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NASA and FAA Discuss Advancements in Traffic Flow Management: On March 25, NASA briefed the FAA's Manager of Concepts Engineering and the Director of System Operations Programs on advanced traffic flow management models and concepts being developed under the NextGen Airspace Project. A wide range of traffic flow management topics were presented that included weather translation modeling, airspace demand estimation, collaborative traffic flow management and decision making under uncertainty. The breadth and depth of NASA's current traffic flow management research efforts were well received, and opportunities for future collaborations in the areas of weather translation, sector demand estimation, and decision making under uncertainty were proposed. Both groups agreed to develop a collaborative research plan to include a field evaluation in 2010.

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NASA Briefs FAA and JPDO on Improved Concept for NextGen Trajectory-Based Operations (TBO): On March 24, NASA briefed a group of about forty FAA and JPDO managers on the results of a yearlong JPDO activity to refine and improve the NextGen TBO concept. The activity was led by NASA researchers and included members of both the Air Navigation Services and Aircraft Working Groups. The briefing proposes a more integrated TBO concept without the airspace segregation implicit in the 2007 NextGen Concept of Operations. This concept represents much closer alignment with recent research results from the Dynamic Airspace Configuration, Traffic Flow Management, Separation Assurance and Airspace Super Density Operations elements of the Airspace Systems Program Airspace Project. The briefing was well received and was shown to be in broad agreement with current FAA mid-term TBO implementation plans.

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Air Traffic Simulation for the U.S. Navy's Live Virtual Constructive Distributed Environment (LVC-DE) Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Program: The Ames Simulation Laboratories (SimLabs) has been funded by the Navy to provide a distributed air traffic simulation in support of the BAMS UAS program. As part of the Navy's spiral development of an integration solution for the BAMS aircraft into the National Airspace System, the Navy is relying on SimLabs' unique capabilities to provide real-time controller-in-the-loop air traffic simulation. The simulation federation also includes the Navy's Air Combat Environment Test & Evaluation Facility (ACETEF) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, the SimAF facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, and Northrop Grumman's BAMS simulation facility in Bethpage, New York. This initial spiral includes three primary integration events, with increasingly complex distributed simulation architectures. The spiral will culminate at the end of 2009 in a fully distributed integration event that will include air traffic controllers in the SimLabs Crew-Vehicle System Research Facility (CVSRF) ATC lab, controlling simulated air traffic, including the BAMS aircraft, and other virtual aircraft being flown from different locations in the country. By the end of the spiral, the Navy will be able to provide the FAA with credible data on BAMS' ability to operate safely in both due regard and positively controlled airspace environments. To integrate an unclassified lab with a classified simulation network architecture, a cross-domain solution (CDS) will be developed by the Army at Redstone Arsenal and will serve as a gateway-guard between Ames and the rest of the federation. Additionally, SimLabs is collaborating directly with Northrop Grumman's BAMS simulation facility to create a dedicated unclassified distributed simulation capability using virtual private networks (VPN) on the internet. This capability will allow further reduction of risk for the final integration event. The web-enabled distributed simulation of air traffic will also be valuable for future industry and government UAS players, allowing easy risk reduction and validation of a UAS' ability to integrate with the NAS, simply by "subscribing" to the SimLabs air traffic simulation capability.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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