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Dynamic Weather Routes Shadow Testing at American Airlines Gains Overwhelmingly Positive Feedback
July 26, 2012

The first week of Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) shadow testing was completed at the American Airlines (AA) System Operations Center (SOC) on Friday July 20, 2012. A live traffic DWR display with Fort Worth Center traffic is now installed in a weather planning area immediately adjacent to the main SOC floor.NASA test team members and MIT-Lincoln Laboratory collaborators demonstrated the DWR prototype with live and recorded traffic feeds for 15 members of the AA SOC. Participating AA staff included both SOC managing directors, the Managing Director of Dispatch Operations, the Training Manager, several dispatchers and air traffic control coordinators, members of the Transport Workers Union, and two SOC automation experts. Feedback from AA staff was overwhelmingly positive and much of the discussion centered around defining specifics of the operating concept and equipment locations for the operational trial. Currently, the concept supports the operation of DWR at the ATC Coordinator's Desk and it is proposed that a dedicated ATC coordinator will monitor DWR, evaluate reroutes and modify them if necessary, and then the ATC coordinator will send those reroutes deemed workable to the dispatcher in charge of the flight. The dispatcher would review the proposed route and upon concurrence, send the reroute to the flight crew using normal procedures. Shadow testing at AA continues for an additional week. (POCs: Dave McNally and Kapil Sheth)

NASA Completes Terminal-Tactical Separation Assured Flight Environment-3 Human in the Loop Simulation
July 26, 2012

Two weeks of data collection for the Terminal-Tactical Separation Assured Flight Environment-3 (T-TSAFE3) Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) simulation were completed on July 20, 2012. T-TSAFE is a tactical conflict detection and resolution tool for terminal airspace that uses a combination of flight plan, nominal routing, terminal area procedures, and dead reckoning to infer flight intent, thereby improving conflict prediction accuracy and reducing false alerts. The T-TSAFE3 experiment studied the effect of switching between instrument and visual approaches; prior experiments focused only on instrument approaches. Previous experiments also relied on the FAA’s Automated Terminal Proximity Alert (ATPA) to monitor compression on final approach. The ATPA alerts are in the form of “cones” on the final approach controller’s radar display, depicting required wake separation of the target aircraft relative to leading aircraft within line-of-sight. The length of the cone and number within the cone indicate required separation, and color of the cone indicates estimated time to loss of separation. The T-TSAFE3 experiment studied the effect of using T-TSAFE logic to drive ATPA cones rather than line-of-sight, along with other improvements. Preliminary results, based on simulation observations, indicate a strong controller preference for T-TSAFE-driven ATPA cones. Most notable improvements with T-TSAFE-driven ATPA cones include earlier depiction of the cones prior to establishing line-of-sight with the leading aircraft, thus aiding merges onto final approach; providing a numerical indicator for time to predicted loss of separation rather than color coding ranges; and replacing the numerical indicator for required separation with actual separation because the length of the cone already indicates required separation. Data analysis for the T-TSAFE3 experiment is underway. The T-TSAFE tool will be further investigated in another simulation incorporating the flight deck, scheduled for February 2013. (POC: Savita Verma)

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