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Shakedown Flight Simulation with FAA in Preparation for ecoDemonstrator 2020 Trials
July 11, 2019

Inside of the FAA Tech Center flight simulator
FAA Tech Center Simulator

On July 2, 2019, an initial piloted, shakedown simulation was successfully completed between the NASA Testbed and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) Cockpit Simulation facility (CSF). The purpose of the simulation was to test data transfer and flight plan execution in preparation for later testing in July, aimed at acquiring detailed flight data for NASA’s Tailored Arrival Manager (TAM). TAM relies on NASA’s Autoresolver technology to compute trajectory solutions that ensure safe separation from other aircraft, while managing time-based metering constraints in busy arrival airspace. TAM will be used in the Boeing EcoDemonstrator 2020 flight demonstration to calculate and send trajectory-based advisories over Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC). TAM solutions are designed to be flown using the aircraft’s Flight Management System (FMS).

Four piloted simulation runs were conducted during the 6-hour test period, during which aircraft state and intent data were sent from the CSF’s Boeing 737-MAX cab to NASA’s Testbed communications middleware at a rate of once-per-second. The test was designed to simulate the acquisition of periodic state and intent data by TAM, via Testbed, from an aircraft in flight. For the actual EcoDemonstrator flight in 2020, aircraft data reporting will rely on Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) services, supported by Future Aircraft Navigation System (FANS) avionics.

(POC: Rich Coppenbarger)

Team members observe computer displays of Testbed tools in the Ames Testbed Lab
Ames Testbed Lab

NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) Completes Technical Capability Level 4 Testing in Reno, NV
July 1, 2019

Photo of the Reno cityscape with four small drones in the sky.
Four Drones Flying Over Reno, NV

The UTM Project completed its Technical Capability Level 4 (TCL 4) flight tests in Reno, Nevada over a two-week period, June 17-28, 2019. This testing was the first of its kind with multiple UAS (i.e., small drones) flying simultaneously under beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations in a true urban environment. The testing was coordinated by the Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and included eighteen industry partners. During testing, five live UAS flew 150 missions in downtown Reno and a nearby park. Additionally, there were over 500 simulated flights that were flown simultaneously with the live flights, to create high density UAS operations. The UAS were outfitted with onboard systems to investigate their communication, navigation, and identification performance. Five industry partners provided UAS Service Suppliers (USS) connected to the NASA Flight Information Management System that controlled the drone air traffic through multiple scenarios including remote launch and land, building roof-top to roof-top operations, emergency responder operations, and airspace volume restrictions. Early results showed the UTM system performed well in the traffic management functions, and pointed out the challenging effects on future UAS designs for intense ambient radio frequency interference on UAS controls, GPS errors due to tall buildings, and micro weather in urban canyons. UTM will be conducting similar tests in Corpus Christi, Texas in August 2019 to further obtain data on the UTM system performance in an urban environment. Shakedown testing for the Corpus Christi test will begin July 25, 2019. (POC: Ron Johnson)

Photo of operators in the NIAS Command Center
NIAS Command Center in Reno, NV

Photo of operators in the Airspace Operations Lab
Airspace Operations Lab (AOL) Monitoring TCL 4 Flight Tests in Reno, NV

Aviation Systems Division Participates in the 2019 USA/Europe Air Traffic Management Research and Development (R&D) Seminar (ATM 2019)
June 27, 2019

Photo of the UAM panelists seated and addressing the audience
UAM Panelists: Munish Khurana (Eurocontrol), Natesh Manikoth (FAA), Joerg Mueller (Airbus), John Hansman (MIT), Francois Sillion (Uber Elevate), Parimal Kopardekar (NASA), Markus Klopf (Frequentis), Sandy Lozito (NASA)

The 13th USA/Europe Air Traffic Management (ATM) Research and Development (R&D) Seminar was held in Vienna, Austria from June 17-21, 2019. There were over 60 technical presentations in several ATM research themes including trajectory management, weather, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Keynote speakers represented government, industry, and academia, and included representatives from Eurocontrol, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Uber Elevate. The Seminar also hosted a panel focused on the future of UAM, “Where will Urban Air Mobility be in 20 years?” moderated by Aviation Systems Division Chief Sandy Lozito (NASA) and Munish Kurana (Eurocontrol). Two papers with NASA authors were selected as “Best Paper in Track” for the Seminar: “Accrued Delay Application in Trajectory-Based Operations” (Husni Idris, Christopher Chin, and Tony Evans) and “Using Wind Observations from Nearby Aircraft to Update the Optimal Descent Trajectory in Real-Time” (Ramon Dalmau, Xavier Prats, and Brian Baxley). (POC: Sandy Lozito)

Aviation Systems Division Participates in the AIAA Aviation 2019 Conference
June 27, 2019

The 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aviation Conference held June 17-21 in Dallas, Texas, included numerous contributions from the Aviation Systems Division. Dr. Gano Chatterji (USRA) served as one of the Forum Technical Chairs. The Division authors were represented in seven technical papers as principal or co-author, including two papers on the growing topic of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). UAM was a focus of multiple forums and technical paper sessions. The Division authors also presented papers on airport surface operations, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS), UAS Traffic Management, and cyber-physical security systems. (POC: Kathy Lee)

Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management (UTM) Flight Demonstration Begins in Reno, Nevada
June 20, 2019

Downtown Reno, Nevada Test Range, with NIAS Command Center location in Building at right
Downtown Reno, Nevada Test Range, with NIAS Command Center location in Building at right

The NASA UTM team began Technical Capability Level (TCL) 4 flight demonstration testing on June 17, 2019 at the Nevada UAS test site in downtown Reno, Nevada. Among the capabilities being evaluated in TCL 4 are beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations in an urban environment, off-nominal conditions, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, detect-and-avoid technologies, communication requirements, public safety operations, and airspace restrictions. Numerous test site partners are participating in the flight demonstration which is scheduled to continue through June 28, 2019, followed by a second series of flight demonstrations at the Texas UAS test site in August 2019. On June 17, NASA Ames Research Center Director, Dr. Eugene Tu, visited the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) Command Center for the TCL 4 test and met with team members, including Nevada Test Site Director Chris Walach. Read more about TCL 4 and other UTM demos. (POC: Kathy Lee)

UTM Chief Engineer Joey Rios, Ames Center Director Eugene Tu, UTM Project Manager Ron Johnson
UTM Chief Engineer Joey Rios, Ames Center Director Eugene Tu, UTM Project Manager Ron Johnson

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) panel at the Uber Elevate
June 20, 2019

Uber Elevate panelists, moderated by Tom Prevot (l) and including Sandy Lozito, AF Division chief (2nd from right) sitting on stage in front of an audience
Uber Elevate panelists, moderated by Tom Prevot (l) and including Sandy Lozito, AF Division chief (2nd from right)

Uber Elevate hosted its third annual summit, June 11-12, 2019, in Washington, DC. Aviation Systems Division Chief, Sandy Lozito, participated in a panel on “Urban Airspace Operations, from Concepts to Reality,” to discuss industry and government progress in UAM airspace management, and shared NASA’s experience with UAM, UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Technical Capability Level (TCL) 4 testing, and UAM Grand Challenges. The panel was moderated by Uber’s Airspace System Director, Tom Prevot, and included Tiffany Vinson (City of San Diego), Biruk Abraham (Federal Aviation Administration), Jon Damush (Boeing) and Robin Lineberger (Deloitte). (POC: Min Xue)

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Cognitive Walkthrough
June 20, 2019

A cognitive walkthrough was conducted by the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) subproject researchers on June 5-6, 2019, to evaluate potential UAM operations at a conceptual level with three Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) subject matter experts (SMEs) sponsored by the FAA NextGen Office. The SMEs provided input that will be considered in the UAM Concept of Operations, as well as inform the scenarios for upcoming engineering evaluations. The cognitive walkthrough consisted of a table-top exercise with story-boarding for several scenarios that focused on: current day procedures and communication protocols for UAM operations; digitizing or automating communications and the challenges involved in the process of automating them; how small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) would work for UAM operations; and the processes of authorization of UAS and providing automated clearances for UAS used for cargo delivery. (POC: Savvy Verma)

NASA ATD-2, Phase 3, Safety Risk Management (SRM) Meeting
June 13, 2019

On June 11, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hosted an SRM meeting to assess the potential risks of utilizing the Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) Metroplex Planner, which is scheduled to begin testing in the North Texas area beginning in mid-July, 2019. The meeting was facilitated by representatives of the FAA Quality Control Group located at the Central Service Area in Fort Worth, Texas, and was required by the FAA prior to embarking on ATD-2 Phase 3 activities. The SRM panel members included FAA management and National Air Traffic Controller Association (NATCA) representatives from the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Tower, Dallas Love Tower, DFW Terminal Area and Fort Worth En Route Center facilities. NASA and airline representatives provided subject matter expert support for this safety decision. The current use of ATD-2 was outlined and compared with the projected expanded uses with new capability being added during ATD-2 Phase 3. No safety hazards were identified by the SRM panel. The next and final step in the SRM process is for the FAA District Manager to review the SRM document, which is anticipated to be completed within two weeks, which will allow new ATD-2 Phase 3 Trajectory Option Set (TOS) capabilities to be used in the field evaluation. (POC: Greg Juro, Al Capps, Shawn Engelland)

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