THE US FEDERAL Aviation Administration has adopted as a major project plans to develop a low-level airspace system for Atlanta, Georgia, to enable helicopters to be used to overcome traffic congestion expected during the 1996 Olympic Games.

The joint government-industry project will develop a network of helicopter routes which will overlay Atlanta's freeway system. The global-positioning system (GPS) and satellite communications will be used for navigation and surveillance of aircraft flying below 2,200ft (670m).

The project is supported by local businesses, including Olympic sponsor United Parcel Service, which fear that traffic congestion will paralyse Atlanta's road system and prevent movement of time-critical shipments for the duration of the Games, which will run from 20 July to 4 August.

Industry participants in the project include the Helicopter Association International and the Atlanta Vertical Flight Association, which includes several corporate Olympic sponsors. The aim is to use suitably equipped helicopters for freight, priority mail, emergency medical services and passenger transport.

Helicopters using the airspace system will be equipped for GPS-based automatic dependent surveillance, allowing positions of all participating aircraft to displayed on the ground and in the cockpits of similarly equipped helicopters.

Source: Flight International