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Division Highlights

NASA Air traffic management Research Presented At 2012 AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations (ATIO) Conference
October 19, 2012

Dr. Huabin Tang's paper, “Severity-based Tactical Conflict Detection in Terminal Airspace” was selected as the best paper in the Conflict Detection and Resolution session in the recent AIAA-ATIO conference, September 17-19, 2012, in Indianapolis, IN.

Aviation Systems Division researchers presented over 20 papers at the ATIO conference, covering recent technical results in all aspects of air traffic management, including: improvements to the understanding of uncertainty and delay sensitivity for a NASA-developed technology to improve aircraft departure release, a study of the effectiveness of using speed control to manage congestion, and a new method to schedule aircraft using an advanced first-come-first-served scheduler. Three papers aimed at improving future or current NASA-led studies were also presented; one evaluated an approach to identify sector congestion using an en-route weather routing tool and two other papers described the algorithm for re-partitioning airspace sectors and analyzed how previous airspace redesign performed for Cleveland Center. Three papers described recent developments in surface scheduling concepts and optimization. Traffic flow management papers included research on contrail reductions and emissions and methods for flight prioritization using a point scheme. In separation assurance, division researchers presented papers on a survey of air/ground and human/automation functional allocation, the integration of arrival scheduling with automated conflict detection and resolution (CD&R), CD&R considerations around top of descent, hybrid resolution selection and probabilistic conflict detection, adaptive climb trajectory prediction, simulation evaluation of conflict resolution and weather avoidance in near-term mixed equipage datalink operations. A paper was also presented on the technology transition of the Efficient Descent Advisor. (POC: William Chan, Katharine Lee)

NASA-US Airways Surface Concept of Operations Meeting
October 19, 2012

Aerial view of a major airport

NASA researchers held a two-day meeting (October 2-3, 2012) with US Airways technical staff and ramp operations personnel at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The groups discussed the joint development of a concept of operations for the ramp traffic management decision support tool based on NASA's Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) technology. Specific discussion centered on core functions such as the surface scheduler and taxi time predictor, the user interface for ramp controllers, including electronic flight strips, and the scope of potential human-in-the-loop simulation of the tool. The group is targeting completion of an initial draft concept of operations document by the end of November. NASA and US Airways plan to jointly develop a prototype decision support tool and evaluate performance and human factors via human-in-the-loop simulations at NASA Ames Research Center's FutureFlight Central, a high-fidelity tower simulator. Following the technical meeting, the NASA researchers gathered operational observation data of both US Airways ramp operations and ATC tower operations. (POC: Yoon Jung)

Fully Integrated ATD-1 Test (FIAT) Simulation Achieves Major Milestone
October 19, 2012

The Terminal Area Precision Scheduling and Spacing (TAPSS) research group has made major strides in the past four months, extending the TAPSS system to include the flight deck interval management capabilities for human-in-the-loop (HITL) evaluation. The advanced scheduling capabilities in the TAPSS system were also ported and tested in the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) software baseline. HITL simulations were completed the week of October 15-19, 2012 with 8 controllers and 13 pseudo pilots to validate the system integration and develop the concept of operations, procedures, symbology, and phraseology. The experiment investigated controller and pilot interactions in a mixed equipage environment. Simulation results will be used to refine the concept of operations in preparation for the Air traffic management Technology Demonstration-1 (ATD-1), an operational demonstration of the integrated set of advanced time-based scheduling with controller- and flight deck-based precision spacing capabilities, which allows fuel-efficient arrival operations during periods of high throughput. ATD-1 is a collaborative effort between NASA Ames Research Center (Airspace Systems Division and Human Systems Integration Division) and NASA Langley Research Center (Crew Systems and Aviation Operations Branch). (POC: Jane Thipphavong)

Validation of Air traffic management Technology Demonstration-1 (ATD-1) ground-based scheduling and controller advisory tools
October 19, 2012

From September 10-14, 2012, Aviation Systems Division researchers completed a simulation to validate the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) interest in ATD-1 tools to enhance the FAA's current NextGen investment in Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures throughout the National Airspace System. PBN procedures have proven challenging and unavailable during periods of busy traffic. FAA air traffic controllers from New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Miami evaluated the ATD-1 controller tools under different environmental conditions over 15 simulation runs using a modified version of the airspace surrounding the Los Angeles International Airport. Utilizing ATD-1 tools, the controllers implemented the PBN procedures in the busiest conditions, achieving both high levels of airport throughput and fuel-efficient PBN-based operations in a mixed equipage aircraft environment. Outcomes from this and the previous joint NASA/FAA simulations have accelerated the pace towards transfer of ATD-1 technologies to the FAA for national implementation. (POC: Harry Swenson)

Completion of ATD-1/STARS Feasibility Study
October 19, 2012

In September 2012, a Raytheon Corporation team under contract to NASA successfully completed a demonstration of an Air traffic management Technology Demonstration-1 (ATD-1) feasibility study that will significantly reduce the risk of technology transfer of the ATD-1 ground tools to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Raytheon team demonstrated the integration of the ATD-1 technologies with the FAA's Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) in an operational simulation environment. STARS will become the FAA's primary radar control system for all major airports and terminal areas over the next decade. A key technical challenge faced by the ATD-1 effort is porting required ATD-1 software enhancements to the STARS platform. The Raytheon team embarked on a year-long study to assess feasibility, develop implementable designs, and create a concept engineering prototype, culminating in a demonstration in a high-fidelity simulation environment. Upon this successful feasibility demonstration, Raytheon was awarded a three-year contract to implement the ATD-1 tools within the STARS platform, targeting a planned field evaluation date of 2015. (POC: Harry Swenson)

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