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Segregated Versus Integrated Airspace Simulation Completed: Segregated airspace only allows aircraft that support automated separation assurance operations (also called equipped aircraft). Integrated airspace allows aircraft that support automated separation assurance operations as well as aircraft that do not (also called unequipped aircraft). The human-in-the-loop simulation involved four full-performance level controllers and two sectors. The study was conducted over a two-week period. The study involved four conditions: first, all aircraft were unequipped under 1x density; second, 1x equipped aircraft with additional unequipped aircraft; third, 2x equipped aircraft with additional unequipped aircraft; and fourth, 3x equipped aircraft with additional unequipped aircraft. Objective data such as number of conflicts, late hand-offs, number of aircraft rerouted outside sector due to workload, and loss of separations were collected. Additionally, subjective workload ratings were collected at five minute intervals. Based on observations and initial results, it appears that integrated airspace operations are feasible.

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Datalink Trajectory Negotiation Experiment Completed: An experiment to study air/ground trajectory negotiation was completed in March 2008. The experiment used the Ames 747-400 simulator with the Center/TRACON Automation System. The data suggest that trajectory negotiation is feasible under certain circumstances using today’s integrated FMS/datalink capabilities. For example, a datalink descent clearance for conflict resolution requires less negotiation than a datalink climb clearance due to aircraft performance limitations which are more often a factor for climbing aircraft. The objective was to measure trajectory negotiation feasibility using two categories of datalink trajectory clearance: one loadable for immediate execution by the FMS, and one requiring additional negotiation steps prior to execution. Six 747-400 qualified flight crews participated. Pilot feedback on flight deck procedures for trajectory negotiating will help refine the design of both the aircraft and ground automation elements of emerging Trajectory-Based Operations concepts. A paper describing this simulation and its precursor has been accepted for presentation at the 2008 AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration and Operations Conference.

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Handling qualities assessment of a simulated cargo helicopter with a slung load completed: A four-week simulation on the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) assessed the handling qualities of a heavy cargo helicopter with a slung load. Advanced Rotorcraft Technology Inc. (ARTI) and Hoh Aeronautics Inc. conducted the simulation with funding from the US Navy. The simulation investigated the effect of variations in the helicopter flight control system, as well as the helicopter and slung load weight configurations. The helicopter model was based on ARTI's FlightLab software. The model resided on an ARTI computer that was integrated with the VMS's real-time operating environment. Helicopter handling qualities evaluation courses marked on the Moffett Field visual database and specialized task performance monitoring displays in the VMS control room assisted the pilots and researchers to evaluate handling qualities task performance consistently. Pilots from the US Navy, Marines, Army, Sikorsky Aircraft, and the Royal Air Force completed over 1200 evaluations. The data from this and seven previous simulations on helicopter slung load operations on the VMS will be used to update the US Army standard for helicopter handling qualities, ADS-33E-PRF.

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Boeing 747-400 Simulator Visual Upgrade and Annual Certification: A new Vital X image generator (IG) system from Flight Safety International was installed on the Boeing 747-400 simulator. Both flight simulators at the Crew Vehicle Research Facility (CVSRF) now have the same IG system. The system uses a wide area database, allowing for WGS-84 height above terrain, as well as larger databases and improved texture capability. The new IG software and hardware improves the display resolution from 800x960 to 1280x1256. The system also increases the number of displayed moving targets (aircraft) from 16 to 256. This increase greatly enhances the capability of the simulator when considering high saturation traffic volumes in integrated simulations with other facilities. This new visual system gives new capabilities, greater resolution and state-of-the-art equipment to the researchers who use CVSRF. The FAA level D certification of the simulator with the new IG was completed successfully. This was only the second Vital X system to be certified by the FAA, thus the certification examination was rigorous.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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