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Division Highlights

SARDA Human-in-the-Loop Shakedown Simulation to Evaluate Touchscreen Interface
February 7, 2014

On January 30-31, 2014, the Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) team conducted shakedown runs at the FutureFlight Central (FFC) tower simulation facility at NASA Ames Research Center in preparation for the second SARDA human-in-the-loop (HITL) simulation experiment. Two US Airways ramp controllers from the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) and four pseudo-pilots participated in the shakedown. This HITL simulation was built upon the software and hardware developed in the first HITL simulation (December 2013), and examines usability and functionality of NASA's new touchscreen user interface that allows dynamic update of scheduler advisories for gate pushback time, and is designed to replace the paper-strip system currently used at the CLT ramp tower. Participants provided very positive feedback for the new design. The second HITL simulation is scheduled for February 18-20, 2014. (POC: Miwa Hayashi)

NASA Completes First Shakedown Simulation for Method to Enhance Scheduled Arrival Robustness (MESAR)
February 7, 2014

Screenshot of MESAR controller tools
(Click to enlarge) MESAR's ability to provide tactical schedule update for selective flights is shown in the figure. SWA789, on the upper left side, is behind schedule, and MESAR is updating this flight's schedule to be on time. Turning SWA789’s slot marker into a magenta color highlights this update. Also, Automated Terminal Proximity Alert (ATPA) cones, part of MESAR CHI options for final controller position, are shown in blue in this figure.

NASA has developed the Method to Enhance Scheduled Arrival Robustness (MESAR) as an enhancement to the Terminal Scheduling and Sequencing capabilities (transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013), to enable tactical updates to arrival schedules. MESAR monitors Estimated Times of Arrival (ETAs) for flights with already frozen schedules to detect developing situations that will result in a “scheduling disturbance.” A scheduling disturbance is defined as traffic conditions, in feeder or final sectors, that cause a controller to abandon the schedule and revert to less-efficient relative spacing operations. Feeder sector scheduling disturbances include conditions where two or more flights predicted to have an ETA tie at a downstream merge point. Final scheduling disturbances include missed approaches, pop-up priority flights, and flights requesting changes from the scheduled runway. Once a scheduling disturbance is detected, MESAR provides the ability to reschedule subsets of flights within the feeder sectors without propagating delay back to the Center, or unnecessarily rescheduling flights far from the scheduling disturbance. MESAR aims to prevent disturbances from creating merge point ties and provide time to recover from disturbances and facilitate return to schedule-based operations.

The first shakedown of a planned MESAR human-in-the-loop (HITL) experiment tested scenarios and techniques for inserting scheduling disturbances into the simulation. Retired controller participants narrowed down several Computer Human Interface (CHI) options for notifying controllers of schedule updates in the feeder sectors and flight information to be presented in the final sectors. During simulations, researchers also collected feedback from controllers on traffic situations where a schedule update was considered most helpful. Final data collection for the MESAR HITL experiment is schedule for late August 2014. (POC: Shannon Zelinski, Jaewoo Jung, Savvy Verma)

Progress in Global ACES and collaboration with ENRI
February 7, 2014

Screenshot showing a two-dimensional map of the world with highlights around the United States and the Fukuoka flgiht information region in Japan.
Screenshot of ACES showing the US national airspace system and the Fukuoka flight information region in Japan.

In March 2013, NASA provided the Airspace Concepts Evaluation System (ACES) tool to a research team in the Air Traffic Management (ATM) Department at the Electronic Navigation Research Institute (ENRI) (Japan) to begin investigation of how ACES could aid in ENRI's ATM research. In January 2014, Dr. Mark Brown from ENRI presented ENRI's progress integrating Japanese airspace and ATM concepts with ACES. ENRI has undertaken this effort, with minimal NASA support, to model the Fukuoka FIR (flight information region, or airspace) and terminal areas surrounding up to seven airports in Japan, which are predicted to show high traffic over the next 20 years. Dr. Brown also used ACES to demonstrate international flights between the U.S. and Fukuoka airspace, along with the input files, including the international boundary data. ENRI has continued to express interest in collaboration with NASA in studying global ATM operations, which are expected to grow significantly in the future. (POC: Kee Palopo)

Aviation Systems Division Participates in National Society of Black Engineers Aerospace Systems Conference
February 7, 2014

Photo of attendees at the National Society of Black Engineers Aerospace Systems Conference in 2014. Pictured from left to right are Dr. Ousmane Diallo, Dr. Patricia Cowings, Actress Nichelle Nichols, Aisha Bowe, Gilena Monroe, and Raymond Gilstrap.
Ames employees pictured from left to right: Dr. Ousmane Diallo, Dr. Patricia Cowings, Actress Nichelle Nichols, Aisha Bowe, Gilena Monroe, Raymond Gilstrap

In honor of Black History Month, the Aviation Systems Division is proud to highlight the Division's participation in related events, including the National Society of Black Engineers Aerospace Systems Conference, which was held January 22-25, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA. The Conference is a biennial forum for the presentation of aerospace technical data and the largest known gathering of Black aerospace technical professionals. Aviation Systems Division employees Dr. Ousmane Diallo, Aisha Bowe and Wardell Lovett served in diverse leadership capacities as authors, session chairs, and panel members. In addition to recognizing outstanding NASA employees, the conference honored legends within the African-American community including: Nichelle Nichols (communications officer Lieutenant Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in the popular Star Trek television series (1966-1969)) and Ed Dwight Jr. (the first African American astronaut candidate for what is now NASA). (POC: Aisha Bowe)

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