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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
06.15.12
Division Highlights

Contents
Simulation Optimization Experiment at the Vertical Motion Simulator
June 15, 2012

Photo of the cockpit used in the SimOpt experiment.
Figure 1: Cockpit used for the SimOpt experiment (Click image to enlarge)

A Simulation Optimization (SimOpt) experiment on the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) used the GenHel math model of a UH60A Blackhawk helicopter to investigate how the VMS motion and visual cueing dynamics can be optimized to recreate in-flight cues as closely as possible. When optimized in this way, handling qualities ratings obtained on the VMS should approximate those obtained in flight for a similar flight task. To obtain realistic cues, the aircraft math model was adjusted to account for the simulator motion system delays, and the motion system’s gains and washouts were adjusted to provide the best possible motion cues for a Bob-up, Precision Hover and Sidestep tasks. The simulation ran for three weeks and five experienced helicopter pilots performed 488 maneuvers. The initial results from the experiment show that the handling quality ratings from the VMS are similar to those from flight. (POC: Steve Beard)

Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) simulation
June 15, 2012

In May 2012, the SARDA human-in-the-loop (HITL) simulation successfully completed three weeks of testing at the FutureFlight Central tower simulation facility at NASA Ames Research Center. SARDA is an integrated decision support tool for tower controllers and airline ramp operators to enhance the efficiency of surface traffic and reduce fuel consumption. SARDA provides tactical advisories to the tower controllers to manage surface traffic more efficiently by optimally scheduling aircraft releases from spots, and sequencing runway operations including takeoffs and runway crossings to maximize throughput and minimize system delay. The tool also provides gate push back times to airlines, which allows the ramp operators to hold departure aircraft at their gates for a specific amount of time, thus reducing delays in the runway queue. The objective of the simulation was to evaluate performance of the SARDA tool, including efficiency, throughput, and predictability. Human factors metrics, including controller workload and situation awareness, were also measured during the simulation. Both baseline and advisory scenarios with two levels of traffic density for the east side of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) operations were simulated. The controller advisories, for Ground and Local controllers, were displayed on Electronic Flight Strips (EFS) using touch screen interactive technology. A total of six retired DFW tower controllers participated in the simulation. (POC: Yoon Jung, Ty Hoang)

Completed initial integration for Fully Integrated ATD-1 Technology (FIAT) Simulation
June 15, 2012

On June 11-14, 2012, the FIAT team tested the initial integration of the Terminal Precision Scheduling and Spacing (TAPSS) system and the Flight Deck Interval Management (FIM) technology in the Air Traffic Control lab at NASA Ames Research Center. The objective of the FIAT simulation is to validate the system performance of the Research Traffic Management Advisor (rTMA) software, which will be used for the first Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration (ATD-1). ATD-1 combines advanced time-based scheduling in terminal airspace, controller managed spacing tools, and FIM to achieve sustained fuel efficient operations during periods of high traffic demand. These activities are aimed at accelerating airspace technology transition in general, and Automated Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology adoption in particular. The integrated TAPSS and FIM system was evaluated using the LAX airspace, under a mixed Area Navigation (RNAV) routing infrastructure and saturated traffic demand levels. The NASA Ames team was joined by two FIM experts from NASA Langley who supported the initial integration. Controllers from Los Angeles Center, Southern California TRACON and two pilots contributed to validating and refining the concept of operations, procedures, symbology and phraseology to handle the controller and pilot interactions in a mixed equipage environment. The team completed a plan for a series of human-in-the-loop simulations that will support ATD-1. (POC – Jane Thipphavong)

Interchange with FAA on EDA Deployment and Trajectory Prediction
June 15, 2012

The week of June 4, 2012, technical leads from the FAA Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM), responsible for deployment decisions concerning arrival-metering automation, met with Ames researchers regarding the Efficient Descent Advisor (EDA) and trajectory predictions in arrival automation.

The FAA took delivery of EDA earlier this year, and the TBFM group is currently planning how best to begin deploying EDA as a tool for controlling to Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) arrival schedules in a fuel-efficient manner. Current FAA plans call for the deployment of an initial EDA capability by 2014 (full deployment in ~2020) that produces automated speed advisories only—i.e., no path-stretch advisories. In anticipation of the FAA’s initial deployment needs, a simplified version of EDA, called "EDA Lite," has been developed in the NASA research software baseline. This prototype was demonstrated to the FAA visitors to show how controllers could use a simplified version of EDA that blends automated speed advisories with manual path adjustments to absorb large amounts of delay when needed. It was further shown how the added flexibility of EDA Lite might allow controllers to steer around convective weather during metering operations.

Discussions were also held on the more general subject of improving trajectory predictions in arrival automation, and in particular, how the automated downlink of parameters such as predicted Top of Descent, weight, winds and pilot-preferred speed profile could substantially improve trajectory-prediction accuracy in the arrival domain. NASA is currently engaged in the Trajectory Data Exchange (TDX) activity with Boeing, exploring how current airborne equipage and datalink services might be leveraged to provide airborne parameters on a routine basis for improving trajectory prediction and controller situational awareness.

The FAA visitors showed considerable interest in EDA Lite as a stepping stone towards a full EDA deployment. They also expressed their desire to stay informed of NASA's progress with TDX. (POC: Rich Coppenbarger)

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