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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
08.14.07 Division Highlights

Contents
Preliminary Computational Geometry Algorithms for Airspace Partitioning: Researchers from SUNY Stony Brook, Metron, and NASA developed initial algorithms for airspace partitioning. These algorithms used binary-cut, pie-cut, and modified binary/pie-cut approaches. The binary-cut algorithm is based on partitioning an airspace in half (either vertically or horizontally) to distribute a preferred metric (e.g., peak aircraft count, average count). The cutting continues until all parts are within the specified metric threshold. In the pie-cut method, an airspace is partitioned in pie-cuts (looks like a pie-chart) to distribute a preferred metric. The modified method uses binary-cut as the initial partition and then switches to pie-cut method. The preliminary airspace structures were shown to operational traffic management coordinators, controllers, and airspace experts to gather initial feedback. Example comments were that acute angles and too many corners close to each other needed to be avoided so that an aircraft does not cross multiple sectors in a short period of time. The next planned step is to consider the flows while making cuts to ensure that the partitioning also follows the flows.

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Airborne Self-Separation Progress in System-Wide Modeling: Researchers from Intelligent Automation Incorporated visited Ames to demonstrate their research on modeling airborne self-separation with the Airspace Concepts Evaluation System. They integrated a new agent that tracked flights as they approached the airport and calculated scheduled times of arrival. Then, they modified the flight agents to guide the flights through the meter fixes such that they crossed them at the schedule time and did not conflict with other aircraft.

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Custom Weather Software for Real-time Air-Traffic-Management Simulation: The Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies team accepted the Weather Server application software from SAIC during the first week of August. This server allows centralized distribution of weather information in a distributed real-time air traffic management simulation. It also constructs custom weather files specific to a simulator or simulation from generally available, archived weather data.

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Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies Tools Used in Second Phase of Trajectory-Based Automation Experiment: Researchers completed data runs last week for the second phase of the Trajectory Based Automation Experiment. The experiment was conducted by connecting, via Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies software, the Center TRACON Automation System (CTAS) and the N747 cockpit simulator in the Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility. It demonstrated the interaction between flight plan amendments generated by CTAS and the flight management system in the cockpit simulator.

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Trajectory Prediction, Synthesis and Uncertainty Collaboration Started: Discussions began with Dr. Yi-Yuan Zhao at the University of Minnesota for the recently awarded NASA Research Announcement (NRA) on Trajectory Prediction, Synthesis and Uncertainty. The topic of this NRA is to develop an analysis of capabilities and requirements for aircraft trajectory prediction technologies that represent the current state of the art using a common framework. Trajectories are used for multiple ATM functions such as conflict detection, metering, sequencing and traffic complexity problems. In an integrated air traffic system, it is beneficial to leverage common trajectory prediction capabilities to facilitate ground-ground and air-ground interoperability. The defined framework lends to a systematic approach to discover factors that strongly influence trajectory prediction accuracy.

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Capability Enhancement for VMS Image Generation and Displays: The recent visual upgrade for the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) includes replacement of the image generator and the out-the-window displays. One of the interchangeable cockpits has been fully repopulated with new displays and has passed acceptance testing. Another cockpit is currently being integrated, and all the remaining cockpits are to receive the new displays. Visual fidelity has increased by an order of magnitude with resolution going from 1024x946 to 1400x1050, interlaced to non-interlaced, 3K polygons per channel per second to 25K polygons per channel per second, brightness has increased from 6.5 feet. Lamberts brightness increased to greater than 10 feet. Lamberts, and the contrast ratio, has essentially doubled. Modelers have received four weeks of training and are now converting shuttle database landing sites to work with the new image generator and displays. The new capabilities allow for significantly enhanced visual cues for pilots and researchers including landing lights, geographical landmarks, night vision goggles, dynamic models (vehicles, people, etc), infrared, sensor channels, etc. This upgrade represents the largest increase in visual fidelity since the ESIG 3000 Image Generator was installed in 1993.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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