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11.20.07 Division Highlights

Daily Tailored Arrivals into San Francisco: New arrival operations into San Francisco International airport will begin December 3, 2007. Three United Airlines flights, consisting of B-777 and B-747 aircraft arriving from Honolulu and Sydney, will receive clearances via datalink in oceanic airspace to allow a continuous descent to landing using onboard guidance and control systems. Starting in January 2008, trans-pacific flights operated by Qantas and Air New Zealand will be added. Operations will use the procedures and flight profiles developed during the NASA-led Tailored Arrivals field trials, completed in January 2007. Because flights will arrive during periods of light traffic congestion, prototype ground-based automation tested by NASA during the field trials for time-based metering will not be required to support this activity. This early deployment of Tailored Arrivals was initiated by Boeing and the FAA in response to airline requests for immediate benefits during light traffic conditions. Based on results from the previous NASA trials, these operations offer potential fuel savings of between 200 and 400 lbs per flight, with corresponding reductions in carbon dioxide of between 600 and 1,200 lbs per flight.

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Demonstrations and Tours for the Runway Safety Conference: NASA Ames Research Center supported the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Runway Safety Summit held on November 14-16, 2007 in Milpitas, CA. The conference reviewed trends and recent advancements in policies, technology, and procedures intended to enhance runway and airport safety. Conference attendees included a cross-section of FAA and NTSB employees, airport managers, airline representatives, and consultants. Nancy Dorighi served on the planning committee and moderated a panel on "Developments in Technology and Procedures - Federal Government Initiatives." Charles Drew spoke on the Aviation Safety Reporting System. On the last day of the conference, NASA SimLabs hosted tours of their flight simulators, as well as an automated taxi demonstration.

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Kickoff for NRA to develop Agent-Based Airspace Analysis Tool: Dr. Amy Pritchett of Georgia Tech University and Dr. Kevin Corker of San Jose State University presented ideas for this NRA. This team will create a framework to predict the performance of airspace operational concepts for the Performance Based Services element. One goal is to look at the relationship among new types of aircraft operations, airborne and ground-based applications, communication, navigation, and surveillance system capabilities. The second goal is to look at the usefulness of specific level and potential groupings of applications and system performance capabilities in NextGen scenarios. The third goal is to perform fast-time simulations to look at airborne and ground-based applications and system capabilities in support of NextGen. The final models will be suitable for a range of systems, operating concepts and conditions. These models will be scalable to support a broad range of uses. As part of this NRA, this team will also look at procedures for Continuous Descent Approaches.

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Airspace Systems Engineering Workshop: Ames Research Center hosted a technical workshop with Langley during November 14–15, 2007. The focus was assessment and trade studies of concepts for managing air traffic. The objectives were to foster a common understanding of ongoing research, educate researchers about tools, and find opportunities for collaboration. Approaches for studying the airborne concept for separating air traffic were presented. The first approach is investigating how airborne separation would increase capacity in the Fort Worth Center airspace, and the second approach is investigating how the range of on-board surveillance systems affects performance. To make results more comparable, the study leads agreed to compare resolution algorithms, which are a key part of the concept. In addition to the airborne concept, methods for predicting future flight demand were discussed. Demand determines areas where congestion will occur and, hence, where capacity needs to be increased. One method used a projection of operations growth at airports. The other method used a projection of population growth, along with its demographics. The group decided that a variety of demands, produced using both methods and several growth scenarios, were needed to capture the actual evolution of the air transportation system.

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Presentation at Runway Safety Summit: Dr. Yoon Jung gave an invited presentation at the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Runway Safety Summit on November 15th. Conference discussion topics included lessons learned from recent runway accidents and incidents, the FAA/industry call to action plan for runway safety, and developments in technology and procedures. Dr. Jung gave an overview of the Airportal project’s Safe and Efficient Surface Operations research focus area. He briefed recent research in low altitude/surface conflict detection and resolution, pilot requirements for 4D taxi clearances, and surface traffic optimization.

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Testbed improved to keep pace with advances in conflict resolution algorithms: Previous testing of ground-based automated conflict resolution algorithms have been limited by the computational power of the simulation environment. As a result, lower air traffic demand levels and/or less sophisticated algorithms are tested. Recent improvements to the Airspace Concept Evaluation System have significantly enhanced simulation performance. A recent simulation of the most computationally-intensive conflict resolution algorithm was successfully run with a traffic demand file having three times the enroute traffic and 1.5 times the arrival traffic for a 24-hour period in Cleveland Center. In the simulation, the conflict resolution algorithm successfully resolved 99.98% of all 6600+ detected conflicts. The average flight delay incurred per resolved conflict was 45 seconds. These initial results compare favorably with prior results at lower densities and with simpler algorithms. Future work is progressing toward raising the constraint on arrival densities from 1.5 times up to 3 times.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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