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Dynamic Routes for Arrivals in Weather (DRAW) Team Completes Final Human-in-the-Loop (HitL) Simulation
August 29, 2019

TMC participant views computer displays showing DRAW tools.
TMC Participant uses DRAW to reroute flight around weather (left screen) while maintaining acceptable delays (right screen).

The fifth and final in a series of Human-in-the-Loop (HitL) studies of the Dynamic Routes for Arrivals in Weather (DRAW) tool was conducted from July 24–August 1, 2019, in the NASA Ames Air Traffic Control (ATC) Laboratory. DRAW HitL #5 was the first to use a DRAW-enhanced version of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM) system and also represented the culmination of over three years of development and testing within a NASA rapid prototyping system, and two years of software development to modify and enhance TBFM software to include core DRAW capabilities. The technical objectives for this experiment were to evaluate the stability and reliability of DRAW as part of the enhanced version of TBFM and to assess DRAW performance for four-corner-post arrival operations into the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) TRACON. In the study, DRAW was used for arrival metering within the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZFW ARTCC) airspace. Study participants included 4 recently-retired ZFW Traffic Management Coordinators (TMCs). Two TMCs participated each week of the study, with each participating as the primary DRAW user in parallel, independent simulations. Each TMC was presented with four weather-impacted arrival traffic scenarios, both with and without DRAW functionality (32 total runs). The TMCs viewed DRAW reroute advisories and schedule impact/delay information and used the DRAW trial planning capability to evaluate candidate reroutes for weather avoidance, assess their schedule delay impact, and amend flight routes as necessary to maintain effective arrival metering. Data collection included questionnaires and arrival metering and DRAW performance. DRAW exceeded all expectations for performance, stability and reliability even with scenarios designed to represent a very high traffic demand for weather-impacted airspace. Representatives of the FAA’s NextGen Office observed DRAW HITL #5 activities during the second week of the study and discussed technology transfer and next steps with DRAW researchers and Airspace Technology Demonstration (ATD) project managers. Data analysis is underway and results are planned to be briefed in September 2019. (POC: Doug Isaacson)

UTM Completes TCL 4 Testing in Corpus Christi, Texas
August 29, 2019

Two drones flying in the sky above city buildings.
Two drones flying in downtown Corpus Christi on August 15, 2019

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) project completed the second set of Technical Capability Level 4 (TCL 4) flight tests in Corpus Christi, Texas over a two-week period, August 12-23, 2019. The first set of TCL 4 demonstrations took place in June 2019, in Reno, Nevada. The Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence (LSUAC) coordinated the Corpus Christi testing, which included eight industry partners and the Corpus Christi Fire Department. During the test, eight live UAS (with as many as seven flying simultaneously), executed beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations in a true urban environment in downtown Corpus Christi, along the shoreline, and in a nearby park. Throughout the test period, over 419 live flights and 647 simulated flights were flown to create high density UAS operations. The vehicles were outfitted with onboard systems to investigate their communication, navigation, and identification performance. Seven industry partners provided UAS Service Suppliers (USS) connected to the NASA Flight Information Management System (FIMS). The USSs controlled the drone air traffic through multiple scenarios including remote launch and land, building rooftop to rooftop operations, emergency responder operations, and airspace volume restrictions. Early results indicate that the UTM system performed well in the traffic management functions, and areas of improvement regarding radio frequency interference on UAS controls, GPS errors due to tall buildings, and micro weather in urban canyons, were noted. (POC: Ron Johnson)

Three drones flying in the sky in the distance above city buildings, palm trees, and waterfront.
Three UAS flying over the Waterfront Area in Corpus Christi on August 13, 2019

Two drones flying in the sky above the USS Lexington docked on the Corpus Christi waterfront.
Two UAS taking off from the USS Lexington, Corpus Christi on August 15, 2019

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