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Division Highlights

Completion of Terminal Area Paired Procedures Research
The Terminal Area Paired Procedures Research (TAPPR) team completed their third and final experiment this month, using the Advanced Concepts Flight Simulator (ACFS) in the Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF). This series of experiments investigated aircraft pairing for precision approach and landing to closely-spaced parallel runways 750 feet apart in poor visibility conditions. The third experiment differed from the first two as it evaluated the operational roles and responsibilities between ground controllers and aircrew when using advanced flightdeck and ground automation. The Aviation Safety Program's Intelligent Integrated Flightdeck Design and NextGen's Super Density Operations research areas collaborated to develop this experiment and will share the test results to fulfill independent milestones. The experiment relied on a concept developed by Raytheon and flight deck automation developed by Langley. The experiment offered different levels of automation to the pilots, and provided different types of informational displays that allowed the flightdeck to monitor the conformance of their aircraft to inter-pair spacing requirements. Test scenarios began about 100 miles from the airport, where aircraft from different arrival streams were logically paired and brought to a coupling point 15 miles from the runway threshold with one aircraft 5 to 25 seconds in trail of the other. The experiment ran for three weeks with experienced air-traffic controllers and commercial airline crews serving as experimental participants.

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Adaptive Climb Trajectory Prediction Feedback Algorithm Improves Conflict Detection Performance
Trajectory prediction for aircraft in climb is not as accurate as it is in the cruise or descent phases of flight, and the inaccuracy contributes to higher missed- and false-alert rates for conflict detection involving climbing aircraft. An algorithm to improve climb trajectory prediction accuracy by adapting trajectories based on observed radar track data has been developed and evaluated using a preliminary set of 18 actual Fort Worth Center departures. The algorithm utilizes rate-of-climb feedback to adjust the aircraft weight parameter used in trajectory predictions. Results indicate the adaptive algorithm reduces the standard deviation of altitude errors for a five-minute look-ahead time by a factor of four, from 2400 feet to 600 feet. In addition, it also halved the standard deviation of top-of-climb time errors from two minutes to one minute. When applied to a climbing conflict scenario in a real-time simulation, the adaptive climb algorithm improved the conflict detection lead time from one minute to 5.5 minutes. Further evaluation with additional flights and simulated loss-of-separation cases is planned.

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NASA Ames Senior Scientist for Air Traffic Management tours DLR laboratories
Dr. Banavar Sridhar, the NASA Ames Senior Scientist for Air Traffic Management, completed a series of meetings and tours of several German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft und Raumfahrt, or DLR) laboratories in Hamburg, Braunschweig, Cologne, and Oberpfaffenhafen, in July 2010. Dr. Sridhar met with DLR scientists and researchers and provided briefings of mutual interest on the topics of traffic flow management and optimization, as well as recent research efforts in modeling and developing operational strategies for dealing with persistent aircraft contrails. In turn, Dr. Sridhar was introduced to the various projects underway at DLR, including climate modeling and the impact of volcanic ash; arrival, departure and surface operations; conflict detection and resolution; engine technology; and airport operations. The Aviation Systems Division has had a number of extensive and productive collaborations with the DLR-Braunschweig laboratory over the past 20 years, and is currently hosting a visiting researcher, Mr. Joern Jakobi, who is an expert on airport surface operations.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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