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UAS Integration into the NAS Awards Cooperative Agreement to Honeywell International
October 12, 2017

Photograph of the SIERRA-B UAS
NASA Ames Research Center’s SIERRA-B Unmanned Aircraft System

On October 2, 2017, the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration into the National Airspace System (UAS) Detect and Avoid (DAA) Sub-Project awarded a cooperative agreement (CA) to Honeywell International. The purpose of the CA is to demonstrate and support the further development of a prototype airborne low cost, size, weight, and power (C-SWaP) surveillance system that can detect and track non-cooperative aircraft for use within a UAS DAA system. The prototype hardware to be developed will provide a basis for validating and verifying proposed RTCA Special Committee 228 performance requirements for low C-SWaP surveillance systems. The objective of this CA is to provide specific potential public benefits, including improved safety of UAS integration into the NAS through improved sensor technologies, and testing of those technologies in highly relevant simulation and operational testing environments, and by breaking down the barriers for less-equipped UAS to access the NAS. Two key flight tests (Flight Tests 5 and 6) will be executed within the CA period of performance to support the core objective of developing the surveillance system. In Flight Test 5, Honeywell’s low C-SWaP airborne non-cooperative surveillance sensor will be integrated on NASA Ames Research Center’s SIERRA-B UAS towards the end of FY2018. Scripted air-to-air encounters against single and multiple manned intruders will be investigated, to support the development of sensor performance requirements and interoperability with existing DAA alerting and guidance requirements. (POC: Confesor Santiago)

Visual-Vestibular Active Psychophysics Experiment at the Vertical Motion Simulator
October 12, 2017

Screenshot of the Primary Flight Display with Stall Recovery Guidance Symbology
Primary Flight Display with Stall Recovery Guidance Symbology

Pilot loss of control is the leading cause of jet casualties worldwide and Congress has mandated that aircrews be trained in stall and upset recovery. Airlines perform this training in motion-based simulators. To provide effective stall and upset recovery training, simulator motion cueing systems must be configured to provide adequate motion cues for this demanding task. The Visual-Vestibular Active Psychophysics (VVAP) experiment, sponsored by NASA's Technologies for Airplane Situational Awareness (TASA) Project, is the fourth in a series of experiments aimed at developing motion cueing requirements for full stall recognition and recovery training. This experiment is being performed at NASA Ames Research Center’s Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) July 3 - August 1 and September 4 - October 13, 2017. The fourth VVAP experiment will leverage the findings from previous VVAP and the Stall Recovery Guidance (SRG) experiments utilizing a pilot modeling approach. The approach allows for the modeling of how pilots perceive and integrate different cues in a simulator (e.g., visual and motion) to make a manual control action. By systematically comparing the model parameters estimated using manual control data from pilots performing stall recoveries under different motion conditions, it can be determined how pilots adapt to different simulator motion settings in different stages of a stall scenario. The pilots will perform a high-altitude stall recovery task using head down display symbology (see figure) and guidance algorithms developed from the SRG experiment that include no motion, full VMS motion, and two reduced motion configurations. Sixteen general aviation pilots will participate in the experiment. (POC: Scott Reardon, Peter Zaal)

Supersonic X-Plane Demonstration at the Vertical Motion Simulator
October 12, 2017

Screenshot of the proof-of-concept supersonic X-Plane demonstrator simulation
Figure 1: View after takeoff

Commercial supersonic air transportation, such as the Concorde, was shown to dramatically reduce flight times. But commercial supersonic flights over land in the U.S. and Europe were prohibited due to the resulting sonic boom. NASA’s New Aviation Horizons initiative will tackle the supersonic flight challenge with a ten-year plan to accelerate aviation technology through the research of experimental aircraft, or “X-Planes.” One such aircraft is an efficient supersonic X-Plane capable of reducing the acoustic signature associated with sonic booms when traveling faster than the speed of sound, reducing the sonic boom to a sonic “thump,” softening the associated noise through advanced aerodynamic techniques, and enabling aircraft to travel faster than the speed of sound over land without disturbing communities below. Over two months, starting June 2017, NASA Ames Research Center’s System Analysis Office and Aviation Systems Division, along with Lockheed-Martin collaborated to rapidly develop a proof-of-concept supersonic X-Plane demonstrator simulation (see Figure 1). Aircraft math models developed by both Lockheed-Martin and the Aviation Systems Division were integrated with the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) and demonstrated the flexibility and rapid development capabilities of Simlabs’ simulation system architecture. In addition, Simlabs designed, developed, and integrated an alternate flight control system (FCS) to compare to Lockheed-Martin’s FCS. One of the unique features of the supersonic X-plane design is the long nose and low-profile canopy that impedes the pilot’s line of sight. In order for the pilot to see the runway during landing, a synthetic vision system was simulated that provided an augmented camera view (see Figure 2). To assess the impact of the synthetic vision system and FCS on pilot workload and performance, takeoff and landing tasks were developed for handling qualities evaluations. The simulation was presented to NASA’s Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, Dr. Jaiwon Shin, on August 28, 2017. (POC: Scott Reardon, Bill Chung)

Screenshot of the X-Plane simulation synthetic vision display
Figure 2: Pilots’ synthetic vision display

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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