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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
06.10.09
Division Highlights

Contents
3D Path Arrival Management Denver Center Field Test Planning: Consent for a field test aimed at validating trajectory predictions for 3D-Path Arrival Management (3DPAM) was received from the FAA/Denver Center, United Airlines and Continental Airlines. After considering a plan presented by NASA at the United Airlines Training Center on June 2, it was agreed that approximately 200 commercial flights and 20 FAA flights will receive 3DPAM arrival clearances over a three-week period, beginning September 2009. Pre-scripted 3DPAM clearances involving cruise speed, descent speed, and route assignments will be issued by controllers throughout the day, as traffic conditions allow. Data collected during this field activity will be used to model trajectory-prediction uncertainty so that upcoming 3DPAM simulation experiments can better represent real-world conditions. With oversight from a NASA/FAA Research Transition Team, a continuing series of 3DPAM simulations and field tests will be conducted over the next two years. NASA's goal is to transfer the ground-based automation that computes conflict-free, time-based-metering solutions for 3DPAM to the FAA by 2012.

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Airspace Design Seminar: On May 28, 2009, four professionals with airspace design experience from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) visited NASA Ames Research Center for a seminar on airspace design. NASA researchers in the Dynamic Airspace Configuration and Airspace Super Density Operations research focus areas attended the seminar. The professionals discussed airspace that they had designed as part of the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Airspace Redesign Project, the Northern California TRACON Airspace Design project, and the Florida Airspace Redesign project. Motivations for airspace changes, design considerations, and outcomes of airspace changes were discussed. Furthermore, tools for airspace design were described. At the end of the seminar, a panel discussion was held. NASA researchers asked the FAA experts about airspace design considerations for dynamic airspace configuration algorithms being researched at NASA Ames. The NASA researchers learned about practical considerations and constraints for airspace design, particularly in the terminal area. A few opportunities for future collaboration were identified, including opportunities for NASA researchers to see first hand the airspace design tools currently used by the FAA.

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Dynamic Airspace Configuration Human-in-the-loop Simulations: From May 12-22, 2009, a Dynamic Airspace Configuration (DAC) human-in-the-loop simulation was conducted in the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) at NASA Ames Research Center. The purpose of the simulation was to understand human operator issues associated with the transition from one set of airspace boundaries to another. A set of operational procedures for implementing an airspace boundary transition were devised and implemented. In the simulation, four air traffic control professionals controlled high volume traffic loads in four high altitude sectors in Kansas City Center, using future tools like datalink and automatic conflict detection. During each one-hour run, the sector boundaries that divided the four sectors would change. The objective of the sector boundary changes was to balance workload among the sectors and to prevent over-capacity sectors. Many members of the DAC research community, NASA Ames Research Center, Mosaic ATM, Metron Aviation, CSSI, and Stony Brook University, supported the simulation by producing boundary changes. The results were encouraging because the controllers easily handled some of the sector boundary changes, even though some changes induced high controller workloads. Researchers at the Airspace Operations Laboratory, where the simulation was conducted, gained many insights into airspace boundary changes and the procedures that support them from qualitative controller feedback. Researchers are now working to interpret the quantitative results of the simulation. As a result of this simulation, more appropriate operational procedures for airspace boundary changes will be developed, and DAC algorithms will better consider the workload cost of airspace boundary changes.

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System-Oriented Runway Management NRA Kickoff Meeting: On June 4-5, 2009, Langley Research Center hosted a technical interchange meeting that involved twenty representatives from NASA, academia and industry to kick off research for the System-Oriented Runway Management (SORM) NRA. The goal of the NRA is to develop new methods and tools for runway configuration management and arrival/departure balancing, which will help maximize the flow of aircraft across an airport's active runways and improve capacity utilization. The NRA team is led by Mosaic ATM, partnering with LMI, AvMet, the University of Minnesota, and the College of William and Mary. SESO and ASDO APIs also presented an overview of their current research and highlighted aspects of SORM research where collaboration would be most beneficial.

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