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Division Highlights

Delivery of STARS Version of ATD-1 Ground Tool Software
May 29, 2014

On May 22, 2014, NASA accepted the Raytheon delivery and demonstration of the "SCOUT" version of the Air traffic management Technology Demonstration-1 (ATD-1) ground tools software. SCOUT, which stands for STARS (Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System) CMS (Controller-Managed Spacing) OpEval Up-leveled Tools, was developed using the FAA-required software development plans and processes for the STARS operational system. This software is targeted for use at NASA Ames Research Center for final system validation simulations through Fall and Winter 2014. The software will then be transitioned to the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center for the joint NASA-FAA Operational Integration Assessment (OIA, or OpsInt) simulation which will use the FAA's Automation platforms and utilize current operational air traffic controllers. This simulation is a significant milestone toward the completion of the ATD-1 Technology Transfer to the FAA. (POC: Kevin Witzberger)

Tactical Departure Scheduling - Terminal (TDS-T) shadow evaluation preparations
May 29, 2014

Photo of the TDS-T team in a meeting at NTX.
Tactical Departure Scheduling – Terminal Team and FAA meet at NASA's North Texas Research Station (NTX), Fort Worth, Texas.

On May 22, 2014, NASA's Tactical Departure Scheduling – Terminal (TDS-T) team hosted FAA subject matter experts for a pre-experiment meeting at the North Texas Research Station (NTX) in Fort Worth, Texas. NASA's TDS-T research activity addresses the challenge of simultaneously satisfying national, regional, and local departure constraints while accommodating traffic from both well-equipped and less-equipped airports. Traffic managers from Dallas/Fort Worth TRACON, and the air traffic control towers at DFW, Dallas Love, and Fort Worth Alliance airports were briefed by the NASA TDS-T team on findings from a nationwide terminal departure operations study, terminal departure scheduling algorithm design considerations, and TDS-T prototype decision support tool software development. The meeting participants refined plans for the initial TDS-T shadow evaluation which will be held in late July in the NTX laboratory. (POC: Shawn Engelland)

GE Aviation and GE Global Research Explore Dynamic Weather Routes
May 29, 2014

Screenshot of the DWR user interface.
Graphical user interface showing a trial Dynamic Weather Route (DWR). (Click image for larger version.)

GE Aviation Systems and GE Global Research have expressed strong interest in the Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) concept and software, sending seven staff members to NASA Ames Research Center on May 20-21, 2014 to work with NASA's DWR software team. GE's objective for the visit was to get hands-on time with the start-up and operation of DWR using live and recorded traffic and weather feeds. As described by Brian Adams, GE Product Marketing Director, Air Traffic Management, GE has focused on data mining to uncover inefficiencies in all aspects of airline operations and is interested in investigating the use of DWR as a basis for making real-time corrections to inefficiencies in their airline customer's operations. During the two-day meeting, NASA provided a tutorial on DWR, and held detailed discussions and hands-on demonstrations regarding the software, the automation concept, and results from NASA's trial of DWR at American Airlines. The GE team seemed very pleased with the visit, eager to move to the next step, which includes contacting the Ames Technology Partnerships Division to inquire about licensing the DWR software. (POC: Dave McNally)

MESAR Completes Interim Test
May 29, 2014

Photo of a participant at a controller terminal running MESAR tools during a shakedown simulation.
Shakedown MESAR simulation

An interim test with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) was conducted for the Method to Enhance Scheduled Arrival Robustness (MESAR) research project on May 14-15, 2014. MESAR is an augmentation to the Traffic Management Advisor with Terminal Metering (TMA-TM) and the Controller Managed Spacing (CMS) tools, and is designed to handle perturbed schedule-based terminal area arrival operations. MESAR has augmented displays using slot markers, timelines, and speed advisories to graphically display STAs (Scheduled Times of Arrival) and ETAs (Estimated Times of Arrival) of aircraft, and to provide support for controllers to sequence, space, and merge aircraft and to meet the schedule. The interim test investigated MESAR's ability to handle perturbed scheduled operations due to missed approaches, pop-up visual flight rules (VFR) flights requiring priority landing, late arrivals that cannot be sped up to meet their schedule, and a scheduled flight declaring medical emergency and overtaking other scheduled flights. The Traffic Management Coordinator's (TMC's) role was also explored in this test, and TMCs and SMEs provided valuable feedback on information requirements, displays and tools. Early observations suggest that TMCs anticipate impact to schedule disturbances and thus react faster than MESAR, which must wait to detect schedule perturbations. Subsequent interim tests will further investigate the validity of the MESAR algorithm to respond in a meaningful way to the expected but difficult to predict disturbances that perturbs scheduled operations. (POC: Jaewoo Jung)

DWR Software Upgrade for American Airlines Trial System
May 29, 2014

Photo of an American Airlines System Operations Center ATC coordinator using a workstation running DWR
DWR user display at American Airlines Integrated Operations Control Center, Fort Worth, Texas.

The Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) software that supports the operational trial of DWR at the American Airlines Integrated Operations Center in Fort Worth, Texas was upgraded on May 9, 2014. The primary improvement in this version of DWR was to increase air traffic coverage from one en route center, Fort Worth Center, to five en route centers total by expanding to the first-tier adjacent centers (Albuquerque, Kansas City, Memphis, and Houston). The upgrade provides more potential flying time savings for all flights, gives users more advance notice on potential reroutes for flights overflying the primary home center (Fort Worth Center), and is the basis for new research aimed at improving weather-avoidance routes for flights nearing busy destination airports, like Dallas/Fort Worth, when convective weather impacts merging arrival flows. (POC: Dave McNally)

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