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02.12.08 Division Highlights

Alleviating Airspace Restrictions Through Strategic Control: A deterministic optimization model, formulated as a linear integer program, has been developed to assign pre-departure delays to flights under airspace capacity restrictions. The model controls arrivals to Chicago O'Hare International Airport over its eastern arrival fixes. Due to heavy traffic volume, even on weather-free days, the FAA places a 10 miles-in-trail (MIT) restriction at these arrival fixes. Application of the optimization model reduces delay by 56% compared to today’s operations where MIT restrictions are applied at Center boundaries. The departure delay solutions obtained from the optimization model can be used to back-calculate the necessary MIT restrictions at the center boundaries.

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Airportal NRA Meeting and Collaboration: Three different NextGen Airportal teams met at San Jose State University on February 6 and 7. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Sensis Corporation, San Jose State University, Optimal Synthesis, Metron Aviation, Inc., George Mason University, VGO Consulting, and JLP Consulting attended. Two of the teams (led by Georgia Tech and San Jose State University) focus on surface optimization research, while the third team (led by Metron) focuses on environmental constraints. The three teams, along with NASA researchers, met to share goals, schedules, and find collaborative opportunities. NASA researchers presented the surface optimization work being conducted at Ames Research Center, as well as the surface simulation architecture. The teams selected Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as a common airport for analyses across the three teams.

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Surface Operations Data Analysis and Adaptation Software Installed: The Surface Operations Data Analysis and Adaptation (SODAA) software system has been successfully installed and configured by Ames researchers. The SODAA tool has two main capabilities: (1) supporting analysis of airport surface operations and (2) developing and maintaining airport adaptations for decision support automation such as the Surface Management System. SODAA has been successfully tested using Macintosh and Solaris remote clients, and a technical solution for running on a Windows XP client is being implemented.

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Live DFW Air Carrier Information Now Collected: NASA Ames Research Center added a live air carrier data feed to the Airportal operations data collection system at the North Texas Research Station. This system collects comprehensive, integrated data sets containing surveillance data (en route, terminal, and surface) plus status and intent information produced by other NASA tools. The new live feed adds air carrier status and intent information (e.g., gate assignments, "out" and "in" time estimates, diversion status, tail numbers, etc.) from the DFW Airport Operations Database. This air carrier information fills a large void by telling NASA researchers where the airplanes are going to and coming from on the airport surface. This essential data feed came about through NASA Ames's long-standing relationship with DFW Airport Operations department. The interface software was developed by NASA Ames Research Center in cooperation with the DFW Airport Information Technology department.

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Lunar Lander Simulation Demonstrations: The Vertical Motion Simulator hosted several important visitors over the past few weeks. Michael Coats, Director of the Johnson Space Center, and others on his staff toured the facility. Mr. Coats had flown the Orbiter simulation on the VMS during his years as an active astronaut. Mr. Coats stepped into the Lunar Lander cockpit where another former astronaut, Bo Bobko, gave him a quick briefing on the landing scenario. Mike skillfully completed a few simulated landings. On another day, world-renowned designer, William McDonough, visited the VMS facility. He toured the simulation complex, including the motion system and a research helicopter cockpit. Mr. McDonough then had the opportunity to fly the Lunar Lander simulation.

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