about this rigorous, 36 credit-hour program can contact the university or visit its website to view the full program description including the necessary prerequisites and course requirements.