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12.11.07 Division Highlights

Automated Separation Assurance Safety Meeting: Researchers from Ames met with MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers John Andrews and Jerry Welch to plan safety modeling and analysis methods for automated separation assurance. The objective was to identify experiments and data analysis to address first order safety questions related to automated separation assurance concepts and technology for the national airspace system. Following a review and discussion of recent experiments, Lincoln presented four candidate topic areas for safety analysis: total failure of trajectory based automation computer system, data link outage, navigation blunders where aircraft unexpectedly deviate from their planned trajectory, and convective weather operations. The next step is to design and conduct experiments to investigate automation and human operator performance under these conditions.

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Development of the Airport Ground Resource Planning Tool: An algorithmic approach was developed for applying pre-departure event times to improve gate departure time (i.e., push-back or block-out times) predictions for individual flights. A method using the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) messages from a large domestic air carrier at a busy airport was applied. Results show the benefit of applying this pre-departure information to two existing automation systems that predict gate departure times – the Surface Management System (SMS) and the Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS). The use of ACARS pre-departure data significantly improves both SMS and ETMS gate departure time predictions. For example, the percentage of flights predicted within +/-5 minutes of the actual gate departure time is increased from approximately 30% to approximately 80%, when the predictions are made 15 minutes prior to the actual gate departure time. Mosaic ATM conducted this research via an SBIR Phase 2 effort for the development of the Airport Ground Resource Planning tool.

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Completed literature survey of NextGen concepts for use in the Performance Based Services focus area: The Performance-Based Services (PBS) research focus area team completed a survey of Next Generation (NextGen) air traffic management concepts. The team compiled a list of technologies common to the concepts developed by the Joint Planning and Development Office. One technology is to provide data link communications of flight plan changes, taxi instructions, and flight trajectory predictions. The team will use this survey to plan simulations and methods to define how aircraft need to perform in the NextGen system.

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New Version of the Airspace Traffic Generator was Released: Version 2.2.1 of the Airspace Traffic Generator, a real-time aircraft target generator, was released. This version is the first to support multiple platforms, such as Sun Solaris 8 and 10 and Mac OS X. In addition, the airspace model was updated with the latest data published by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Airspace Traffic Generator is a key component of human-in-the-loop experiments used to test future air traffic management concepts.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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