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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
07.23.08
Division Highlights

Contents
NASA hosts 2nd Surface Management Research Transition Team and Dallas-Fort Worth Research Partner Meeting: The NASA-Ames North Texas Field Site (NTX) and the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) hosted the second meeting of the Surface Management Research Transition Team (RTT) July 15-16, 2008. NASA and the FAA have established this team to "ensure that the research needed for NextGen implementation is identified, quantified, conducted, and effectively transitioned to the implementation agency." The meeting was led by co-chairs Sandra Lozito from NASA-Ames and John Marksteiner from the FAA. Approximately 35 people attended representing NASA, FAA and the Joint Planning and Development Office. The RTT made several decisions outlining their next steps: (1) they will initiate the FAA Concept and Requirements Development (CRD) process to field any new operational improvements; (2) they will create an agreement between NASA and the FAA to use NTX for this work; (3) they will jointly develop a mid-term (2018) operational concepts for the Surface Trajectory-Based Operations (STBO). This meeting concluded with a tour of the NTX laboratory. After the tour, NASA researchers and managers met with senior managers from DFW Airport Operations and American Airlines Ops Engineering and Optimization to discuss future collaborations.

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Visit to Ames by Ellen King of FAA Command Center: Ellen King, the FAA Command Center Manager for Quality Assurance and Traffic Management System Efficiency, and Linda LaBelle from Traffic Management System Efficiency visited NASA Ames Research Center July 7-8. The purpose of the visit was to exchange metrics used to measure traffic management efficiency and future air traffic management concepts. In addition, NASA researchers were interested in obtaining access to additional data from the FAA Command Center. The FAA researchers presented metrics for measuring system performance and arrival efficiency. NASA researchers briefed them on their NextGen research including miles-in-trial optimization, the airspace restrictions planner, the Airspace Concepts Evaluation System (ACES), weather translation and airport surface efficiency metrics. They also toured Future Flight Central, the Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility, the Airspace Operations Laboratory, and the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex. Areas identified for future collaboration were discussed.

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ATM network characteristics research presented at IFAC: NASA research on the network characteristics of air traffic in the continental United States was presented at the 17th International Federation of Automatic Control World Congress in Seoul, South Korea during July 7-11. The research highlighted a truncated scale-free behavior of the current and future air traffic network with thousands of nodes and links. The results showed that a three-times extrapolated growth from current traffic could result in ten-times impact on the density of traffic in certain regions. The analysis also demonstrated that the impact of weather on three times the current traffic could disproportionately affect the performance of the network and delays in the system could increase significantly. A visualization of air traffic flow for modeling applications demonstrating the complexity and richness of the control problem in the United States was presented in a video session. The animation highlighted the air traffic for a day and how convective weather affects airports in a high-density region.

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ACES Software Development Training: During the week of July 7th the Aerospace Operations Modeling Branch (AFM) hosted a four-day seminar on software development for ACES, a fast-time simulation capability for the national air transportation system. The course was conducted by software development contractors from Intelligent Automation and Sensis. About twenty software developers attended the course, mostly from Ames and a few from Langley. Feedback has been positive. Some requested annual training in the future.

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Simulation Evaluation of Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) Fire Suppression Missions: A project to evaluate the safe operating procedures for a Boeing 747-200 configured as a tanker for fire suppression operations has just commenced at the Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF). This project brings together pilots and engineers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Facility and the Ames Research Center to support the US Forest Service's investigation of the effectiveness and safety of using very large aircraft for airborne fire suppression missions. Initial investigation will modify the FAA Level D certified Boeing 747-400 simulation to grossly simulate a 747-200 aircraft as well as simulate the weight and center-of-gravity changes that occur as the fire retardant is discharged from the aircraft. Following validation of the model as being broadly representative of a 747-200 Tanker, flight profiles representing typical and atypical fire suppression missions will be flown and evaluated by NASA, USFS, and Industry pilots familiar with the aircraft type and the flight procedures and profiles of the fire suppression mission. Results of these initial evaluations will be provided to the USFS in September, 2008.

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