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Division Highlights

NASA Ames and University of California share air traffic management research
April 25, 2012

On March 29, 2012, a workshop was held at NASA Ames Research Center to share NASA’s long-term air traffic management (ATM) research with an eye towards enhancing academic collaboration with the University of California. During this workshop, NASA researchers from the Aviation Systems Division presented their current research plans on the ATM Technology Demonstration-1 (ATD-1), environmental considerations in airspace operations, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS), surface research and collaborative decision making, and automated separation assurance. University of California faculty from Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Davis also presented their ATM-related work. The workshop was well-attended by NASA and UC researchers and students. (POC: Katharine Lee)

SARDA shakedown testing to prepare for data collection simulation
April 25, 2012

Photo of a controller during a SARDA shakedown simulation at FutureFlight Central.
Test simulation of the Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) tool

From April 16-20, the Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) team conducted a dress rehearsal simulation at the Future Flight Central (FFC) facility in preparation for the May data collection runs. The objectives of this simulation were to finalize procedures and data collection processes, evaluate scenarios, controller training, and the experimental design and establish team member roles and responsibilities. Two retired DFW controller subjects and five pseudo-pilots participated in the test simulation. Controllers were trained to interpret SARDA advisories being displayed on a touch-screen monitor, with each flight represented on an Electronic Flight Strip (EFS). In addition to the EFS, controllers were immersed in the full 360-degree Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) visualization system, which represented the DFW east tower. The planned number of data runs and the nature of the scenarios were validated. Inputs gathered from both subjects and researchers will help improve system performance and smooth procedural workflow for the data collection runs. (POC: Ty Hoang, Yoon Jung)

Machine-Learning Techniques Applied to Air Traffic Management Project
April 25, 2012

NASA researcher Michael Bloem teamed up with David Hattaway of Microsoft and Nicholas Bambos, a faculty member at Stanford University, to compare machine learning algorithms that suggest miles-in-trail air traffic management initiatives to FAA decision-makers. The FAA uses traffic management initiatives to ensure that demand for air traffic resources such as airspace and runways does not exceed the available capacity. Miles-in-trail restrictions are a type of traffic management initiative requiring that flights in a flow of air traffic crossing a certain point be separated by a designated distance in miles. This comparison of machine learning methods was based on historical data and provides some initial insights that can be applied to a joint NASA-FAA project which seeks patterns in previous traffic management initiatives to inform future air traffic management decisions. Their work is scheduled to be presented at the International Conference of Research in Air Transportation conference to be held in Berkeley, CA in May 2012. (POC: Michael Bloem)

Aviation Systems Division Intern Wins NASA Aeronautics Scholarship
April 25, 2012

Brian Andrade, a freshman at San Jose State University and a 2011 summer intern in the Aviation Systems Division, has won a prestigious NASA Aeronautics Scholarship. Only 25 out of the 300 applicants were awarded this two-year scholarship. The scholarship provides $15K tuition support per year and a $10K summer internship at a NASA Center to further develop aeronautics research. Last summer, as a member of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program, Brian developed Matlab-based tools that drastically reduced the time and effort to interpret the results of complex separation assurance simulations. He accomplished this task though he had no prior Matlab experience, and under the mentorship of a division researcher, Ms. Arwa Aweiss. The tools Brian developed are still in use in the division. (POC: Aisha Bowe)

Dynamic Weather Routes Briefing to joint FAA/Industry Data Communications Implementation Team
April 25, 2012

On April 19, 2012, Dave McNally presented the Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) concept and analysis results at the joint FAA/Industry Data Communications Implementation Team (DCIT) monthly meeting in Washington, DC. The DCIT is focused on near-term applications for today’s air/ground data communications (data comm); their current emphasis is departure clearance messages, and they expressed interest in DWR-like technology for en route trials planned for 2014. Mr. McNally was invited by DCIT industry co-lead Rob Mead (Boeing), and co-presented the DWR brief with Captain Rick Shay (United Airlines). Capt. Shay, a long standing, active member of the DCIT, demonstrated strong support for the DWR concept, helped answer many detailed questions from the group, and urged the FAA to back this effort. Approximately fifty members attended the meeting in person or via telecon; airline representatives included United, American, FedEx, and Delta and indicated strong support for the concept. (POC: Dave McNally)

San Francisco International Airport Stratus Ground Delay Program Model Assessment to Begin in May 2012
April 25, 2012

Photo of the Golden Gate Bridge on a foggy day.

Preparations are well underway for another evaluation of a model that calculates key Ground Delay Program (GDP) parameters (e.g., GDP end time, scope and rate) for San Francisco International Airport (SFO). More GDPs are implemented at SFO than any other airport in the United States because of the impact that the marine stratus layer has on the airport. Mosaic ATM conducted a training session at the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center on April 25 and a second session at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Monterey on April 26 for specialists, who will evaluate this tool during the 2012 stratus season. Attendees included Supervisory Traffic Management Coordinators (STMCs) from Oakland Center, controllers from San Francisco tower, Traffic Management Coordinators from the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) and meteorologists from the Central Weather Service Unit at Oakland Center and the NWS in Monterey. These personnel work with the ATCSCC to implement air traffic initiatives so similar training has been provided to the ATCSCC. The evaluation period is May 15th through Oct. 15th, 2012. This activity is a follow-on assessment that took place from June 1st - October 15th, 2011, and the software supporting this test was operated at the ATCSCC (Vint Hill, VA). The team supporting this operational assessment will include personnel from the FAA, NASA, Mosaic ATM, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the NWS. (POC: Shon Grabbe)

UAS-NAS Project Integrated Test & Evaluation at NASA Ames Research Center
April 25, 2012

The Simulation Laboratories (SimLabs) at NASA Ames Research Center in conjunction with the Research Aircraft Integration Facility (RAIF) at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, reached a significant milestone in support of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project. The Integrated Test and Evaluation (IT&E) team completed its first series of systems integration tests using a newly developed live, virtual, and constructive distributed environment (LVC-DE) to successfully exchange real-time flight data between the two Centers. During the tests, Dryden’s Ikhana unmanned aircraft system (UAS) Simulator “flew” in a simulated air traffic environment generated by NASA Ames. Additionally, a digital playback of a live UAS mission from the actual Ikhana UAS ground control station was integrated into the same simulated environment. These results demonstrated the feasibility of supporting live UAS flight tests using a simulated air traffic environment. The goal of the NASA UAS in the NAS Project is to contribute capabilities that reduce technical barriers and make routine access to the NAS feasible for unmanned aircraft. The IT&E sub-project is building a combined live and virtual (simulated) real-time, human-in-the-loop distributed test environment that will facilitate the evaluation of candidate capabilities. Results of this first round of testing will be used to incorporate additional message sets, such as controller-pilot data link and ADS-B, into the design and expand the reach of the LVC-DE to other test sites, including NASA’s Glenn and Langley Research Centers. (POC: Jim Murphy)

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