National Airspace System Plan

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

The National Airspace System Plan was unveiled by the Federal Aviation Administration in 1981. Since then, the original 10-year, $10-billion project, has been expanded. Latest estimates place the cost of the project at $16 billion, but systems will be continuously updated with advancements in technology.

The purpose of the plan is to upgrade virtually every component of the nation's air traffic control system, at every major airport in the country and at a number of military air bases.

New systems include:

* Radar systems that track airplanes in the sky as they fly over land and sea

* Instruments that gather and analyze weather data

* Computers used by air traffic controllers to monitor aircraft and communicate with pilots.

* Automated maintenance to care for the new systems.

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