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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
02.18.09
Division Highlights

Contents
JPDO Sponsors a NASA Workshop on Advance Vehicles in NextGen: On February, 10th, the Multi-Agency Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) sponsored a NASA workshop on the integration of advanced airspace vehicles into the Next Generation Air Transportation System. NASA is part of an eighteen month study focused on developing an analytical modeling framework to explore the total system trade space of performance, environmental and safety impact for the introduction of new aircraft. These new aircraft include supersonic business jets, super heavy transports (both conventional and blended wing-body) very light jets and un-crewed aerial systems spanning the years from 2025 to 2040. At the workshop the JPDO conducted an expert based validation of several scenarios developed to explore the operations of the advanced vehicles in the NextGen system. These scenarios helped define the procedures, technologies, vehicle design, operations, and business perspective. The JPDO validation team included personnel from government and industry. They were the JPDO Chief Architect and System Engineer along with numerous air traffic control subject matter experts. The NASA team included vehicle, systems and air traffic management experts from NASA, Raytheon, Gulfstream and the airlines. The results from this workshop will be used to further develop the analytical framework and begin the basis of the trade space analyses for these new vehicles. A set of validated scenarios will be provided to the JPDO to enhance their Enterprise Architecture based Joint Planning Environment.

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TSAFE Tactical Conflict Detection and Resolution with Simulated ADS-B Enhancement: As reported previously, the TSAFE tactical conflict resolution capability has been tested on 102 archived operational error cases (loss of separation officially attributed to controller error). When an altitude or heading maneuver is issued by TSAFE, a simple maneuver simulator takes control of the flight to simulate the maneuver. With the simulated pilot delay set to 15 seconds, all but one of the cases was successfully resolved. The case that was not resolved involved an aircraft in a holding pattern with severe radar noise. Holding patterns are challenging because the controller enters no information to indicate that a holding pattern has been assigned, and radar noise makes the detection of unplanned turns difficult or impossible to do without causing false alerts. An offline smoothing algorithm was run on the radar position data to simulate the improved accuracy that is expected from the FAA's new En Route Automation Modernization and, later, from the GPS-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B). With the smoothed surveillance data, TSAFE was able to successfully resolve the conflict. This case shows that the improved surveillance accuracy expected in the future will be critical to successful tactical conflict resolution.

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Program that Saves Fuel, Noise, and Emissions on Airport Taxiways: The scheduling of aircraft taxiing on the surface is an important problem with meaningful benefits, such as reduction of fuel burn, noise and emissions. A new integer linear program that accounts for uncertainty of pilot behavior was developed for scheduling intersection crossings. As input, the program requires a set of aircraft, their taxi routes, their minimum feasible intersection crossing times and the layout of the taxiways. It aims to reduce the total taxi times of all the aircraft. Its crossing times are subject to three safety constraints that prevent intersection, head-on, and overtaking collisions. Fuel, noise, and emissions savings are achieved by controlling aircraft accelerations. The program penalizes aircraft that do not maintain a constant speed. Moreover in order to account for unexpected events, the program can produce dynamic routes. These are real-time changes to the originally planned routes. In the next step of this research, the program will be implemented with real surface flight data for the eastern portion of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

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San Francisco Stratus Research Briefed to the FAA: During the morning arrival rush, the marine stratus layer routinely reduces, between May and October, San Francisco International Airport's arrival capacity from 60 to 30 aircraft per hour. This causes an excess of scheduled arrivals. To deal with this imbalance, the Federal Aviation Administration implements a flight origin ground delay program for flights that are bound for San Francisco. The sizes of the delays are calculated assuming overly conservative estimates of stratus clearing times, on average two hours late. The delays lead to unrecoverable air carrier losses and unused airport capacity. To alleviate this problem, a method for incorporating probabilistic forecasts of the clearing time into the delay calculation is being developed. An initial benefit assessment indicates that unnecessary ground delay for San Francisco arrivals can be reduced by 29%, which translates into an annual savings of $2.8 million. These results were recently briefed to the Manager of Concept Engineering within the System Operations Program of the Federal Aviation Administration. Plans are to conduct in the summer of 2010 a field assessment of this method.

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NASA/FAA/Boeing Meeting to Discuss Super Density Airspace Research Collaboration: NASA Super Density Airspace researchers visited Boeing along with FAA terminal area ATM program managers to discuss technical progress in terminal area ATM research. All three organizations provided briefings on their work to-date and discussed areas of promise for future collaboration. Most of the research discussed involved integrating advanced cockpit flight management system capabilities with ground-based prediction, scheduling and automation along with advanced operational procedures. Modeling and simulation techniques were also discussed. Scenarios for the operation of the future high density terminal airspace were presented and potential simulations were presented that test their feasibility. Future meetings are expected to further determine specific collaborative efforts.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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