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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
Initial Flight Demonstration for ecoD Tailored Arrival Manager Completed
August 19, 2020

Screenshot of the TAM User Interface and the TestBed Traffic Viewer.
TAM User Interface and TestBed Traffic Viewer

The initial eco Demonstrator (ecoD) 2020 flight test of NASA’s Tailored Arrival Manager (TAM) was successfully completed on August 14, 2020, in partnership with Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC). The first of two scheduled test flights, this test’s purpose was to advance the use of increasingly autonomous, ground-based air traffic technology by evaluating the effectiveness of TAM solutions in a real-world environment. The test went according to plan and the TAM advisories were acceptable to the pilots. As prescribed in the test plan, the advisories were autoloaded but not flown.

Using the NASA-developed AutoResolver as its algorithmic engine and NASA’s TestBed for managing data interfaces with Boeing and FAA systems, TAM computed fuel-efficient path solutions, speed and path, for metering to an arrival fix on approach to Glasgow Industrial Airport (Montana). TAM is an increasingly autonomous air-ground trajectory management system for arrivals that computes flight paths based on fuel efficient optimized-profile descents while simultaneously satisfying schedule constraints and resolving conflicts. It transmits a new route via digital communications that seamlessly integrates with existing avionics. For ecoD, the TAM user sets a flight delay and turn direction to mimic meeting a traffic scheduling constraint and then TAM does the rest to compute the new flight path. A more autonomous option is also available, in which TAM may be used to determine the solution without prescribing a turn direction.

The TAM test was part of a 10-hour maiden flight for the ecoD Boeing 787-10 aircraft from Charleston, South Carolina to Boeing Field, Washington. TAM trajectory predictions and solutions used wind forecasts together with flight track and intent data transmitted by the aircraft. Solutions meeting user-prescribed flight delay times were sent digitally to the FAA Data Communications Avionics Laboratory (DCAL) at the WJHTC, through the TAM user interface. The DCAL translated the TAM solutions into Controller Pilot Datalink Communications (CPDLC) messages and uplinked them to the flight deck. The flight deck crew auto-loaded TAM solutions into the Flight Management System (FMS) and made photographic observations of uplinked messages and associated route modifications on the avionics displays. In this first step of TAM evaluations, no TAM advisories were executed in accordance with the 2020 test plan.

A total of three sequential TAM solutions were delivered to the flight deck. Pilots reported that all solutions were received in a timely manner and were loaded into the FMS with no route discontinuities. Boeing indicated that each TAM solution would have been flyable had the pilots chosen to execute them.

After the three TAM solution tests were completed, the Boeing 787 performed a near idle thrust descent to the meter fix using the FMS Vertical Navigation (VNAV) at a descent speed advised by TAM. The VNAV descent to the meter fix was performed automatically with only minor speed brake inputs required by pilots. Post-flight analysis will compare the flown trajectory, together with downlinked top-of-descent and meter-fix arrival time estimates from the FMS, with corresponding TAM predictions; time requirements for message delivery and pilot review will also be examined. The next flight opportunity is scheduled for September 10, from Glasgow, Montana to Charleston, South Carolina.


POC: Arwa Aweiss



WorldWind Releases New Versions for Java and Web-based Platforms
August 19, 2020

Screenshot of NASA WorldWind on GitHub.
NASA Worldwind is available on GitHub.

Since WorldWind was transitioned into the Aviation Systems Division, the WorldWind team has been supporting aviation use cases as well as updates to release the software under an open-source license on GitHub.com. WorldWind Java was released as open-source software in 2011, and Web WorldWind was released in 2017. Over the years, thousands of domestic and international developers spanning the US Government, academia, industry, and hobbyist communities, have used WorldWind to build applications to visualize, analyze, and process geospatial information on a virtual globe. Web WorldWind version 0.10.0 addresses potential vulnerabilities within the code and its underlying packages. WorldWind Java 2.2.0 focuses on upgrading to Java 11 and JOGL 2.4 as well as a switch to the Apache 2.0 license. Contributing to these successful releases, the WorldWind Team completed approvals through NASA’s software assurance process, the Technology Transfer Program, and the Office of the Chief Counsel. The Aviation Systems Division appreciates the help of these organizations and the WorldWind Team to make the releases possible.

More information on WorldWind: WorldWind is a free, open source software development kit (SDK) for assisting developers in the creation of geographical information systems (GISs). The WorldWind SDK is used by software engineers to build their own GIS applications. WorldWind also provides publicly accessible GIS data services that are housed by NASA Ames Research Center’s Data Center. Notable use cases are the FAA’s NextGen Surveillance Analysis Tool (NESAT) which is built off WorldWind’s Web SDK (Javascript). NESAT is a tool to visualize and analyze historical and live, fully-realistic 3D air traffic and surveillance data of the entire National Airspace System (NAS). Another notable stakeholder is the Department of Defense who uses WorldWind’s scalability, modularity, and data buffering algorithms to integrate surveillance data sources into a secure platform to support their mission.


POC: Confesor Santiago



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