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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
12.21.11
Division Highlights

Contents
Second Aviation Climate Change Research Initiative (ACCRI) Symposium, December 12-15, 2011, Washington, DC
The symposium was sponsored by the FAA Office of Environment and Energy and focused on the modeling of Chemistry Climate Impacts of Aviation, Contrails and Metrics. Banavar Sridhar presented a paper on the integration of simple climate models, contrails and metrics with air traffic simulation in the United States. The simulation was used to develop route optimization methods and study the impact of cross-polar traffic on emissions. The paper provided context to the topics discussed in the symposium, was very well received and was cited as an example of interdisciplinary research. It was suggested that whether the route optimization methodology could be used to reduce the impact of cosmic radiation during polar flights. During the symposium, Banavar met with Ulrich Schumann (DLR), Pat Minnis (LaRC) and John Murray (LaRC). The topics discussed included Route optimization with environmental impacts, Convective weather/volcanic ash and Wake Vortex. These topics are a continuation of on-going conversations between NASA HQ and DLR. Route optimization is of high interest to both DLR and NASA. The basis for this cooperation is excellent. Both sides have complementary information to contribute. This includes the air traffic simulation and optimization work at NASA and DLR expertise in the modeling of contrails and the project Reducing Emissions from Aviation by Changing Trajectories for the benefit of Climate (REACT4C). The proposed visit of DLR Scientist, Volker Grewe, to Ames Research Center during the summer 2012 should provide an opportunity to enhance the NASA/DLR collaboration. (POC: Banavar Sridhar)

Researchers Achieve Significant Improvement in Climb Trajectory Prediction with Actual Flight Track Data
A new technique developed by NASA researchers reduced climb-trajectory prediction errors by about 15% in evaluations with actual Host radar track data. Aircraft climb trajectories are arguably the most difficult to project; large errors in these predictions increase the rate of false and missed alerts from separation assurance automation and reduce the potential operational benefits of some advanced concepts for NextGen. The algorithm improves climb-trajectory prediction accuracy by dynamically adjusting the aircraft weight modeled for trajectory predictions based on observed track data. This Fall, researchers implemented this adaptive climb-trajectory prediction algorithm in the Center/TRACON Automation System (CTAS), NASA's real-time ground-based research system. Initial tuning of the algorithm was conducted using Fort Worth Center air traffic data from the week of November 28. Then, the algorithm was evaluated using air traffic data in the same Center from the following week. Results indicate the algorithm was able to reduce the root mean squared altitude error by 6-25% (or roughly 80-220 feet). Future work will include stress testing the algorithm over a wider range of traffic and environmental conditions, including high wind uncertainty, low and high wind shear, etc. Additional enhancements to the algorithm may also include the development of logic to infer aircraft climb profile characteristics, including capture speeds. (POC: David Thipphavong)

Discussed Air Traffic Collaborations with State of Alaska Officials
On Friday December 9th, the Deputy Commissioner of the Aviation Division and the Project Manager for the Statewide Mapping Initiative from the Alaska Department of Transportation conducted a follow-up visit regarding collaborations related to air traffic management with NASA. Three proposals were presented and the officials provided feedback and next steps to further solidify the collaborations. One proposal, the Traffic and Atmospheric Information for General Aviation (TAIGA) Android-based tool would display weather, air traffic management, and terrain data on a smartphone device and the aircraft’s position will be updated using built-in GPS technology within the smartphone. Another proposal is to provide weather mitigation strategies to minimize the impact of fog or other visibility constraints for Anchorage arrivals. This proposal will use the NASA developed Future Air traffic management Concepts Evaluation Tool (FACET) combined with Anchorage weather forecasts and strategic scheduling algorithms. A third proposal would provide state-of-the-art conflict alert capability to the Anchorage TRACON using NASA's Terminal Tactical Separation Assured Flight Environment (T-TSAFE) technology. The airspace around Anchorage is complex and in addition to the Ted Stevens International Airport the airspace includes nearby seaplane ‘seaport,’ a busy air force base (Elmendorf AFB) and a general aviation airport (Merrill Field), all within ten miles of each other. (POC: Shon Grabbe and Joey Rios)

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