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4D Separation Assurance System Ready for Real-Time Evaluation: Researchers from NASA and the University of California at Santa Cruz have successfully completed the first-ever real-time, high-fidelity simulation of a ground-based automated separation assurance system with an integrated time-based metering capability. Time-based constraints such as those imposed by metering operations represent the most challenging type of airborne conflict to resolve. Integrated into the Center-TRACON Automation System (CTAS) test bed, the system now accommodates constraints in four dimensions (x-y position, altitude and crossing time) in a complex environment of high (2x) demand. This achievement marks the beginning of high-fidelity verification and validation of our most complex, most capable separation assurance system yet, and it addresses a critical Agency Performance Goal (APG) milestone.

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Successful EDA Denver Field Activity Concluded: A field test aimed at validating trajectory predictions for En Route Descent Advisor (EDA) was conducted in the Denver enroute airspace September 8-23. Almost 400 United Airlines and Continental Airlines crews agreed to participate when requested by the controllers. Data collected during this field activity is being used to assess the accuracy of the EDA trajectory predictor and to incorporate real-world uncertainties into upcoming simulation experiments. Our quick-look analysis compares the EDA prediction of top-of-descent location and meter-fix crossing time to the actual values. Out of the nearly 400 flights that participated, about 300 of the descents will be usable in uncertainty modeling for upcoming simulations. A future highlight will provide results after more detailed analysis, which will also use pilot data sheets that provide aircraft weight, Flight Management System (FMS) winds, and pilot impressions.

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Workshop on Centrifuge-based Flight Simulators for Air Combat Maneuvering Training: The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has the funded Aerospace Simulation Research and Development Branch (SimLabs) to study the human cueing aspects of high-g air combat maneuvering and to assess if centrifuge-based simulators can be used to effectively train Navy pilots to perform mission-specific air-to-air and air-to-ground maneuvering tasks. To kick-off the study, SimLabs brought together fourteen well-known centrifuge research experts and experienced Navy pilots for a two-day workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss current experience with centrifuge-based training and simulation and identify key human cueing requirements that must be incorporated in an effective air combat simulator. The centrifuge research experts included Malcolm Cohen (NASA, retired), William Albery (USAF, retired), Robert Kennedy and Michael McCauley (Naval Postgraduate School), and Lawrence Young (MIT). The Navy pilots briefed the participants on typical maneuvering and cueing associated with air combat maneuvering using video footage for illustration. The consensus from the workshop was that centrifuge-based simulators are critical for exposing pilots to the adverse physiological effects of high-g flight and for training on techniques to mitigate these effects. Unrealistic and uncomfortable vestibular cues result, however, when the pilots turn their heads in the spinning centrifuge and the participants noted that this is a significant obstacle that must be overcome before centrifuge-based simulators are used for air combat training. A technical report with the findings of the study will be presented to NAVAIR in the coming months.

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Fourth MIT NASA DLR Joint Workshop on Airport Operations Management: MIT hosted the Fourth Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and German Aerospace Center (DLR) Joint Workshop on Airport Operations Management. This meeting had representatives from MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Prof. John Hansman, Prof. Amedeo Odoni, Prof. Hamsa Balakrishnan, Dr. Tom Reynolds), MIT-Lincoln Lab (Dr. Mark Weber, Dr. John Andrews), NASA Ames (Sandy Lozito, Ty Hoang, Dr. Waqar Malik), Volpe (Dr. Eugene Gilbo), DLR's Institute of Flight Guidance (Prof. Dirk Kugler (unable to attend), Anne Papenfuss, Meilin Schaper, Holger Feldhaus, Yves Gunther, Steffen Loth, and Florian Piekert), and DLR's Institute of Air Transport and Airport Research (Erik Gunewald). Hansman and Kugler are the chairmen and Sandy Lozito and Florian Piekert were the co-leads of the workshop. This meeting was a follow-on to the FAA-Eurocontrol Action Plan 21 workshop on “Surface Operations Research.” DLR presented information about SESAR - Single European Sky ATM Research and Total Airport Management (TAM). NASA presented information on NASA surface research activities and surface optimization algorithms. Dr. Odoni showed a study on “Performance Comparisons between US and European Airports” and Dr. Balakrishanan discussed “Demonstration on Reduced Surface Emissions Through Airport Surface Movement Optimization.” By the end of the meeting, DLR and NASA shared an interest in keeping the data exchange going on an informal basis. The next meeting is planned for eighteen months from now. The presentations will be available online next month after the DLR team returns from their extensive US tour of different FAA facilities.

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NASA-led Invited Panel on “System” Design Implications for Advanced Vehicles in NextGen: An invited panel of air traffic management, flight controls, and environmental experts to address emerging issues associated with the development of new and advanced vehicles that will operate in the future air transportation system was moderated by Harry Swenson. This panel was held at the recent American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aircraft Technology Integration and Operations (ATIO) Conference at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Panel members included leaders from industry and academia that included: Matt Blake of Sensis Corporation, Ed Stevens of the Raytheon Company, Michael Harrison from Aviation Management Associates, Dr. John-Paul Clark from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Rosa Weber of Honeywell Inc., and Jawad Rachami from Wyle Laboratories. The panel was attended by approximately 20% of the ATIO conference attendees. Discussions included a recognition that new aircraft designs need to address operations within the emerging modern air traffic system, interactions with legacy vehicles in that system, environmental efficiency, and safety enhancements. Results of advanced modeling and simulation methods to explore potential impacts of seven classes of advanced air vehicles, such as very light jets, super heavy transports, uncrewed aerial systems, supersonic transports, cruise efficient short takeoff and landing aircraft, rotorcraft, and supersonic business class aircraft, were shown. The panel discussed many of the advances and challenges associated with the multi-faceted design processes including the development of air traffic management procedures that take advantage of the business opportunities of these aircraft classes. Market strategies, given these requirements, were also discussed in the panel.

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Mosaic Wins Best Paper Award at ATM 2009: Mosaic Air Traffic Management (ATM), in support of a NASA research announcement, presented a paper at the 2009 ATM Seminar entitled “A Model for Determining Ground Delay Programs Parameters using a Probabilistic Forecast of Stratus Clearing.” It won “Best Paper for Weather in ATM.” The paper presented an approach for efficiently scheduling flight arrivals into San Francisco International Airport when its arrival capacity is reduced because of low-lying fog. The approach uses a probabilistic forecast of the time that the fog will clear and the arrival capacity will recover. Many scenarios with different fog clearance times, based on the forecast, and arrival schedules are simulated to determine their delays. The arrival schedule that produces the least likely amount of delay is selected. The approach showed reductions of 39% for delays during the foggy seasons of 2006 and 2007.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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