A Survey and Preliminary Study of Worldwide USAF Aircraft Operations and Air Traffic Control

by S. L. Katten

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First part of a report on USAF aircraft operations and civil and military air control. Problems of incapacity and congestion plague most freeworld navigable airspace. Three levels of air traffic control facilitation exist: highest — VHF/UHF navigation aids, communications, and radar surveillance or control; lowest — low-medium frequency beacons with sparse VHF/UHF navigation aids and communications; and a combination of these. The Federal Aviation Administration and USAF have contributed substantially to freeworld ATC, but only high-level facilitation can fully support USAF. Major USAF problems include deteriorating controller skills and experience, low retentivity, and the increasing costs of remaining compatible with the U.S. common system. The AIMS/TRACALS program (the military part of ATC) attempts to keep pace with civil improvements, but is inadequate for the near and more distant future. Past ATC studies appear deficient in delineating approaches for the necessary revolutionary improvements. Systems analysis of ATC is strongly needed. Observations on present, near, and more distant future periods conclude the report.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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