The Air Traffic Control Association’s (ATCA) Tech Symposium recently held a virtual event, in an effort to bring together air traffic management experts to discuss the current state of the industry and the latest advancements.

Though the in-person interactions were no longer at the forefront, this virtual event was organized with the FAA and NASA and included 13 hours of programming with over 45 speakers from the industry.

With the theme of “Advancing Aviation into the Next Decade and Beyond,” ATCA’s CEO Peter Dumont reflected on the industry and how it has faced many challenges thus far. Dumont noted that ATCA has always been at the forefront in helping industry and members develop new procedures, implement new technologies, and amplify the voices of its members. Looking to the decade ahead, this job continues to be of great importance.

Additional topics revolved around the ongoing evolution and integration of next-generation air traffic technology and what role it will play in the gradual reopening of the airways. Emphasis was high on the importance of automation and the technologies that will boost safety considering COVID-19. Another common thread among panelists was the growing concern for cybersecurity and how to protect data across the connected ecosystem.

For these topics and more, the editors of Connected Aviation Today pulled together a few of our favorite moments:

September 14th saw a virtual fireside chat featuring the Federal Aviation Agency Deputy Administrator Daniel Elwell and ATCA President and CEO Peter Dumont. Both experts have extensive experience and it certainly showed in the conversation. With an eye towards the next generation of aviation and air traffic control technology, this chat highlighted the top-down view over the integration of technology into the industry.

One exciting announcement came from the Evolving NAS Service for Emerging Aircraft Operations panel. The event, featuring ClimaCell’s Gene Dolgin, Boeing’s Dr. Chip Meserole, NASA’s Parimal Kopardekar, and the FAA’s Earl Lawrence, discussed, among many things, the very near future for advanced air mobility. Emphasizing the need for new rules and regulations, Lawrence noted that there are applications for crafts with eVTOL capabilities in progress with the FAA. eVTOL is set to be a major gamechanger when realized and is hypothesized to become a new avenue for air travel in and around cities.

Safety has always been a number one priority in aviation and as the industry considers the road to recovery, protecting the national air space is always a top concern. ATCA speakers and panelists tackled the issue of safety from many different perspectives, including the emergence of automation, AI, and other technologies that could enhance safety.

Once again showcasing that diversity in the aviation workforce only makes the industry stronger, ATCA was proud to host another “Women in Aviation Technology” networking event. Ahead of the event, JMA Solutions’ COO and Senior Vice President of Program Service Avis Dillard-Bullock spoke about why events like this are important in STEM fields, and the value of diversity to innovation.

All told, the ATCA Tech Symposium 2020 rolled with the punches this year and delivered to participants the same high-level overviews and technical expertise that has flavored previous years. Though the avenues have changed, the roadmap to the future of air traffic innovation remains the same. With exciting developments on the horizon, we will look forward to seeing how the ideas and innovations of today will shape our tomorrow.