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03.13.07 Division Highlights

Resolution Logic for Short Time to Loss of Separation Conflicts: Dr. Heinz Erzberger, working under a UC-Santa Cruz NRA Grant, has developed an initial logic set that could provide a basis for automatic short-term conflict resolution turn vectors for tactical safety assurance in NGATS airspace operations. The logic determines the combination of turn radius, heading change, and length of straight-and-level flight segment needed to achieve a desired minimum separation from an approaching aircraft. Graphical analysis of resolution trajectories for various combinations of conflict geometry and relative ground speed reveal a structure in the resolution parameter space that leads to a numerically tractable resolution. The algorithm is intended for conflicts with a very short time to loss of separation, or for collision avoidance after loss of separation. The algorithm may be generalized to compute feasible resolutions for each of the two conflict aircraft. The algorithm is being incorporated into existing auto-resolution software models (e.g., ACES and CTAS) for further analysis.

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Airspace Concepts Evaluation System (ACES): On March 6, 7, and 8 the Aerospace Operations Modeling Branch (AFM) hosted a workshop focused on development of the Airspace Concepts Evaluation System (ACES). ACES is a fast-time gate-to-gate simulation of the national air transportation system that is used to refine and assess new air traffic management concepts. Team members from Raytheon, SAIC, IAI, Sensis, Mozaic, UARC, ACI, and NASA were in attendance. The focus of the workshop was on the design requirements and development progress of the latest version of ACES. This version will support integration of the new concepts being developed under the NGATS-ATM project and analysis of the allocation of functions between flight deck and ground, the effects of communication and surveillance performance on the system-wide performance, and the effects of trajectory and weather prediction accuracy and precision on the system-wide performance. The workshop resulted in a team-shared understanding of ongoing and future ACES development and a prioritized list of tasks that need to be completed during the next 6 months to support ongoing research studies.

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Boeing Trajectory-Based Automation Experiment Seattle Meeting Summary: NASA Ames researchers Eric Mueller (Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck Technologies) and Dave McNally (Airspace Systems), met with Boeing Phantom Works engineers in Kent, Washington on March 7th to discuss progress on an experiment to assess the interoperability of trajectory-based automation with emerging avionics and datalink capabilities on modern commercial aircraft. NASA reported successful communication of a variety of trajectory-based automation messages (generated in CTAS) to the integrated FMS equipment (FANS 1/A) onboard the 747-400 simulator resident in the Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF). Boeing engineers reported near-readiness for similar testing with 737 and 777 FMS equipment using Boeing simulators. Data from this experiment will help NASA determine what additional air and ground capabilities are needed to achieve NGATS safety and capacity goals through trajectory-based automation integrated with FMS/datalink communication. Preliminary results indicate advanced flight deck equipment will already support most elements of the trajectory-based automation concept.

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Meeting to Integrate Continuous Descent Approaches into Air Traffic Operations: Personnel from the FAA's Southern California TRACON and Georgia Tech met with NASA researchers on March 7th to discuss near- and long-term approaches to integrate "Continuous Descent Approach" (CDA) procedures with arrival metering operations in the busy Los Angeles basin. CDA procedures have been shown to reduce noise and emissions, while arrival metering--which relies on the Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) automation invented by NASA--has been shown to significantly reduce delay. The integration of these procedures will add to the efficiency of airspace utilization, even as the use of the airspace increases.

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New Data on Runway Incursions and Airborne Loss-of-Separation in Super Density Environments being Collected: Working with FAA Quality Assurance personnel, researchers at the NASA/FAA North Texas Research Station (NTX) have started collecting and analyzing operational error data collected at the DFW TRACON. These cases include not only loss-of-separation incidents during approach and departure, but also runway incursions. These real-world examples feature complexity and uncertainty that is not readily produced in laboratory simulations, and provide baseline and algorithm check data for technology developed from the NGATS ATM Airspace and Airportal projects.

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SBIR Kickoff Meeting on Mitigation of Environmental Impact from Air Traffic Operations: On Friday, March 9th, a Phase I SBIR Kick-off meeting was held with Metron Aviation, Inc. Terry Thompson and Stephen Augustine presented background information and a work plan for their innovation entitled "Analysis and Mitigation of Increased Traffic Impacts on the Environment (AMITIE)" which is proposed to have an impact on the design of the next-generation air transportation system (NGATS) within environmental constraints by identifying causal factors as well as mitigation options for environmental impacts. The Metron researchers also discussed the capabilities of the NAS-wide Environmental Impact Model (NASEIM), which they developed under a NASA Phase 2 SBIR, and how it will be used within the AMITIE project. NASEIM estimates noise, emissions, and fuel burn impacts.

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A Space Act agreement was signed with UPS who will now use the Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility 747 simulator to conduct training through the end of the calendar year.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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