June 18, 2008

Flight Inspection Symposium Set to Begin in Oklahoma City

By Brian Brus

In order to have airplanes safely fly under ever-tighter deadlines and make the most efficient use of airspace, the industry needs the kinds of people who will be attending the International Flight Inspection Symposium at the Cox Convention Center next week.

"All of those signals in space, the ability to know precisely where aircraft are at any moment, and where you land at each airport has become even more critical," said John Heiderstadt, vice president of NXT Flight Inspection Systems, one of the sponsors of the event. "If you take an airplane traveling between Oklahoma City and L.A. (Los Angeles) or anywhere else in the world, for example, all those signals have to be interoperable. Consistency in how they're measured and regulated is a very important part of what these people do.

"The impact that such a small number of key international flight inspection professionals have on the safety of the flying public cannot be overstated," Heiderstadt said.

Flight inspection organizations measure the accuracy of all the navigation aids and airways that commercial and private aircraft use worldwide. The biennial symposium, which is scheduled to begin Monday, brings together professionals from all tiers in the industry, including service providers, regulatory agencies such as the FAA, and manufacturers such as NXT Flight Inspection Systems, to discuss timely issues and preview emerging technology.

Oklahoma City-based NXT also provides government agencies with highly skilled employees who specialize in the development, maintenance and marketing of software and hardware related to the aviation industry. NXT's Automatic Flight Inspection product line includes a wide range of flight inspection systems.

Industry experts have said that in order to meet future demands and avoid system gridlock, the industry must move from ground-based technologies to satellites, the next generation of which is expected to transform the entire national air transportation system.

Organizers expect about 350 people from more than 30 countries to attend the event. The International Flight Inspection Symposium series has been held every other year since 1984 in countries including Italy, Germany, France and Chile.

Oklahoma City landed the event in large part because of the density of jobs related to the Federal Aviation Administration and Tinker Air Force Base in the metro area, Heiderstadt said. The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center is the second-largest FAA employer in the country.

"We are pleased to join the list of world-class cities that have hosted this symposium," Mayor Mick Cornett said in a prepared statement. "We know the participants will enjoy their stay in Oklahoma City."

Originally published by Brian Brus.

(c) 2008 Journal Record - Oklahoma City. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.