ATCA64: The Future of the National Air Space Requires Innovation and an Acceptance of Failure


This week, the Connected Aviation Today editorial team was on-site at the ATCA64 Annual in Washington D.C., covering the latest on the state of the National Air Space (NAS) and what the future holds. From FAA leaders – past, present, and future – to industry experts, the annual event allowed for face-to-face collaboration and education. In case you missed it, we’ve recapped some key takeaways from the show here:

To innovate we must accept failure and even plan for it.

During ATCA64, the floor was buzzing about new technologies and innovations to solve the challenges of the National Air Space (NAS). Of course, there can’t be a discussion about innovation, without an equal discussion about procurement. During the general session on Monday, “The Pace of Innovation: How the NAS Can Benefit from Technology Accelerators and New Procurement Strategies,” panelists from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DoT), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) all agreed that to innovate, there needs to be acceptance of failure. Failing forward allows for lessons learned and that equates to progress. Even more important was the idea that there should be budget set aside to fund this experimentation.

Innovation is not an easy road. During one of many panel discussions during ATCA64, Lisa Sullivan from Palantir, moderated a session with Steve Bradford of FAA, Bob Etris of Evans Corporation, Kristen Beverly, of LS Technologies, and Nadine Alameh of OGC on why innovation is so hard and complex.

Yet, the road to innovation will get easier through cross collaboration between industry and government.

So how can we wrap up ideas around innovation and rethink the National Air Space? Here is a great list of adjectives from the general keynote session. “Not only do we need to be evolutionary,” according to Matthew Blum of the OMB, “but we need to be revolutionary.”

The conference continued with insights from FAA Administrator, Stephen Dickson, and Teri Bristol, COO, Air Traffic Organization for the FAA as well as a series of panelists and presentations on new and emerging technologies. Follow us on Twitter or hashtag #ATCA64 for live updates.