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Integrating a Simulated Flight Management System (FMS) into the Advanced Concept Flight Simulator (ACFS): In response to researcher requests for better fidelity in the ACFS in terms of aircraft/FMS navigation capability, SimLabs initiated a multi-phase ACFS upgrade project which recently completed Phase I. A state-of-the-art simulated Flight Management System (sFMS) purchased from GE Aviation was integrated with the current ACFS aircraft model. The primary Phase I goal was to provide FANS-1/A and Controller-Pilot Data Link Capability (CPDLC) as well as an improved flight model. The sFMS, which has selectable aircraft performance software options, was configured to interface with a 737-800W model. The existing ACFS aircraft model (a generic twin-engine commercial transport) was modified to approximate the performance of a 737-800W and provide required inputs to the FMS. This "fine tuning" of the aircraft model was required to improve accuracy and to eliminate path oscillations when flying in LNAV/VNAV modes; path accuracies of better than 0.1 nautical mile were achieved in this upgrade. The ACFS cockpit Navigation Display was also modified to use the data format provided by sFMS. This Phase I upgrade provides the basis for future NextGen research on the ACFS, which will enable the evaluation of new data link capabilities, designing and loading custom FMS procedures, evaluating and utilizing the intent databus, and validating published RNAV/RNP procedures.

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Space Shuttle Landing and Rollout Training: The first Space Shuttle astronaut training session for 2010 was completed recently on the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS). This periodic training familiarizes shuttle crews with vehicle handling during approach, landing, and rollout under normal operating conditions as well as off-nominal and failure conditions. Over the one-week training session, 17 pilots and 9 mission specialists completed 266 training runs. Crews for the final four Space Shuttle missions, STS-131, STS-132, STS-133, and STS-134 were included in the training. The commander for STS-129 and the pilot for STS-130 re-lived their landing in the simulator under the same conditions experienced during their flight. The STS-130 pilot re-lived his landing one-week after completing his mission. These post-mission simulations on the VMS provide important data on the effectiveness of the training and help refine approach and landing procedures. The VMS personnel earned the gratitude of the astronaut office for a successful training session and, particularly, for preparing the simulation training matrix for STS-131 at short notice to accommodate the crew's schedule.

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Operational Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) Data Supports NASA Research: For nearly 15 years, NASA air traffic management research has benefitted from a TMA prototype in operational use at the FAA's Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). NASA researchers have collected data from the TMA system and have found that the operational TMA data provides unique air traffic control (ATC) status, intent and action information not available from other sources. The NASA TMA prototype at Fort Worth ARTCC has recently been replaced by a production TMA system deployed under the FAA's Time Based Flow Management (TBFM) program. NASA and the FAA have jointly developed the Operational TMA/TBFM Repository (OTTR) system which replaces and expands on the data analysis capabilities of NASA's TMA prototype. Hosted at NASA's North Texas Research Station (NTX), OTTR processes raw data collected by the FAA from operational TMA systems at all 20 ARTCCs in the nation. The OTTR system generates daily reports concerning ATC status, intent and actions and delivers these to the FAA to support TBFM development and to NASA to support NextGen research. NASA initially invested in OTTR to support departure scheduling analyses for the Precision Departure Release Capability (PDRC) research activity; however, OTTR data are available for use by all NASA NextGen researchers.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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