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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
04.15.09
Division Highlights

Contents
NASA Collaborating with FAA to Improve FAA Conflict Alert Tool: On April 1, NASA hosted another technical interchange meeting with the FAA's Terminal Area Work Team, led by Mike Pritchard. The FAA and NASA are collaborating to improve the accuracy of the FAA's Terminal Proximity Alert (TPA) and Conflict Alert (CA) short-term conflict prediction tools. TPA warns air traffic controllers of imminent separation violations due to unexpected spatial compression of aircraft on final approach. Similarly, CA warns air traffic controllers of imminent collisions throughout terminal airspace. TPA and CA are closely related to NASA's Terminal Tactical Separation Assisted Flight Environment (Terminal TSAFE, for short) research. Terminal TSAFE resolves tactical separation violations throughout terminal airspace. NASA and the FAA agreed to conduct a side-by-side comparison of CA and Terminal TSAFE using several days of radar data from Northern California TRACON, Dallas/Fort Worth TRACON and Atlanta TRACON. Another technical interchange meeting to discuss the results of this comparison is planned for May 11. Positive results are expected to motivate the consideration for deployment of a subset of Terminal TSAFE capabilities by the FAA.

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Aviation Safety Program Annual Retreat: The Aviation Safety Program (AvSP) held a retreat at Glenn Research Center on March 25-26, 2009 to share program management ideas and to conduct initial project reviews. Attendees included Dr. Amy Pritchett, Program Director for AvSP, her deputy, Doug Rohn, and Jay Dryer. In addition, the Project Management Teams from the four AvSP Projects participated. The Center POCs from Langley, Ames, Glenn, and Dryden were also present. Dr. Jaiwon Shin attended for a few hours on the first day and held a question and answer session regarding the aeronautics work at NASA. The goal of the first day of the retreat included a discussion of the AvSP Program research management strategies and lessons learned. An example of one of these discussion topics was how the different projects and programs handle risk assessment, and the lessons we might learn from other efforts in this area. The project leadership teams were also asked to provide feedback about AvSP Program management, and the Center POC's provided feedback regarding how the Program was being managed and how the Center viewed their ability to participate in the management of AvSP. The goal of the second day was to have a "dry run" of the six-month Internal Review, which was held on April 21, 2009. Each of the four projects presented the technical details regarding their work and received some feedback about their presentations. The Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck (IIFD) Project was given positive feedback from the AvSP management team.

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Maximum Unnoticeable Added Dynamics (MUAD) Simulation: A simulation study conducted on the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) explored the effects of added dynamics on rotorcraft handling qualities. The experiment was conducted by Hoh Aeronautics, Inc. (HAI) and sponsored through a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) from the Subsonic Rotary Wing Project. The principal investigators were HAI and Systems Technology Inc. (STI) with Advanced Rotorcraft Technology (ARTi) as a sub-contractor for the simulation model. For this experiment, the transport cab (TCAB) was fitted with standard helicopter cyclic/collective/pedal flight controls. The study was a first attempt at generating an Aeronautical Design Standard (ADS) for future helicopters with varying dynamics from contributors such as variable main rotor speeds. Second-order filters were cascaded in-line with the pitch, roll, and heave axis control systems of a simple state-space light-helicopter simulation model. The filter parameters (damping ratios and frequencies) were varied from run to run (time-invariant) and during a run (time-variant) while evaluation pilots performed the ADS-33E-PRF Hover Task. The evaluation pilots commented on whether the added dynamics were detected and how they influenced the task performance. Five evaluation pilots performed the task over a three-week period providing a total of approximately 1,200 data runs. The researchers are currently processing and evaluating the data with the final report to be submitted in September 2009. Preliminary analysis suggests that pilots interpret "effect on task performance" differently, and there are varying detection thresholds among pilots. The results also indicated that the pilots found it difficult to detect the time-varying dynamics while in a stabilized hover but they were detected during the translation to hover capture.

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NASA Provides Expert Opinion to Bay Area Regional Airport Planning Commission: Mr. Harry Swenson provided expert opinion to the Association of Bay Area Governments Regional Airport Commission's first meeting of the "New ATC Technology Working Group" on March 26th 2009. The commission is attempting to evaluate and recommend airport regional capacity solutions for the Bay Area to enable efficient air traffic flow for the 2035 timeframe. The Commission has already contracted with consulting firm Simat Helliesen & Eichner, Inc. to conduct an analysis of the forecasted demand and the new ATC technologies that could enable the forecasted growth without the building of new runways. This includes the potential utilization of the regional airports including Oakland, San Jose, Hayward, Sacramento and others connected through high-speed rail. Mr. Swenson provided insight on emerging ATC technologies both ground and fight deck based that would provide potential benefits as well as his experience in the time it takes to implement new technologies into the National Airspace System.

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