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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
06.26.07 Division Highlights

Contents
Convective Weather Scenarios Incorporated into ACES: A new software tool has been developed at NASA Ames Research Center to generate convective weather scenario inputs for the Airspace Concept Evaluation System (ACES) using weather forecast data from the National Convective Weather Forecast (NCWF) provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ACES simulates operations in the National Airspace System and was recently enhanced to represent convective weather as polygons of constrained airspace that move with time. The Weather Scenario Toolbox, developed by local researchers, automates the entire process of generating ACES weather scenario inputs from NCWF predictions. This eliminates tedious manual development of weather scenarios containing large numbers of weather cells. The toolbox is written in Matlab® and is structured to enable eventual utilization of other weather data sources and to support future enhancements to the ACES weather modeling capabilities.

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FACET Considered for Operational Reroute Impact Assessments: The FAA's Joint Resources Council (JRC) has approved the operational deployment of a Reroute Impact Assessment tool in FY10. This new capability will allow traffic flow managers to perform "what-if?" analyses to examine the predicted impact of proposed reroutes on the national airspace system prior to implementation. In support of this effort, the FAA is currently evaluating the feasibility of leveraging many of the core capabilities of NASA's Future ATM Concepts Evaluation Tool (FACET) for the development of this new tool. Among the FACET capabilities most relevant to this activity are the system's predictive capabilities, the rerouting algorithms, and the intuitive computer human interfaces. The traffic flow management optimization research currently being pursued under the NGATS-Airspace Project could also play a pivotal role in the development of this new capability.

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Very Closely Spaced Parallel Approach Pairing Method: For the problem of Very Closely Spaced Parallel Approaches (VCSPA) it is critical to pair aircraft which have a similar aircraft performance, especially regarding the final approach speed. To develop this pairing capability, an aircraft grouping method was developed based on performance criteria such as the aircraft wake and ICAO approach category, the number of engines, engine type and range of descent rates. For aircraft for which performance information were not available, a category was created for aircraft using the same aircraft alias reference within CTAS. This method was applied to more than 1500 aircraft that were assigned to one out of 57 CSPA-groups and sub-groups. When grouping aircraft in preparation for a CSPA those aircraft which have the same or the most similar sub-group are preferred. This categorization was prepared for the purposes of conducting higher-fidelity VSCPA simulations which will be compared with earlier experiments on the Terminal Area Capacity Enhancing Concept (TACEC) which examined fewer aircraft and had more limited aircraft types.

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Simulation Tool Used for ATC Research Ported to Intel-based Apple Mac running OSX: The Pseudo-Aircraft Systems (PAS) is now able to run on an Intel based Apple Mac running the OSX operating system. PAS is a multi-aircraft target generating simulator tool designed to simulate the flight dynamics of aircraft used to support the Separation Assurance (SA) technical element of the NGATS Airspace Project. The ability to run both PAS and the Center-TRACON Automation System software used for ATC research on computationally fast Apple Macs will help fulfill key SA milestones. This multi-platform capability will allow developers and researchers to explore more cost efficient desktop options other than current workstations to support ATC research.

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