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Aerobahn TFDM Planning Workshop
March 18, 2020

Participants of the Aerobahn TFDM Planning Workshop

On March 4, 2020, NASA’s Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) researchers participated in the Aerobahn Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) Planning Workshop, hosted by Saab Sensis Corporation in Syracuse, New York. The goal of the Workshop was to bring together the future TFDM users identified by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) early TFDM implementation waterfall, including major airlines (American, United, Delta, Southwest) and airports (Charlotte, San Francisco, Seattle, New York), and provide updates on the user tool and solicit feedback. Currently, Saab Sensis is developing a tool powered by their Aerobahn product to provide users with an interface to communicate with TFDM. The interface includes submitting an airline’s Earliest Off-Block Times (EOBTs) and substitution requests for surface metering programs, and display of Target Off-Block Times (TOBTs) and Target Movement Area Entry Times (TMATs) generated by TFDM. Workshop participants discussed TFDM functionality to be used as well as roles and responsibilities during a surface metering program to prepare for the implementation of the program at their sites. ATD-2, a precursor to TFDM, is currently under operational evaluation at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) facilities, including the FAA air traffic control (ATC) Tower and American Airlines Ramp Tower since September 2017. ATD-2 researchers shared experiences and lessons learned from the field demonstration. The next workshop is currently scheduled for June 2020, hosted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

POC: Yoon Jung and Hanbong Lee

ATM-X and Uber Working to Extend Research Collaboration
March 4, 2020

The Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) project signed a multi-year Space Act Agreement (SAA) with Uber Inc. in 2018 to conduct collaborative research studies on integrating Urban Air Mobility (UAM) operations with existing air traffic operations in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace. The efforts under this annex include the “X1” part-task experiment studies to investigate methods of managing high-density UAM operations in today’s airspace, and the “X2” engineering evaluations to extend the ATM paradigm and system reference implementation developed for unmanned aircraft to UAM operations, including for manned operations.

Lessons learned and operational insights have been gained through the NASA-Uber collaboration and are documented for the benefit of the UAM community at large. NASA and Uber are pursuing a follow-on annex under the same SAA to continue these research collaborations that will accelerate airspace access and integration of UAM into the National Airspace System.

POC: Savvy Verma

Machine Learning as a Service, briefing to SWIM Industry-FAA Team (SWIFT) Forum
March 4, 2020

Al Capps presents to the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) Industry-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Team at the FedEx Institute of Technology.

On February 26, 2020, NASA briefed the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) Industry-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Team (SWIFT) in Memphis, TN at the FedEx Institute of Technology on the University of Memphis campus. Approximately 200 participants from all the major airline operator groups and aviation solution providers (see member list image below) participated in the meeting.

NASA’s presentation included two specific examples of machine learning solutions developed by applying a data mining problem solving workflow to aviation challenges. The workflow NASA used is loosely based upon the cross industry standard process for data mining (CRISP-DM) which has been used successfully in other industries. The first example demonstrated a gradient boost classifier that improved arrival runway prediction classification by approximately 20% over the available sources in SWIM today. NASA described the steps performed to deploy this machine learning model to a web service using commonly available open source technology.

The second example demonstrated a gradient boost regressor that estimates the size of tactical delay impact into a busy airspace resource in the Northeast Corridor. This example responds to a top need identified by the SWIFT analytics team at their first meeting in January. The data and visualization from this learner generated significant feedback from the meeting participants.

NASA also highlighted the importance of frequent engagement between analysts and operational users in the SWIFT community and the need to describe aviation operations challenges into data science formats so that the aviation industry can benefit from this significant new technology.

List of SWIFT stakeholders as briefed in FAA SWIFT Forum on February 26, 2020

POC: Al Capps

ATD-2 Training at Atlanta and Washington Center
March 4, 2020

Bob Staudenmeier and Mark Ellerbee (Atlanta Center Traffic Management Unit)

On February 25-26, 2020, the NASA Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) team visited the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZTL ARTCC) in Hampton, GA to train new traffic management coordinators (TMCs) and Supervisory TMCs (STMCs) on the ATD-2 system. Additionally, refresher training was provided to all TMCs on new features that have been incorporated into the system over the last several software releases. All TMCs were briefed on both the capabilities of ATD-2’s Ramp Traffic Console (RTC) and the Surface Trajectory Based Operations (STBO) Client. During each session, TMCs were guided through interactions with the RTC and STBO Client interfaces, were introduced to features and data exchange between the two tools, and discussed how ATD-2 is integrated into their Time Based Flow Management (TBFM) system through Integrated Departure Arrival Capability (IDAC) and the non-verbal interaction that is available through electronic negotiations. TMCs had the opportunity to provide feedback on potential use in the ZTL environment. TMCs were also introduced to the concept of ‘pre-scheduling’ and discussed how well that has been working with flights from Atlanta and Chicago. Outcomes of the training, beyond proficiency on the ATD-2 systems, included increased use of the tool especially during severe weather conditions.

POC: Pete Slattery, Bob Staudenmeier

Joint Surface CDM Team (SCT) & Flow Evaluation Team (FET) Meeting at NTX
February 26, 2020

ATD-2 team members met with FAA SCT and FET members at NASA North Texas Research Station.
NASA North Texas Research Station

On February 20, 2020 the NASA Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) team hosted a joint meeting of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) SCT and FET group at the NASA North Texas Research Station (NTX). The SCT and FET groups are comprised of FAA and industry members and represented multiple FAA organizations and six airline companies.

NASA presented details about the real time metrics that are being developed for use during the Stormy 2020 Trajectory Options Set (TOS) testing, scheduled to begin in early April 2020. The meeting participants gained hands-on experience with the ATD-2 tool through demonstrations intended to help thoroughly explain the Phase 3 capabilities. The demonstrations included multiple examples of the process for the flight operator’s identification and submission of a candidate flight to undergo a reroute, and the subsequent approval by air traffic control (ATC).

NASA also briefed progress on integrating National Airspace System (NAS)-wide restrictions as a means of presenting relevant candidate flights for the flight operators, and an overview of potential future work in this area. An FET member presented requirements that would be needed to ensure the successful, continued use of TOS technology and procedures. Many of the future requirements for industry and FAA relied heavily on lessons learned from the ATD-2 Stormy 2019 test, as well as previous NASA ATD-2 work at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina.

The meeting resulted in positive feedback and active discussion. The integration of real-time metrics in Stormy 2020 testing gained highly positive feedback by meeting participants, as this capability would provide the flight operator with critical new information to enable more precise and expeditious decision making. The SCT and FET groups expressed their appreciation to the NASA representatives for the many lessons learned during the ongoing ATD-2 work and their desire for NASA to continue making positive enhancements to the NAS. The NASA team will continue to participate in the regularly scheduled SCT and FET meetings.

POC: Greg Juro

ATD-2 team members met with FAA SCT and FET members at NASA North Texas Research Station.
NASA North Texas Research Station

Grand Challenge/FAA Airspace Assumptions Workshop
February 26, 2020

The Grand Challenge (GC) project hosted Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives from the Air Traffic, Flight Standards, and Aircraft Certification organizations at NASA Ames Research Center, February 13-14, 2020, to discuss scenario and airspace assumptions for the GC Development Test (DT) flight demonstrations and simulations. The Grand Challenge DT is the first activity in a series with vehicle and airspace industry partners focused on establishing the certification requirements and standards needed for the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market to move forward. The scenarios define a series of progressively more complex capabilities that will demonstrate increasingly integrated operations across infrastructure, vehicle, and airspace components.

NASA’s GC leadership, the GC Airspace Test Infrastructure (ATI) team, FAA partners, and Air Traffic Management Exploration Project (ATM-X) researchers, collaborated on defining the key assumptions for UAM airspace integration. The groups discussed the need for both airspace and performance authorizations as well as the respective roles and responsibilities of the UAM operators, air navigation service providers, and pilots, along with the other entities involved in UAM operations. In addition, the GC DT scenarios were discussed in detail across both flight and simulation activities in order to gain concurrence on interactions and modes of communication in both uncontrolled and controlled airspace scenarios. The groups intend to collectively generate an assumptions document that will be shared between NASA and the FAA.

POC: Shivanjli Sharma

ATD-2 Briefing at National Customer Forum
February 26, 2020

NASA was invited to speak at the National Customer Forum held at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) David J. Hurley Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) in Warrenton, Virginia on February 12, 2020. The audience included representatives from the major U.S passenger and cargo airlines, general aviation, FAA, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). NASA presented an overview of the Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) concept and benefits, Phase 3 Field demo status, and ATD-2 to Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) transition plans. The meeting emphasized metrics and perspectives on stakeholder needs and improvements. The audience expressed their appreciation for the NASA ATD-2 system and its influence on the TFDM program, and their anticipation for continued collaboration and engagement.

POC: Al Capps, Shawn Engelland

ATD-2 Field Demo Partner Visit
February 20, 2020

CLT Tower

NASA’s Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) team visited field demo partners at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) on February 10-11, 2020. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate how the system has been performing since metering has been turned on for all banks of flights at CLT since February 1, 2020. Initial feedback from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airline participants at CLT describe a positive effect on managing traffic on the surface at CLT as well as the surrounding terminal area airspace. During periods of highly irregular operations, such as during recent severe weather events that affected flights along the Eastern half of the U.S., ATD-2 users retained the option to temporarily suspend metering. The NASA team also met with the new American Airlines manager for air traffic operations for the Southeast, who toured the traffic management units at CLT Tower and terminal area radar control (TRACON) facilities to better understand how the ATD-2 system affects and improves traffic flow at CLT. The group observed the progress being made towards the expected commissioning of the new CLT tower on June 21, 2020.

POC: Bob Staudenmeier, Pete Slattery

CLT Tower

Dr. Husni Idris named Associate Fellow of the AIAA
February 12, 2020

John Langford, President of AIAA, formally recognized Dr. Husni Idris as an Associate Fellow during a gala event in Washington, DC.

On January 8, 2020, Dr. Husni Idris was named an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) at a gala event in Washington, DC. The AIAA reserves this distinction for “persons who have done original work of outstanding merit, or who have otherwise made outstanding contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology of aeronautics or astronautics.” Dr. Idris’ contributions are well-known throughout the international community, where he is regarded as among the leading minds in air traffic management research. His 25-year career spans contributions as a researcher in academia, industry, and government, from the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to Senior Air Traffic Researcher at Engility Corporation, to the Aviation Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center. He has published more than 40 technical articles in the peer-reviewed and conference literature. His most recent publication, “Accrued Delay Application in Trajectory-Based Operations,” was distinguished as best-in-track at the prestigious 2019 USA/Europe Air Traffic Management (ATM) Research & Development Seminar in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Idris currently leads a team that is researching Collective Autonomous Behavior in ATM under NASA’s Transformative Tools and Technologies (TTT) Project, and he is a member of the Agency’s Autonomous Systems Capability Leadership Team. He is Associate Editor of the “AIAA Journal of Air Transportation” and the “Transactions of the Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences.”

POC: Todd Farley

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