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UAS Integration into the National Airspace System project Human-in-the-Loop Simulation completed
March 27, 2015

UAS pilot at the Vigilant Spirit Control Station developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory

A human-in-the-loop simulation of detect-and-avoid (DAA) displays and algorithms that aid Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pilots in remaining “well clear” of all traffic concluded three weeks of data collection on March 20, 2015. A total of 16 UAS pilots (one per day) participated in the simulation in the Distributed Simulation Research Lab at NASA Ames Research Center. The simulation supported the goal of reducing barriers to the integration of UAS within the National Airspace System (NAS) under NASA's UAS in the NAS project, and was led by the Human Systems Integration (HSI) sub-project, with significant participation from the Integrated Test & Evaluation (IT&E) and Separation assurance/Sense and avoid Interoperability (SSI) sub-projects from NASA Ames and NASA Langley Research Centers. The simulation had two primary goals, to collect data on how different traffic display/guidance elements affect pilot performance on maintaining an airborne separation standard (also known as well clear), and how sensor uncertainties and detection ranges affect pilots’ ability to remain well clear of all traffic.

The SSI sub-project at Ames developed and delivered algorithms that provided the UAS DAA capabilities tested. Four display options were evaluated; a minimum (baseline) set with track position and velocities of other aircraft and traffic alerts, and three other displays that provided additional levels of guidance to aid the pilot in determining maneuvers to avoid a loss of well clear. The first was Stratway+, developed by Langley, which provided the pilot with a range of heading and vertical speed values to avoid losses of well clear; the second, OmniBands, developed at Ames, which extended the Stratway+ algorithm by displaying all alerts (loss of well clear and secondary alerts) on the heading bands, and displayed discrete altitude levels that are well clear; and finally, the vector planner, also developed at Ames, which provided a real-time interface for the pilot to test whether a specific heading or altitude maneuver was well clear of all traffic before execution. The simulation also included a surveillance model that introduced realistic surveillance uncertainty, which was based on data collected during last year's ACAS-Xu Flight Test at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in partnership with the FAA, General Atomics, and Honeywell. The results of this simulation will inform key research questions for the UAS community, including surveillance and guidance requirements for the DAA minimum operational performance standards, and will also be used to improve the fidelity of a UAS pilot model used in fast-time NAS-wide simulations. (POC: Confesor Santiago)

ATD-3 Planning and Stakeholder Meetings
March 27, 2015

The Airspace Technology Demonstration-3 (ATD-3) planning co-leads, Dr. Kapil Sheth from Ames Research Center and Mr. Mike Koch from Langley Research Center, visited Delta Airlines (DAL) on March 18 to discuss stakeholder questionnaire responses. They met Mr. Mark Hopkins, Mr. Robert Goldman, Mr. David Houck, and Mr. Bill Tuck. Delta indicated that considering their current Class I Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) state, they would find it difficult to participate in a flight test. However, they would like to help with a rerouting technology test. More details need to be worked out. On March 19, Kapil and Mike visited the FAA's Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZTL). They met Mr. Kelly Brown (Executive Officer), Mr. Rex Thornley (Traffic Management Officer), Mr. David Holly (Supervisory Traffic Management Coordinator), and Mr. Jay Raymond (POC, En Route Automation Modernization). The Langley software TASAR (Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests) will be flight tested around the May-June 2015 time frame in Atlanta Center airspace. The personnel at ZTL also indicated an interest in an ATD-3 flight rerouting technology test when the FAA's AirBorne ReRoute (ABRR) software becomes operational. More details, including union participation, need to be discussed for this collaboration. (POC: Kapil Sheth)

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