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Rotorcraft Agility Testing at the Vertical Motion Simulator
May 17, 2018

Figure 1. UH-60 Black Hawk

Almost 45 years ago, the workhorse of the United States Army, the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter (figure 1), took its first flight and has been in service since. With over 50 variations, the Black Hawk has proven to be perhaps the most well-rounded rotorcraft vehicle in history and its flexibility enabled the platform to remain technologically competitive over the years. The AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook follow similar narratives, however over five-plus decades since the inception of these aircraft, considerable advances in airframe designs resulting in higher aerodynamic efficiency, range, speed, and adaptability has made it difficult for these Cold War era platforms to complete with 21st century Future Vertical Lift (FVL) designs.

NASA Ames Research Center’s Aviation Systems Division collaborated with the U.S. Army's Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) and the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command's (TRADOC) FVL Operational Concept Team (OCT) to explore how FVL en-route speeds and long-range requirements affect low speed maneuverability and agility. The investigation focused on two FVL aircraft, a coaxial design and a tiltrotor design (figures 2 and 3), to compare with the conventional UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

Figure 2. Coaxial FVL Design

Figure 3. Tiltrotor FVL Design

Beginning in mid-February 2018, a six-week simulation was conducted at the NASA Ames Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) utilizing these two new FVL aircraft math models in addition to a conventional UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as a baseline. The handling qualities of all three aircraft, flying precision tasks, were investigated the first two weeks. In the remaining weeks, the three aircraft flew operationally relevant full mission tasks in simulation. A total of 24 pilots, from four branches of the military, flew a total of 1825 data runs over the six-week period that will be used to evaluate the performance capability of each design.

(POC: Steve Beard)

ATD-2 Briefs the Main Forum at the Collaborative Decision-Making (CDM) Spring Meeting
May 17, 2018

NASA Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) researchers and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) representative for ATD-2 provided a briefing to the main CDM forum during the Spring meetings held April 30-May 2, 2018 at the FedEx Institute of Technology on the campus of the University of Memphis (Tennessee). In addition to the briefing during the main forum, ATD-2 researchers participated in the Surface Collaborative Team (SCT) and Collaborative Automation Team (CAT) break-out meetings. The breakout sessions and the main session included participants across the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the FedEx Managing Director, airline representatives, and airport facility managers. The briefing to the main forum allowed for an update on the progress of the Phase 1 demonstration at CLT as well as a discussion on future work for ATD-2 and the benefits derived thus far from the first six months of the field demonstration. (POC: Shivanjli Sharma)

Airspace Technology Demonstration-2 (ATD-2) Field Demonstration Shadow Session Completed
May 17, 2018

On May 14, 2018, a Shadow Session was conducted in the NASA ATD-2 lab located at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT, CLTlab). The objective of the shadow session was to demonstrate new features of the recent Integrated Arrival/Departure/Surface (IADS) software release and discuss upcoming surface metering enhancements. Participants included field demo partners from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), American Airlines (AAL), and CLT FAA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT). The shadow session included an interactive walkthrough of the many new features included in IADS release 3.1.2, a preview of surface metering enhancements that will be introduced later this year, and a presentation of initial metrics showing the departure and arrival on-time performance. The surface metering enhancements are geared toward deriving additional benefit from the surface metering capability, and toward extending surface metering into the strategic timeframes envisioned in the Surface Collaborative Decision Making (Surface CDM) concept. Discussions provided valuable feedback on the progress of the Phase 1 Field Demonstration, along with ideas for future enhancements to the system. Later in the week, on-site training was provided to both the CLT AAL Ramp Tower and FAA ATCT personnel on the latest features included in the recent software release. (POC: Bob Staudenmeier and Jeremy Coupe)

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