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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
08.18.08
Division Highlights

Contents
Rotorcraft Stability Margin Simulation Demonstration: The Vertical Motion Simulator hosted a visit by the Associate Administrator of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), Dr. Jaiwon Shin, as well as Jay Dryer, Senior Technical Advisor, ARMD, Manfai Fong, Executive Officer, ARMD, and John Montgomery, Department of Commerce. The visitors were here to observe the on-going joint ARMD/US Army simulation investigation of the interaction between handling qualities and flight control system stability margin for future large, heavy-lift, rotorcraft concepts. The results of this study will influence the procurement specifications and design goals for the next generation of heavy lift rotorcraft. The visitors were briefed on the study and got a first-hand impression of the handling qualities issues related to large, heavy lift rotorcraft by flying in the VMS with the NASA project pilot, Munroe Dearing. Munroe demonstrated the differences in the handling qualities of these conceptual rotorcraft configurations using standardized precise maneuvering tasks developed specifically for rotorcraft handling qualities evaluations. In between “flights” in the VMS, some in the group toured the VMS facility and were briefed on recent simulations including Space Shuttle training, and the Crew Exploratory Vehicle (CEV)/Space Station docking and Lunar Lander descent and landing handling qualities evaluations.

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Successful Human-in-the-Loop Separation Assurance Simulation-Critical Milestone Met: Researchers from NASA's Airspace Operations Laboratory successfully completed a two-week human-in-the-loop experiment. The experiment, which involved six air traffic controllers and ten airline pilots, examined the performance of controllers, pilots, and separation-assurance automation in the face of nominal and dramatically increased (2x and 3x) traffic demand through a complex airspace sector in Indianapolis Center. Varying levels of automation support were provided to the controller and pilot subjects, including automated conflict detection, automated strategic conflict resolution, and automated tactical conflict resolution. The test scenarios included routine operations and off-nominal conditions. This marks the completion of a NextGen Airspace Project critical/PART/APG milestone. The results are expected to be published at the 2009 FAA/Eurocontrol ATM R&D Seminar.

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Drastic Improvements to Sectorization Algorithm: There are currently ongoing ACES simulation evaluations of sectorizations produced by different airspace allocation algorithms being developed. One algorithm is based on mixed integer programming (MIP) that clusters hexcells of airspace to create flow conforming volumes of airspace. Originally this algorithm evaluated poorly with more than ten times simulated average delay than current day sectorization at current day traffic loads. A modification to the algorithm to consider flows between pairs of cells in both directions instead of in just one direction. The results drastically improved the evaluation of this algorithm to reduce delay over current day sectorization by 81% at 1x traffic levels and by 45% at 1.5x traffic levels. The change enabled the MIP algorithm to jump from last to first place with respect to average flight delay in ACES evaluations.

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Development of a Nationwide Real-Time Conflict Prediction Capability: Software developers at NASA Ames Research Center have modified a version of the Center-TRACON Automation System (CTAS) to calculate real-time conflict predictions for all aircraft in the National Airspace instead of one Center at a time. CTAS trajectory predictions are created every 12 seconds using radar data from all Air Route Traffic Control Centers combined in one instance of CTAS. The trajectory predictions are created using waypoints, fixes, jet and victor routes for the entire National Airspace System using data from the FAA National Flight Data Center. Using these airspace data will allow CTAS to be consistent with the airspace data in the FAA's En Route Automation Modernization equipment. Future work includes adding national arrival and departure routes and Special Use Airspace.

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