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FAA Tech Center Tuesday



“Advancing Aviation into the Next Decade and Beyond”
Dec. 1, 2020
FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center

Tech Symposium attendees are invited to the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center on Tuesday, December 1. Get an insider's look at cutting-edge research and development, and learn from experts as they find innovative solutions to current and future air transportation challenges. Sign up today for a Technical Track Tour. Morning and afternoon sessions are available. Each session has a limited number of participants, so don’t delay if you are interested! Registration will open shortly.


Track Tour Schedule

A.M. Sessions
  • TRACK 1: Airport and Aircraft Research (10 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • TRACK 2: Air Traffic Management (10 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • TRACK 3: NextGen Integration & Evaluation Capability Laboratory (10 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • TRACK 4: Research & Development Human Factors Laboratory (10 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • TRACK 5: William J. Hughes Technical Center Overview Campus Tour (10 – 11:30 a.m.)
P.M. Sessions
  • TRACK 1: Airport and Aircraft Research (1 – 2:30 p.m.)
  • TRACK 2: Air Traffic Management (1 – 2:30 p.m. AND 2:45 – 4:15 p.m.)
  • TRACK 3: NextGen Integration & Evaluation Capability Laboratory (1 – 2:30 p.m.)
  • TRACK 4: Research & Development Human Factors Laboratory (1 – 2:30 p.m.)
  • TRACK 5: William J. Hughes Technical Center Overview Campus Tour (1 – 2:30 p.m. AND 2:45 – 4:15 p.m.)

FAA Tech Center Tuesday Shuttle Schedule
Note: times are approximate as may be affected by weather, traffic, or delays at FAA Security
Depart Resorts Hotel to FAA Departs FAA for Resorts Hotel
7:45 am
8 am 8:30 am
9:15 am 9:15 am
9:45 am 10 am
11:15 am 11:30 am
12:45 pm 1 pm
2:15 pm 2:30 pm
3 pm 3:15 pm
3:45 pm- last departure from Resorts to FAA 4 pm
5 pm last departure from FAA to Resorts

Full-Scale Fire Test Facility

This is the largest and most extensive civil aircraft fire-test facility in the world. It examines the most realistic fire scenarios possible, including massive, jet fuel infernos. Built in 1980, the Full-Scale Fire Test Facility includes a 13,000-square-foot “test cell” of corrugated steel walls, concrete floor and refractory-ceramic ceiling that has been specifically designed for fire testing. The main test cell currently houses a complete B707 and the aft section of a DC-10 that’s connected to a 90-foot long fuselage test section.

Visitors to the Fire Test Facility will see a demonstration of Lithium battery fire suppression.

National Airport Pavement and Materials Research Center 

Airfield pavements must support extreme and ever-increasing loads under all weather conditions. The FAA is hard at work ensuring that our nation’s aviation pavement materials endure these rigors. The FAA’s pavement testing facility has offered unparalleled aircraft load simulation since its inception in 1999. To establish standards for our nation’s airport runways, pavement materials are tested with repeated, realistic aircraft loads. 

Visitors to the National Airport Pavement and Materials Research Center will see a demonstration of the state-of-the-art Heavy Vehicle Simulator.

Airport Safety Visual Guidance Program 

Beginning in the early 2000s, energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) illumination has been installed on the nation’s airfields, delivering improved visual cues for pilots and ground vehicle operators.  Since then, the Visual Guidance Program has conducted numerous research projects to aid in the airports in their transition from outmoded incandescent lighting to LED lighting. 

Visitors will see examples of LED lighting, solar lighting, a Visual Approach Slope Indicator, and LED windsock. They will also examine a scale model of an airport with all types of airfield lighting represented. In addition, visitors will witness a demonstration of on airport drone applications, and a demonstration using night vision goggles to show the capabilities of lighted navigational aids.

Go behind “The Red Brick Wall” and explore the FAA’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) Automation and Decision Support Systems Laboratories. The laboratories are key ATM assets that are used to conduct test and evaluation on system software, hardware, operating systems, security, and network configurations planned for operational system releases to field sites.

  • The En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system provides Air Traffic Control (ATC) services in the en route domain at 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers across the country.
  •  Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) provides ATC services in the terminal domain at 149 FAA and 99 Department of Defense Terminal operational facilities across the country. 
  • Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP) provides ATC services to oceanic (international) flights in the offshore ocean domain. This system has three operational installations in the National Airspace System (NAS): Oakland, Anchorage and New York Air Route Traffic Control Centers.
  • The Traffic Flow Management System (TFMS) provides National Airspace System (NAS) real-time airspace volume and capacity metrics to all the Traffic Management Units (TMUs). This allows for better aircraft flow in the NAS due to severe weather and high volume areas. TFMS integrates with systems used by more than 30 FAA, military, industry, public, and international stakeholders. It is implemented at 138 sites, including 82 air traffic management sites.

Visitors to the laboratories will see the systems jointly planning and implementing traffic management initiatives (TMI) on the ground and in the air to mitigate demand and capacity imbalances across the National Airspace System (NAS). They will also see how automation platforms combine to transition thousands of flights daily through the (NAS) within the U.S., as well as internationally, in a safe and expeditious manner. 


The NextGen Integration and Evaluation Capability (NIEC) Laboratory is the FAA’s research platform created to explore, integrate, and evaluate NextGen concepts through simulation activities resulting in concept maturation and requirements definition. The NIEC can be used to conduct early proof-of-concept studies, for rapid prototyping, to validate and mature concepts, risk mitigation, and improve operational performance across all NextGen solution sets. The NIEC complements the unique NAS facilities and aviation based equipment located at the Tech Center. The design of this environment provides for integration of FAA capabilities located at other labs within the Tech Center, as well as those located at non-FAA facilities, such as academia, industry and other government locations.

Visitors will see how each of the components of the NIEC lab simulate full gate-to-gate operations. 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) NextGen Laboratory provides core capabilities in modeling, simulation and flight-testing that progresses research from concept to implementation, supporting the safe integration of UAS into the National Airspace Systems (NAS). The capabilities consist of seven UAS platforms, numerous UAS enabling-technologies, advanced UAS data collection and analysis tools, and critical NAS systems and services. The UAS NextGen laboratory is fully integrated with other laboratories and services at the Tech Center, effectively creating a complete end-to-end test bed for UAS research. 

Visitors of the UAS NextGen Laboratory will see a demonstration of the UAS simulators, UAS technologies (e.g. Detect and Avoid capabilities), UAS data collection, and analysis tools.

The Research and Development Human Factors Laboratory (RDHFL) provides state-of-the-art capabilities for conducting air traffic control human-in-the-loop simulations to support human factors research, engineering, and development. The laboratory includes en route, terminal, and tower simulators that provide a robust and realistic research environment. The simulators incorporate the existing systems and equipment used today and also integrate upcoming system improvements, such as new decision-support tools, new communication tools, and modifications to the ATC user interface. The laboratory uses advanced technology like eye tracking and cognitive activity monitoring to measure the performance, attention, workload, situation awareness, and decision making of controllers and pilots.

Visitors to the RDHFL will see demonstration of recent air traffic control human-in-the-loop simulations in which information from multiple near-term systems and capabilities are integrated onto a single controller workstation, such as Data Communications and Time Based Flow Management. The demonstrations will also include advanced human factors data collection techniques, such as electroencephalography and eye tracking.


For more than 60 years, the William J. Hughes Technical Center has served as the nation's premier air transportation system laboratory and is the primary facility supporting the nation’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, NextGen. The Tech Center’s highly technical and diverse workforce tests and evaluates, verifies and validates, and sustains the National Airspace System. From its more than 90 world-class laboratories, the Center’s engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and technical experts address integrated system solutions delivering NextGen operational capabilities that modernize the NAS. Besides FAA labs and facilities, the Tech Center’s 5,000-plus acre mainland campus also hosts the Atlantic City International Airport, Federal Air Marshal Service, National Aviation Research & Technology Park, New Jersey Air National Guard 177th Fighter Wing, Transportation Security Lab, and a United States Coast Guard Air Station. 

Visitors will experience a 60 minute guided bus tour highlighting key areas of Tech Center’s campus and unique facilities. The tour will include an overview of the history of the campus and highlight many aviation-related programs currently underway. Additionally, the tour will visit and provide background on the operational areas of numerous federal and non-federal tenant organizations that are located at the Tech Center. Please note visitors will remain on the bus for the duration of the tour.  

Thank you to our sponsors:

  • Welcome to the ATCA
  • Welcome to the ATCA
  • 06 Jun 2018
    Hon. Linda Hall Daschle Named 2018 Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award Winner

    The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) is pleased to announce that former FAA Acting Administrator Linda Hall Daschle has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, one of the most prominent awards in aviation and ATCA’s highest honor.

    A pioneer for women in air traffic management, Daschle was the first female to hold the post of Acting Administrator for the FAA. She began her aviation career in Kansas nearly 45 years ago as a licensed weather observer for the agency. In 1993, she was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the US Senate for the position of FAA Deputy Administrator. One of her first tasks involved an assessment of the agency’s key air traffic modernization program called the Advanced Automation System which was eventually overhauled, saving the agency an estimated $1.6 billion. She also oversaw the advancement of new regional airline safety regulations and conducted a review of the agency’s safety and surveillance program, which resulted in one of the single largest hires of new safety inspectors in FAA history. 

    Ms. Daschle has held numerous government and private-sector leadership positions, including with the American Association of Airport Executives, the Air Transport Association, the former Civil Aeronautics Board, and with the law firm of Baker Donelson. She is currently President of LHD & Associates, Inc, and serves on the board of Aireon, LLC.

    In accepting the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, Ms. Daschle joins aviation greats, including Delta’s Richard Anderson, NATCA President Paul Rinaldi, the Hon. Jane Garvey, Boeing’s Neil Planzer, former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and pilot A. Scott Crossfield. (View press release HERE.)

    Tickets will be available this month. For more information, visit

    Established in Washington, D.C., in 1956 by a group of air traffic controllers, the Air Traffic Control Association has been from the outset dedicated to progress in the science of air traffic control and the preservation of a safe flight environment.
    Contact Us
    1101 King Street,
    Suite 300, Alexandria,
    Virginia 22314
    Phone no.: 703-299-2430
    Fax: 703-299-2437
    Email to:

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