The Air Transportation System and several key subsystems including the Aircraft, Airline, and Air Trmc Management are modeled as interacting control loops. The impact of Information Technologies on each of these subsystems is evaluated through the performance of these control loops. Information technologies are seen to have a significant impact on the safety, efficiency, capability, capacity, environmental impact and financial performance of the Air Transportation System and its components. This growth in traffic has been accompanied by an increase in safety and cost efficiency. The world commercial jet aircraft fatal or hull loss accident rate decreased by a factor of 5 from 1972 to 2002 and by more than 25 from the entry of commercial jet aircraft in the early 1960's.~ Cost efficiency has also increased. The average Cost per Available Seat Mile (CASM) for U.S. Airlines has decreased by over 40% since the late 1970's.~ It is interesting to note that this period of strong air transportation performance correlates with both the deregulation of the U. S Airline Industry in 1978 and the growth in Information Technologies. The commercial introduction of the microprocessor was in 197 1 and the introduction of the Intel 8086 processor (which powered most personal computers) occurred in 1978 (Ref. 4) the year the US Auline industry was deregulated. This paper explores the impact of Information Technologies on Air Transportation and attempts to identify key Information Technology trends emergent issues and future opportunities for Air Transportation. In order to limit it's scope, this papa will focus primarily on Information Technologies that influence operational closed loop feedback control at various levels. It w~ll not address Information Technologies such as CFD and computational modeling which have had a significant impact on vehicle design.
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