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Division Highlights

Joint FAA and NASA Simulation Completes Shakedown Runs
March 22, 2013

Photo of a NASA researcher sitting in front of a computer runnng FIAT technologies
NASA researchers prepare for FIAT shakedown simulations

NASA has developed a suite of advanced arrival management technologies combining time-based scheduling with controller- and flight deck-based precision spacing capabilities that allow fuel-efficient arrival operations during periods of high throughput. An operational demonstration of these integrated technologies, i.e., the Air traffic management (ATM) Technology Demonstration #1 (ATD-1), is slated for 2016. The focus of the Fully Integrated ATD-1 Test (FIAT) 2 human-in-the-loop (HITL) simulation is the development of the ATD-1 ground-based system for field demonstration, which includes the terminal scheduling capabilities and controller advisory tools. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has partnered with NASA to conduct the Terminal Spacing and Sequencing (TSS) HITL simulations, which utilizes the ATD-1 ground system. Shakedown runs for the FIAT-2 and TSS-2 HITL simulations were conducted the week of March 4, 2013 to refine the algorithms used in the controller advisory tools, finalize the scenario used for data collection, validate the ATD-1 Concept of Operations procedures, and evaluate the effect of incorporating wind forecasts in the ATD-1 system. A small team from the FAA and MITRE were also present to finalize plans for the TSS simulations. Simulation participants included 8 controllers and 15 pseudo pilots, who completed 20 simulation runs that varied wind forecast, scenarios and scheduling system settings. The FIAT-2 data collection week is scheduled for the week of March 25th, followed by a set of TSS simulations the first two weeks in April. (POC - Jane Thipphavong)

Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) system evaluated at NASA Ames Research Center
March 22, 2013

Photo of an American Airlines System Operations Center emloyee in front of a workstation running DWR
Dynamic Weather Routes tool in operation at the American Airlines System Operations Center, Fort Worth, TX

From February 26 through March 7, 2013, six recently retired Fort Worth Center Traffic Management Coordinators (TMCs) and Area Supervisors participated in an evaluation of the DWR system. Two main objectives of the study were achieved: first, the Center participants provided their perspective and evaluation of DWR routes previously found to be acceptable to American Airlines users during the ongoing experimental trial at the AA System Operations Center; and second, operating concepts for the use of DWR with automated airline/air traffic control (ATC) coordination were examined. The evaluation system included automated coordination between airline DWR users and FAA Center TMCs, enabling both users to visualize and modify airline-proposed routes using nearly identical graphic displays as well as automated detection of active weather-avoidance routes issued by the Air Traffic Control System Command Center during severe weather events. The evaluation resulted in several important findings. DWR route advisories with large savings (e.g., 15-20 minutes or more), clearly triggered participants to question - without any prompting - whether or not existing weather-avoidance routes were still necessary. The NASA team also gained a better understanding of factors that determine whether a DWR route can go directly to the flight crew without coordination versus those that should be pre-coordinated with the local Center (or neighboring Center) or with the Command Center. Simple automation that quickly displays a proposed reroute for those that need to approve seemed like the best way to streamline coordination and implementation of a DWR route request, and make FAA traffic managers aware of route restrictions that may no longer be necessary. (POC - Chester Gong)

Quiet and Efficient Flight Operational Procedure Development and Validation at Ames' Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility
March 22, 2013

This photo shows the outside of both the Boeing 747-400 simulator and the Advanced Concepts simulator.
Quiet and Efficient Flight Operations Experiment used both the Boeing 747-400 and 737-800W simulators at the NASA Ames Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF)

In February 2013, researchers from the Boeing Company and NASA Ames conducted a collaborative evaluation of Quiet and Efficient Flight Operations using the cockpit simulators at the NASA Ames Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF). This series of experiments, utilizing the Boeing 747-400 cab and the Advanced Concepts Flight Simulator’s Boeing 737-800W simulation model, supports Boeing’s efforts to validate and improve flight performance predictions for arrivals and departures, which are at the heart of the process to assess community noise impact, emissions, and terminal area capacity. Highly qualified airline pilots participated in the study to maximize the realism. The value of the acquired data will be multiplied through further analysis by researchers at NASA's System-wide Safety Assurance and Technologies (SSAT) Project, who will use both nominal and off-nominal flight scenarios to enhance NASA data mining capabilities for anomaly detection, and to also validate fuel consumption models for transport aircraft. (POC - Dave Chin & Dr. Nikunj Oza)

Associated Press contacts NASA regarding TAIGA
March 22, 2013

Last week, a reporter from the Associated Press (AP) conducted a telephone interview with the Division's TAIGA (Traffic and Atmospheric Information for General Aviation) research team. The press interest in TAIGA was generated by a visit by NASA Ames senior management to Juneau, Alaska to meet with Alaskan legislators in late February 2013, which raised the visibility of the TAIGA project. In the AP interview, the TAIGA concept as a whole was discussed along with potential delivery dates for a prototype product. (POC - Dr. Joey Rios)

Ames Contractor Council Awards
March 22, 2013

On March 19, 2013, several members of the Aviation Systems Division contractor team were recognized with 2013 Excellence Awards from the Ames Contractor Council. Dr. Anastasios (Tasos) Nikoleris was awarded an Individual Excellence Award for his research on two fronts: (a) his fuel-burn analysis that identifies specific ways to optimize delay-absorption advisories for metering operations with the Efficient Decent Advisor (EDA), and (b) his development of an extended metering concept for Air traffic management (ATM) Technology Demonstration 1 (ATD-1). In the category of Team Excellence, the Dynamic Weather Routing (DWR) Team was recognized for its dedication and excellence in successfully delivering high-quality software to American Airlines' System Operations Center to successfully conduct the first of a multi-phase field trial in collaboration with NASA. (POC - Todd Farley)

Supervisory Control of Lunar Lander experiment at the Vertical Motion Simulator
March 22, 2013

Left image shows the outside of the Apollo LEM and an astronaut on the moon's surface. Right image shows LEM with respect to landing site two overlaid on topographical map with fuel contour references lines.
Left, Apollo Lunar Exploration Module (LEM); Right, Head Down Display showing LEM with respect to landing site two overlaid on topographical map with yellow fuel contour reference lines

The third and final phase of the Supervisory Control of a Lunar Lander (SCoLL) experiment on the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) used an Apollo-like Lunar Lander to measure the landing performance of participants under various levels of automation. The research goals were to evaluate pilots' supervisory control performance of landing on the lunar surface as they adapt to spacecraft failures, secondary tasks, and different spacecraft control modes. The simulation ran for two weeks in February 2013 and eleven participants performed 777 maneuvers. The initial results from the previous experiments shows the level of automation can significantly reduce pilot workload resulting in faster pilot response times. This final experiment explored how workload affects the pilot’s ability to detect various failures. The study is being conducted in collaboration with Draper Laboratory and MIT. (POC - Steve Beard)

Traffic Flow Management System Deployment Team meeting at Ames
March 22, 2013

Several FAA and flight operator representatives involved in the Collaborative Airspace Constraint Resolution (CACR) Phase II and Traffic Management Initiatives (TMI) Impact Modeling team met at NASA Ames Research Center March 12-14, 2013. The team is investigating the available modeling and what-if analysis capabilities for the ReRoute Impact Assessment (RRIA) function. Current TMI modeling capabilities are available for the older Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS) framework and lack an operational real-time option in the new Traffic Flow Management System (TFMS). During this meeting, NASA provided a demonstration of the Future Air traffic management Concepts Evaluation Tool (FACET) software and a multiple metering capability, with and without passback, to an upstream FAA facility. This multiple metering capability is not currently available to the FAA but they expressed strong interest in conducting more realistic evaluations of the capability. The flight delays and sector load impact using the reroute TMI implementation were also demonstrated. Additionally, the team viewed presentations on Dynamic Weather Routes, Environmental Impact of Aviation, and the Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration 1 (ATD-1). Currently, the FAA is working with NASA to understand and integrate the NASA research within the Traffic Flow Management System. Additional details for the collaboration are being currently discussed. (POC - Dr. Kapil Sheth)

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