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Division Highlights

UAS in the NAS Distributed Human-in-the-Loop Simulations
July 1, 2014

From June 9-25, 2014, the SimLabs at NASA Ames Research Center hosted a series of distributed Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) simulations with Armstrong and Langley Research Centers, designed to gather data that will further enable unmanned aircraft to fly in the National Airspace System (NAS). The simulations investigated pilot and controller response to Detect and Avoid (DAA) advisories and subsequent maneuver negotiation with air traffic control. The background traffic and air traffic control workstations were operated from the SimLabs facilities at Ames, while the primary UAS ground control station (GCS) was operated from Armstrong. The Ames and Langley test configurations included data collection supporting the definition of “well clear” with respect to how DAA and Collision Avoidance alerts interoperate with existing Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) alerting on manned aircraft. During the simulations, unmanned air traffic data from a virtual GCS at Langley was sent to a TCAS installed on the B747 flight simulator at Ames. Each of the test configurations featured the use of the Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) distributed test environment developed under the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the NAS project, and data was also collected on the performance of the LVC test environment. (POC: Jim Murphy, Confesor Santiago)

ENAC Researchers Collaborate with Aviation Systems Division
July 1, 2014

Dr. Daniel Delahaye, Head of Optimization Group, Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC), Toulouse, France and Ms. Olga Rodionova, a researcher in the group, visited the Aviation Systems Division June 9-13, 2014. ENAC is a French aviation-oriented university conducting research in air transportation and offering training for controllers and pilots. Dr. Delahaye has developed optimization techniques for European air traffic, separating aircraft trajectories prior to departure. Recently, Dr. Banavar Sridhar and a group of Aviation Systems Division researchers have developed wind-optimal routes for transatlantic flights and evaluated the potential benefits for various city-pairs and aircraft types compared with the current North Atlantic Tracks. Dr. Sridhar and Dr. Delahaye are collaborating on combining their techniques to develop wind-optimal routes with separation constraints. A joint paper based on this collaboration is planned for the USA/Europe Air Traffic Management R&D conference in 2015. (POC: Dr. Banavar Sridhar)

Update on FAA Deployment of the Efficient Descent Advisor
July 1, 2014

On June 20, 2014, the Aviation Systems Division engaged with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in preparation for critical design and implementation decisions regarding the second-phase deployment of the Efficient Descent Advisor (EDA). NASA transferred EDA in November 2011 under the 3D Path Arrival Management (3D-PAM) Research Transition Team. The first-phase deployment, which provides speed advisories to meet scheduled arrival times at the TRACON boundary, is on target for its initial operating capability at Albuquerque Center in September 2014. The second-phase deployment, which the FAA refers to generically as Path Stretching, adds lateral path advisories to conform to a wider range of metering times and also includes automated conflict avoidance capabilities that minimize disruptions to continuous descents downstream. EDA is intended to provide the metering precision at the terminal airspace boundary required by NASA's Terminal Sequencing and Spacing (TSS) concept, which further enables continuous descents to the runway in the presence of traffic constraints. Rich Coppenbarger, who was NASA's lead researcher in EDA development, together with the FAA's Greg Dyer of Denver Center and MITRE engineers that participated in 3D-PAM, met with the FAA's Time Based Flow Management (TBFM) Program's operations team to discuss the deployment strategy of Path Stretching and address issues raised by controllers assigned to the TBFM operations team. Specifically, controllers indicated their desire to easily guide or modify path advisories to better accommodate changing wind and weather conditions. NASA and MITRE discussed several design extensions that could provide the flexibility sought by the operations team, including a controller-initiated path concept that NASA had prototyped. The meeting concluded with the TBFM operations team leader, Brian Holquin, declaring his support for Path Stretching in the next TBFM Work Package (WP3), which is scheduled for a final investment decision in December 2014, and a field deployment in the 2018 timeframe. FAA program manager, Rob Hunt, stated that regardless of how Path Stretching gets parceled into the various work packages, he supports the overall end-state concept. NASA also supported the FAA in defining detailed requirements for Path Stretching in WP3, in a recent requirements workshop held in Washington, DC on June 25, 2014. (POC: Rich Coppenbarger)

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