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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
03.31.10
Division Highlights

Contents
Dynamic Airspace Configuration Research Transition Team Meeting: Representatives from the FAA, MITRE, JPDO, and NASA gathered at Ames to discuss recent Dynamic Airspace Configuration (DAC) research and next steps for research transition. NASA received enthusiastic feedback on proposed research directions for flow corridors, flexible airspace, and generic airspace. Flow corridors enable high density traffic along compact corridors of airspace by segregating the corridor operations from surrounding airspace. NASA flow corridor research focuses on identifying volumes and percentages of aircraft equipage at which corridors allow a significant reduction in resolution maneuvers. NASA's flexible airspace research focuses on the benefits of modifying airspace boundaries in response to fluctuations in demand due to volume changes or reroutes around weather. The FAA suggested focusing this research on interactions with Traffic Flow Management. NASA's generic airspace research recently completed a human-in-the-loop experiment showing how NextGen automation tools allow controllers to manage unfamiliar airspace with only a minor workload increase. The FAA suggested studying how well controllers could manage unfamiliar airspace with mixed equipage operations or dynamic airspace operations. The FAA plans to fund future NASA DAC research in these suggested directions. NASA DAC research continues to be reflected in the FAA's National Airspace and Procedures Plan to be released in September 2010. When complete, NASA will present results of planned research at a follow-on meeting hosted by MITRE or the FAA Technical Center.

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Accelerating FACET Simulations: Optimal Synthesis wrapped up a Phase II SBIR and kicked-off a Phase III SBIR on the same topic: accelerating FACET simulations. Their work on a Computational Appliance for the Rapid Prediction of Aircraft Trajectories (CARPAT) has produced a hardware-software co-design which is capable of predicting trajectories nearly 200 times faster than was previously possible. CARPAT achieves this speedup mostly by porting key segments of FACET code to a Graphics Processing Unit, which is capable of running hundreds to thousands of operations in parallel. Optimal Synthesis experimented with various cluster implementations, code enhancements, multi-threading, and other hardware-related techniques to achieve additional speed-ups. For Phase III they will be developing code that will ease the use of the tool, for researchers in Traffic Flow Management and will demonstrate the power of the tool through an experiment involving dozens to hundreds of FACET simulations to measure the effects of uncertainty in TFM. Phase III was made possible through the use of Recovery Act funds.

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Trajectory Uncertainty Modeling Capability Now Available for Fast-Time Simulations: A major enhancement to the Airspace Concepts Evaluation System (ACES), the fast-time testbed for large-scale simulations, was completed this week. The new capability incorporates realistic trajectory uncertainty into ACES trajectory prediction. The software now allows for parametric variation of cruise speed, aircraft weight, top-of-descent point, and descent profile uncertainty. These enhancements open an important new avenue of research into the effects of trajectory prediction uncertainty on the performance of automated separation assurance tools.

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Completed Last Shakedown Simulation in Preparation for Human-In-The-Loop Airport Surface Simulation: A shakedown simulation was completed in preparation for a simulation planned for April/May 2010 to evaluate the performance of airport scheduling algorithms at all three east side terminals at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The purpose of this shakedown simulation was to evaluate the scheduling algorithms, human factors issues, simulation scenarios, and the simulation environment. The scheduling algorithms are expected to increase the departure runway throughput while reducing the runway queue size and taxi delays, thus enabling fuel saving and reduction of engine emissions. The Runway Scheduler (RS) provides departure sequence and active runway crossing sequence advisories to a Local Controller while the Spot Release Planner (SRP) provides the Ground controller with times and sequences for releasing aircraft from the spot into the movement area.

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