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Family Day at SimLabs
May 8, 2014

Photo of a young girl sitting in the Vertical Motion Simulator and looking out the cab window.
Guests were invited to visit the world's largest Vertical Motion Simulator, where they could sit in a customized aerospace vehicle. Image credit: NASA Ames/Eric James

On April 24th, 2014, SimLabs participated in NASA Ames Research Center's "Bring Your Family to Work Day" welcoming family members of all ages to the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) and FutureFlight Central (FFC). One hundred and thirty-nine employees, family members, and interns had a chance to view the unsurpassed motion of the world's largest Vertical Motion Simulator moving 60 feet vertically and 40 feet horizontally, followed by an interactive tour of the VMS's Interchangeable Cabs (ICAB), which recreate the cockpits of aerospace vehicles. Students and family members enjoyed viewing the flight controls, switches, and buttons on the instrument panel, and experienced the high-fidelity out-the-window scene and the flight instruments from the pilots' view.

Ames employees were also excited to bring their family members to FFC to experience the highly realistic 360-degree immersive view simulation facility. At the top of the two-story facility, visitors observed a real-time simulation of an airport and its traffic operations. FFC is used to conduct experiments to optimize airport expansion plans and operating procedures, and to evaluate new technologies with the participation of air traffic controllers, pilots, and airport personnel. (POC: Steve Beard)

Third Human-in-the-Loop Surface Simulation Completed
May 8, 2014

Photo of 3 NASA researchers sitting at consoles and looking out the window at the FutureFlight Central facility.
The SARDA team conducts a shakedown simulation of the ramp scheduler in FutureFlight Central.

The Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) team recently completed the third in a series of six human-in-the-loop (HITL) simulation experiments investigating automation to improve the ramp tower operations at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT). The objective of this simulation was to evaluate the first build of the ramp scheduler, which provides gate pushback advisory times to ramp controllers. Complementing the scheduling advisories were new user interfaces for the ramp controllers. Sixteen data runs were collected using three variables: controller positions, the presence of advisories, and arrival scenarios with or without departure traffic. Simulation participants included two US Airways ramp controllers, two retired tower controllers from CLT, two non-CLT ramp controllers, and eight pseudo-pilots. System performance and human factors questionnaires were collected for analysis. The airspace target generator (ATG) system was also fitted with a newly-developed surface conflict detection capability to issue auto-stop commands to aircraft if conflicts were detected, and to leave enough alternative routing options for the pseudo-pilots to maneuver aircraft around obstructions. Initial feedback indicate that the pseudo-pilots and ramp controllers welcomed this function given the heavy traffic congestion in the ramp area. The next HITL simulation will incorporate a more advanced scheduler, providing new and enhanced advisories to ramp and tower controllers. (POC: Ty Hoang)

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