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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
05.27.09
Division Highlights

Contents
Second NASA Workshop for Advanced Air Vehicles in NextGen: NASA held its second user and stakeholder workshop for the integration of advanced vehicles into NextGen. The meeting was held at NASA Headquarters from May 12-14, 2009. This workshop is part of two significant NASA sponsored studies that are exploring the integration of new vehicles into the Next Generation Air Transportation System. The studies were recently featured in an article published in "Jane's Defense" on May 20th. The workshop included over seventy participants from 's three Aeronautics research programs (Airspace Systems, Fundamental Aeronautics, and Aviation Safety), FAA, DoD, DoT, Aerospace Industry, academia, JPDO, AOPA, GAMA and Mitre CAASD. This three-day workshop provided results on the work NASA is supporting to examine the potential impacts of seven classes of advanced air vehicles on the National Airspace System. These classes are very light jets, super heavy transports, un-crewed aerial systems, supersonic transports, cruise efficient short takeoff and landing aircraft, rotorcraft, and supersonic business class aircraft. The two NRA study teams, led by Sensis Corporation and the Raytheon Company, provided and discussed interim results regarding vehicle and procedure design with associated system performance, environmental impact and safety analyses. For this work, NASA is supporting the use of emerging modeling and simulation tools to understand true potential system gains and impact of its technology investments. The feedback from the workshop participants was complimentary with numerous participants commenting on the quality and content of the information and analyses. The JPDO Chief Architect discussed the workshop favorably at the JPDO All-Hands meeting following the workshop. The final public workshop for these studies will be at the annual technical meeting of the Airspace Systems Program this Fall.

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3-Dimensional Path Arrival Management (3D PAM): Researchers at Ames are studying methods to increase efficiency in Center controlled airspace for the NextGen program. 3D PAM is a critical step toward Trajectory-Based Operations (TBO) with continued support by the Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF) for simulations conducted on Trajectory Based Negotiations and Constant Descent Arrivals. This study, using the Radar Air Traffic Control Laboratory in the CVSRF, was the first in a series where the Center TRACON Automation System (CTAS) En Route Descent Advisor (EDA) automation tool is evaluated in controller-centric simulations at the CVSRF using the Air Traffic Control (ATC) simulation capability. Eventually the 747 flight simulator at the facility will be added for a fully integrated air/ground simulation evaluation. The purpose of this initial experiment was to integrate and evaluate CTAS and Multiple Aircraft Control System (MACS) so that EDA is available in a high fidelity ATC environment for modification and evaluations. For this simulation, CVSRF staff integrated the MACS with the ATC lab, to include the mapping of FAA standard keyboards and trackballs to the MACS software. Data collection was defined and involved initial testing of Camtasia (for controller displays), MACS recording capabilities as well as audio. A high-definition TV repeater controller station, including audio, was set up in an isolated area allowing visitor observation of actual operations without interfering with the subjects. Four controllers from Denver Center were subject participants. Final study results are pending, however initial response on the lab and controller stations fidelity and functionality were very favorable from both the participants and the researchers. The second phase of the study, to run in October, will evaluate EDA in ideal conditions (i.e., without representation of real world errors) so core EDA functionality can be evaluated and to ensure that EDA procedures, phraseology, and Computer-Human Interface (CHI) provides the core functionality required by the human operator. The EDA implementation of Time-Based Metering (TBM) operations will be compared and contrasted with the baseline TBM operation using a Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) derived meter list, representing current TBM operations. Flight efficiency and workload benefits will also be measured relative to the TMA baseline.

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ACES Workshop: A three-day briefing of the Airspace Concept Evaluation System (ACES) version 6.2 was held at Ames. The briefing was delivered by Raytheon and its subcontractors (IAI, MosaicATM, and Sensis). Over thirty researchers and developers attended the briefing. It covered the latest integrated ACES capabilities, such as Communication/Navigation/Surveillance, Traffic Management Advisor, and swappable trajectory generator. In addition to an overview on the first day, specific demos and discussions for researchers and developers were conducted on the last two days. Feedback about the usefulness of the course was positive, and future briefings were requested.

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Optimal Method of Combining Sectors Compared with Heuristic-based Method: On May 4, several models for combining sectors to reduce air traffic controller workload were presented at the Systems Modeling and Optimization Branch (AFO) technical seminar. An optimal model, which used mixed integer linear programming, was contrasted with a heuristic-based one. Initial results produced by the optimal model demonstrated reduced controller workload over the heuristic-based model, but with the added cost of increased computation time. The benefit increased as the sector-combining problem grew and became less constrained.

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