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Division Highlights

Aviation Systems Division Researchers Support Educational Outreach Activities
Researchers from the Aviation Systems Division supported two educational outreach activities. On May 12, Dr. Karl Bilimoria and Dr. Laurel Stell served as judges at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The fair serves 1600 students from 59 countries. On May 7, Ms. Aisha Bowe was the keynote speaker at San Jose State University's MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) Schools Program's Annual Graduation and Awards Ceremony. The SJSU MESA Schools Program is designed to prepare and motivate educationally disadvantaged students to successfully pursue college-preparatory coursework and promote careers in math and science, while developing their pre-professional and leadership skills. Ms. Bowe's current research focuses on separation assurance algorithms for air traffic management, and her NASA experience includes nanosatellite missions for the Small Spacecraft Division. Christina Ramos, Director of the MESA Schools Program at SJSU, said, “Having Ms. Bowe as our Keynote Speaker is exciting and inspiring to our students who look forward to having those same achievements!”

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Successfully Completed Human-in-the-Loop Simulation of the Efficient Descent Advisor (EDA)
A simulation of the Efficient Descent Advisor (EDA) was successfully conducted the week of April 26 in the NASA Ames Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF) using the air traffic control simulation laboratory and the Boeing 747-400 cockpit simulator. The primary objectives were to evaluate secondary advisories to correct for predicted arrival-time errors induced by trajectory-prediction uncertainty and/or flight technical error, and also to study cruise-altitude advisories used for resolving conflicts with over-flight traffic. Data was collected to assess automation performance and controller acceptability under varying EDA configurations and traffic loading. Three controllers from Denver Center were rotated through three adjacent arrival sectors. The Boeing 747 simulator (flown by pilots from United Airlines and Cathay Pacific) was included in each simulation scenario to evaluate how EDA advisories impact the flight deck, and the time required by crews to enter EDA clearances into airborne automation systems. Observers over the four-day simulation included subject-matter experts from Boeing, MITRE, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NATCA (National Air Traffic Controllers Association). Data analysis is underway.

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User Preferences Research Presented at the JPDO Flight Prioritization Workshop
Dr. Kapil Sheth was an invited speaker at the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) Flight Prioritization Workshop in Washington, DC during the week of April 26th. The three-day workshop was organized by Ms. Peggy Gervasi, JPDO Director of Strategic Interagency Initiatives, and was chartered to assess twelve concepts for prioritizing flights in the NextGen environment. The workshop participants included representatives from the airlines, general aviation, and the ATM research community. Dr. Sheth presented a concept he is researching that prioritizes flights based on credit points administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The 10-member panel's initial feedback was that the credit points concept was the most thoroughly researched concept to date. Final recommendations from the panel will be provided after the third workshop, to be held in July 2010. A panel member has contacted Dr. Sheth and additional experiments to further this research are being explored directly with the FAA's Technical Operations (FAA-ATO) organization.

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Successfully Completed Human-in-the-Loop Airport Surface Scheduling Simulation
The Spot and Runway Departure Advisory (SARDA) airport surface scheduling simulation was successfully conducted April 26 to May 7. SARDA is an airport scheduling system comprised of separate but integrated scheduling components. Two components of SARDA were investigated in this simulation, the Runway Scheduler (which provides the Local controller with departure and active runway crossing sequence advisories) and the Spot Release Planner (which provides the Ground controller with times and sequences for releasing aircraft from the spot into the movement area). The two-week human-in-the-loop simulation explored a proof of concept where tower controllers metered ground departure traffic at a holding position short of the taxiway and at the queue feeding the departure runway. Data was collected on scheduling algorithm performance, concept feasibility, controller advisory usability, controller workload and situation awareness, and environmental impact (as measured by derived fuel consumption). Participants included two retired controllers, who controlled aircraft to the three east-side terminals of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and pseudo-pilots to maneuver the simulated aircraft. The scheduling algorithms are expected to increase the efficiency of taxi operations by reducing the runway queue size and taxi delays, thus enabling fuel savings and reduction in engine emissions while maintaining maximum departure throughput. Data analysis is underway.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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