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q Assessment of the Airspace Systems Program x . ,. . .. it, . BACKGROUND The first five sections of this chapter describe and assess the Airspace Systems Program (ASP) and the process used to review research in this area. They also set forth program-level findings and recommendations that are largely based on project-level assessments in the sixth and final section of the chapter. Additional findings and recommendations at the project level and task level appear in the sections focused on project- level detail. Program Information . .. . an. The goal of ASP is to enable major increases in the capacity and mobility of the air transportation system through the development of revolutionary concepts for operations and vehicle systems that will do the follow- ing: . Improve throughput, predictability, flexibility, collaboration, efficiency, and access to the Na- tional Airspace System (NAS), including the enabling of general aviation and runway-inde- pendent aircraft operations Maintain system safety, security, and environ- mental protection, and Enable modeling and simulation of air trans- . . portat~on operations. 43 ASP research and development are performed at NASA's Ames Research Center, Langley Research Center, and Glenn Research Center. Program manage- ment resides at Ames. The program is organized into four projects, as follows: The Advanced Air Transportation Technolo- gies (AATT) project focuses on the develop- ment of air traffic management (ATM) tools to improve the capacity of transport aircraft op- erations at and between major airports. This multiyear project was initiated in 1996 with a project life of ~ years. Most of the NASA staff working on AATT reside at Ames; the rest re- side at Langley and Glenn. The Small Aircraft Transportation Systems (SATS) project focuses on the development and demonstration of technologies to improve pub- lic mobility through increased use of local and . regional airports. This multiyear project was initiated in 2001 with a project life of 4 years. All of the NASA staff working on SATS reside at Langley. The Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation (YAMS) project focuses on the development of models and simulations to conduct trade-off analyses among concepts and technologies for

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM TABLE 3-1 Net Funding and Direct NASA Staffing Levels for the Airspace Systems Program 45 Federal Funding from Project Start Through FY04 (million $) NASA Staffing Through FY04 (full-time equivalent) Annual Annual Project Duration Total Average FYo4a Total Average FYo4a AA1Y FY96-FY04 317 35 41 634 70 69 VAMS FY02-FY06 46 9 14 65 13 24 AOS FY00-FY06 96 14 8 515 74 28 SATS FY01-FY05 49 10 15 105 26 34 Total 508 79 1,319 155 aData for FY04 are planned, as of April 2003. SOURCE: NASA. . the air transportation system of the future. This multiyear project was initiated in 2002 with a project life of 4 years. Most of the NASA staff working on VAMS reside at Ames; the rest re- side at Langley. The Airspace Operations Systems (AOS) project focuses on the development of better understanding, models, and tools to enhance the efficient and safe operation of aviation systems by human operators. This multiyear project be- came part of ASP in 2000 and has a project life of 6 years. All of the NASA staff working on AOS reside at Ames. The ASP organization is shown in Figure 3-1. Funding and NASA staff levels are summarized in Table 3-1. Review Process The Panel on the Airspace Systems Program of the Committee for the Review of NASA's Revolutionize Aviation Programs met for the first time on February 24-26, 2003, in Washington, D.C. Before that first meeting, the 12 panel members had the opportunity to review the brief write-ups provided by the principal investigators of each of the tasks in response to a short questionnaire generated by NRC. The questionnaire asked for a brief description of the task, development of goals, key progress, technical issues, major publica- tions, and roadblocks. It also asked each principal in- vestigator to address the issue of transition, describe the relevancy of the research to NASA missions, and provide a list of internal and external customers. A blank questionnaire is shown in Appendix D. At the first meeting, panel members received tech- nical briefings in the form of overviews from the ASP program manager and the four project managers. A number of selected tasks were also presented by the principal investigators. The panel subsequently formed four subpanels, one for each of the four projects. Fol- low-up questions were generated by the panel mem- bers and forwarded to the NASA program and project managers. Each subpanel made a site visit to either NASA Langley or Ames. NASA staff from Glenn par- ticipated in the Langley site visit. The purpose of these site visits was to review NASA's response to the ques- tions raised by the panel, to speak directly with the re- searchers working on each task, and to get additional detailed briefings on tasks not reviewed in detail at the first meeting. The site visits also provided an opportu- nity for the panel members to observe the research fa- cilities and demonstrations of some of the products. In addition to the site visits, a few panel members met or had telephone conversations with members of the user community, primarily FAA staff. The purpose of these meetings was to understand their views of NASA's ASP research. The panel then met a second time, in Irvine, Cali- fornia, on April 30 and May 1, 2003, to finalize its results. The panel provided input to the parent commit- tee in the form of a working report. Five members of the panel served as members of the committee.

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46 PORTFOLIO The Advanced Air Transportation Technologies project is nearing completion and has many near-term, mature tasks that are nearing transition to implementa- tion. The Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation project is in an early stage of work and has longer-term tasks that are in the concept development and evalua- tion phase. The Airspace Operations Systems project supports mostly basic research. Most of the research supported by the Small Aircraft Transportation System project is best described as mid-term. NASA research facilities are world-class, as are many of the research- ers. The researchers have a good idea of what they hope to accomplish and how to meet the objectives. . AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONA UTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS space research but increase the effort on the air- borne sitle, including research to enable autono- mous separation. NASA should explore revolution- ary concepts and issues related to distributed air-ground airspace systems, including the distribu- tion of decision making between the cockpit and ground systems, reorganization of how aircraft are routed, and the predicted effect of new concepts on airspace and airport capacity. PROGRAM PLAN Advanced Air Transportation Technologies Pro ject Finding: Support for Basic Research. Although the research portfolio is reasonably balanced, the focus is on the near- and mid-term. Program Recommendation: Support for Basic Re- search. The Airspace Systems Program should sup- port basic research relevant to long-term FAA/ NASA objectives and other research with a far- sighted vision, even if some present-day users would be reluctant to adopt operational systems arising from the research. Planning for long-term research should take into account user inputs and concerns, but user endorsement of individual long-term re- search projects should not be viewed as a require- ment for starting work. Finding: Portfolio of the Airspace Systems Pro- gram. Most of the decision support tools being de- veloped by NASA are designed to improve ground- based air traffic management. Not enough emphasis is placed on research in support of free flight and the self-separation of aircraft. Program Recommendation: Portfolio of the Air- space Systems Program. NASA should plan air- space research based on a top-down understanding of the air transportation system. Research should focus on areas of greatest payoff, in terms of their ability to relieve choke points and other constraints to more efficient air transportation. Program Recommendation: Airborne Research. NASA should continue distributed air-ground air- The AATT project is quite mature. It contains many tasks that are at a stage where heavy user in- volvement is expected. In many cases, they are almost ready for transition to the FAA and are the subject of NASAIFAA transition agreements. The FAA Office of Air Traffic Services instituted a requirement for the FAA's internal research and development organization, NASA, the MITRE Corporation, and other research organizations to use Research Management Plans (RMPs) to identify research tasks and to get assistance from the various FAA organizations that may benefit from the research. The use of RMPs is also intended to prevent unnecessary duplication of efforts among the researchers. The RMP prepared for each task describes the research, research goals, operational uses, linkages to FAA planning documents, roles ant} responsibilities of participating organizations, plans for resolving spe- cific research issues, and a plan for transitioning re- search results to the appropriate FAA system develop- ment organization. Developing an RMP at the concept development stage of research tasks directed at improv- ing FAA operational capabilities increases the likeli- hood that NASA research will be responsive to FAA needs, thereby increasing the probability that applied airspace research by NASA will be incorporates! in the NAS. The FAA's Free Flight Phase II Office uses Re- search Transition Plans (RTPs), which are similar to RMPs in that they outline the roles and responsibilities of NASA and the FAA in the transfer of research re- sults from NASA to the FAA. Once the Free Flight Phase II office is disbanded, the RTP process will cease unless a similar process is established by some other FAA user of NASA research or the unique elements of the RTPs are merged into the broader RMP process.

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM Neither RMPs nor RTPs commit the FAA to imple- menting new technology. That responsibility rests with senior FAA acquisition executives and usually requires the appropriation of funds. Finding: Research Management Plans and Re- search Transition Plans. RMPs and RTPs are both intended, at least in part, to facilitate transition of technology from NASA and other research organi- zations to the FAA. A` . Program Recommendation: Research Transition Plans. The RTP process should be examined to see if it contains worthwhile elements that should be included in the Research Management Plans. Program Recommendation: Research Management Plans. NASA and FAA program directors and ex- ecutives should vigorously adhere to a structured interagency approach, such as the RMP process, for coordinated planning, oversight, and periodic re- view of airspace research that NASA intends to transfer to the FAA for advanced development and implementation. If either party determines that the research results from a particular project will not be implemental, the interagency agreement for that project should be canceled and NASA should for- mally reassess the merits of continuing to develop a product that is not likely to achieve the intended goal of improving the operation of the National Air- space System. NASA is establishing a new project, NASA Ex- ploratory Technologies for the NAS (NExTNAS), to continue some ongoing research tasks and start some new tasks. NASA is in the process of defining the re- search that will be included in NExTNAS, which is expected to run from FY04 to FY08. Finding: Continuation of Ongoing Tasks. Many ex- isting airspace research tasks will not be completed before the expiration of the projects under which they are currently funded. Program Recommendation: Continuation of Ongo- ing Tasks. NASA should include many ongoing tasks in the NExTNAS Project so they can be com- pleted. Areas particularly worthy of continuation include the following: 47 . En Route Descent Advisor task, Surface Management System task, Distributed Air-Ground Traffic Manage- ment subproject, Traffic Flow Management task, and The most promising elements of the pre- ferred operational concept coming out of the VAMS project. Small Aircraft Transportation System Pro ject The committee welcomes the initiative taken by NASA over the last few years to redefine the objective of SATS to emphasize mobility rather than capacity. The current focus of SATS technology development to improve the capabilities and utility of general avia- tion and business aircraft is appropriate. More work to understand and mitigate the impact of SATS on the NAS and the environment would be beneficial. In- creased use of SATS aircraft could increase total air- craft emissions because small aircraft consume more fuel and produce more emissions per passenger mile than large commercial transports. The demand projec- tions for SATS technologies, however, are generally unconvincing. Projecting air travel demand with enough accuracy is difficult at best the current state of the aviation industry shows the tremendous impact of unexpected events. Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Project The planning of the entire VAMS project seems to have focused initially on a suite of open models and simulation tools that researchers could use to evaluate any new airspace system concept. Development of a core modeling capability for the evaluation of future operational concepts is a challenge that NASA is well suited to meet. However, experience in other fields demonstrates the difficulty of developing generic mod- els; chances for success are improved when models are more specific. Now that new operational concepts are taking shape, the Airspace Systems Program is syn- chronizing the development of concepts and models. The competence of the model developers and a well- executed systems evaluation and assessment effort has the potential to mitigate much of the risk created by the early development of the models (before future opera- tional concepts have been well defined).

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48 Airspace Operations Systems Project ~ . ~ There was general consensus that the relationship be- tween NASA and the FAA has improved significantly over the years. NASA researchers generally are skilled, easy to work with, and dedicated to what they do. In the past, airspace researchers were focused more on advancing the state of the art than on developing opera- tionally useful products capable of meeting specific functional requirements. NASA is now very interested in working with the FAA to take research products into the field for testing. This is a very positive change and should he continued. It is important, however, for NASA researchers to develop a better appreciation of what it takes to transform technology into products that meet all of the safety, reliability, operability, and affordability requirements faced by the FAA and the nonstop operations of the NAS. In particular, systems must be fail-safe, and the overall acceptability of new products may be defined by what happens during ab- normal or emergency operating conditions caused by equipment failures, human errors, and/or adverse weather conditions. In addition, more NASA managers than FAA managers see interactions between the two . ~~ . agencies as effective. NASA should recognize that implementation deci- sions rest with FAA management and that advocacy by NASA, when it runs counter to FAA implementation plans, is not helpful. In particular, NASA efforts to "sell" the Direct-to-Controller tool, which is under de- velopment by the AATT project, to controllers in the field have been viewed with concern by some FAA managers. AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONA UTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS researchers understand and are able to respond to user Most of the human factors research tasks in AOS perspectives. The panel Interviewed many FAA staff to under- are baste and should provide useful knowledge and be stand their perception of NASA's airspace research. applicable to concepts of airspace operations that have humans in the loop. The researchers are highly moti- vated about their work. Many AOS tasks are focused on developing formal methods and tools that can be used to evaluate human interaction with advanced au- tomation. The work can best be characterized as ad- vancing the state of the art in aviation human factors research rather than meeting specific requirements, and some research is driven by the interests of individual researchers. Even so, some of the results have been applied by large airframe manufacturers. AOS research deliverables often take the form of published papers and talks at technical conferences. An integrated plan should be developed to explain how the AOS tasks are organized and work together to support the achieve- ment of ASP objectives. ~ , . 1 TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE The Airspace Systems Program is well executed. The goals and objectives of each project are well de- fined, and the researchers are very knowledgeable about the NAS. However, some opportunities for im- provement exist. Researchers generally lack the imple- mentation experience that comes from working with operational systems. Previous activity has shown that final implementation of new air traffic control (ATC) technologies (such as those developed by NASA) can be exceedingly difficult because of stringent safety and training requirements. The record is mixed. The transi- tion of some tools, such as the Traffic Management Advisor (TMA), to the FAA has been a great success, whereas other tools, such as the passive Final Approach Spacing Tool (pFAST) will not be incorporated into the NAS. Notwithstanding the existence of the RTPs and RMPs, NASA and the FAA have different percep- tions of how to move NASA research results into op- erational FAA concepts. USER CONNECTIONS Users (e.g., controllers, pilots, and air traffic man- agers) are directly involved in much of NASA's air- space systems research, but in some cases user involve- ment earlier in the process would be beneficial. User involvement throughout the process would ensure that Finding: Success Criteria. NASA tends to view suc- cess in terms of its ability to mature technology and get the FAA to implement it for operational use. Some FAA users, however, believe this view of suc- cess sometimes leads NASA to focus too much on implementation issues, which NASA may not be well qualified to resolve given its limited operational experience. Program Recommendation: Success Criteria. NASA and the FAA should develop a common def~l- nition of what constitutes the successful completion of an applied airspace research task. Success of

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM NASA applied research tasks should not be mea- sured strictly in terms of implementation. ASSESSMENT BY PROJECT Advanced Air Transportation Technologies Pro ject Background The AATT research is organized as follows: i 49 Terminal/Surface subproject Multi-Center Traffic Management Advisor (McTMA) task - Expedite Departure Path (EDP) task Surface Management System (SMS) task En Route subproject En Route Descent Advisor (EDA) task Regional Metering task Traffic Flow Management (TFM) task Direct-to-Controller Tool (D2) task Distributed Air-Ground Traffic Management (DAG-TM) subproject DAG-TM Airborne task DAG-TM ATM task DAG-TM Flight Deck and Cockpit Display of Traffic Information task Advanced Communications for ATM task Po~fo/io The FAA and NASA Administrators have ap- proved establishment of a joint project office to coordi- nate efforts to develop new aviation systems. This of- fice will report to a newly established interdepartmental policy committee, whose membership will include the Secretary of Transportation, the FAA Administrator, the NASA Administrator, and officials from the De- partments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Com- merce. The policy committee will be responsible for establishing national goals and objectives, reviewing policies guiding modernization of the NAS, proposing legislation, and supporting budget requests. A key goal is to establish a transformation program for the NAS that goes beyond current modernization efforts, which include the FAA's Operational Evolution Plan. The joint project office also has the potential to bring to- gether efforts by RTCA committees, industry, FAA, and NASA to develop future operational concepts. The establishment of a joint project office is an important initiative deserving full support by NASA and the FAA, including assignment of senior personnel from NASA and the FAA, who should be physically located in the same office. It remains to be seen how existing research projects, such as AATT, and existing coordi- nation efforts, such as RMPs, RTPs, and the Inter- agency Integrated Product Team (IAIPT),2 will fit into the work of the new joint project office. McTMA, D2, and SMS have the potential for near- term application. They are part of the FAA's Opera- tional Evolution Plan for Free Flight Phase II, and NASA and the FAA's Free Flight Phase II Office have AATT research includes a mix of tasks that pro- signed an RTP for each of these tasks. vice decision support tools for use by air traffic con- Other AATT tasks have a longer-term focus. trollers (D2, EDA, EDP); technologies that support the management of air traffic (Regional Metering, TFM, McTMA); and technologies that suggest paradigm shifts from today's ground-based environment to a mix of ground and airborne environments for aircraft con- tro] (DAG-TM and Advanced Communications for ATM). These tasks represent an excellent mix of near- and long-term research and a good array of concepts, espe- cially with regard to improving the ground-based por- tion of the NAS. However, only a small portion of the tasks (in the AATT project and the other projects) di- rectly support free flight and self-separation of aircraft. Some tasks, such as EDP, reflect a farsighted vision that present-day users may be reluctant to adopt. How- ever, this is the type of project NASA should pursue because it sets the stage for long-term breakthroughs. NASA has submitted the Regional Metering and En Route Descent Advisor tasks to the FAA's Air Traffic Services organization with the intent of preparing RMPs for each of these tasks. This would make it more iRTCA, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization that functions as a Federal Advisory Committee to advise the FAA on issues related to communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic manage- ment systems. 2The IAIPT was established by a memorandum of understand- ing between the FAA and NASA and includes representatives from the FAA, NASA, MITRE Corporation, the Volpe National Trans- portation System Center, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory. The mission of the IAIPT is to help coordinate and improve the effectiveness of research related to air-based and ground-based ATC and traffic flow management.

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so likely that the FAA will make facilities and controllers available to assist in these tasks. Program Plan ; ; AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONA UTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS The AATT project has an extensive plan in place to track each task. TRLs are used to quantify the matu- rity of research (see Figure 2-34. Tasks D2, McTMA, and SMS each have an RTP and are scheduled to go to TRL 6, at which point NASA will transfer the research results to the FAA. Current plans call for the remaining tasks to be matured to TRL 4. There appears to be suf- ficient funding for all tasks to reach their respective TRLs, ant! all tasks appear to be progressing on sched- ule. The AATT project will end in FY04, although some tasks will continue as part of the new NExTNAS project. Technica/ Performance The airspace research facilities at NASA Ames and Langley are world-class. A mix of highly qualified NASA researchers and contractors is assigned to each AATT task. When appropriate, tasks are supported by extensive human-in-the-loop testing using retired and former air traffic controllers and retired and current pilots with various aviation ratings. NASA maintains a field test site at the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Con- tro! Center (ARTCC) to test ATC and ATM tools. Test- ing of McTMA is being conducted at the New York, Cleveland, Boston, and Washington ARTCCs. A com- bination of various fidelity simulators at Ames and Langley provides a good balance of capabilities. NASA also uses FAA simulators and facilities throughout the aviation industry. Moving AATT tasks to TRL 6 sometimes requires flight tests in addition to high-fidelity simulations. NASA flight test capabilities are somewhat limited and expensive to maintain, but few if any alternatives exist (few other organizations maintain flight test capabili- ties suitable for testing some AATT research, such as the Approach Spacing system, which was recently flight tested as part of DAG-TM at Chicago O'Hare airport). It is difficult for the FAA to provide active-duty air traffic controllers for human-in-the-Ioop testing be- cause of cost and availability issues. This may limit the amount of human-in-the-loop testing conducted and, hence, the quality of the overall test program. Some AATT tasks suggest that current operational procedures, such as "Miles in Trail," should be replaced by a time-based metering concept or a new decision support tool for controllers. However, achieving con- sensus on the need for and the nature of- changes to safety-critical controller procedures and systems is dif- ficult for many reasons. ATM decision support tools are more readily accepted because they do not directly affect controllers and are much less critical to flight safety. Although most AATT tasks are taking advantage of previously completed basic research, the Advanced Communication for ATM and DAG-TM tasks still re- quire some basic research, all of which is well within the capabilities of the teams working on those tasks. User Connections The principal user for the AATT research is the FAA. Other elements of the aviation community would use the results of other tasks, such as SMS, TFM, and DAG-TM, although some FAA officials believe that NASA should view the FAA as the only customer for its airspace research because the FAA is the entity that will decide whether the research results will be incor- porated in the NAS. Pilots contacted by the Airspace Systems Panel in- dicated that pilots are generally satisfied with the in- volvement of the pilot community with AATT re- search. NASA and the FAA signed a memorandum of un- derstanding in September of 1995 essentially making NASA's airspace research one of the FAA's research arms. As a result, NASA participates in meetings of RTCA committees and the IAIPT to discuss NAS is- sues. The MITRE Corporation is also part of these meetings, where research ideas are discussed with the goal of avoiding unnecessary duplication. New opera- tional concepts developed by NASA are intended to improve the performance of the NAS. NASA typically involves the FAA at TRL 3 or 4, when the concept is judged to be ready for simulation testing. Comments from some FAA officials indicate the desire for closer involvement at earlier stages of NASA research, which would likely increase FAA buy-in to NASA research. The FAA has adopted TMA and implemented it at several ARTCCs. Some airline operations centers have adopted the Future ATM Concepts Evaluation Tool (FACET), which was developed as part of the TMA task. Of the three tasks with RTPs scheduled to be transferred to the FAA, two- McTMA and SMS,

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM which are ATM tools will most likely continue once transfer to the FAA has occurred. Comments from the FAA indicate that (1) the FAA may delay or forgo implementation of D2 research in the NAS because D2 is not included in the plan for En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM)3 and (2) NASA programs that integrate with operational ATC systems are difficult to implement because of cost, timing, and controller ac- ceptance. NASA has transferred to the FAA one other decision support tool (pFAST) that was not imple- mentecl, at least in part because of problems integrating pFAST with the current air traffic automation system. Finding: Early Involvement of Users. Delaying user involvement makes it much more difficult for the concept or system design to accommodate unex- pected user concerns. Recommendation: Early Involvement of Users. NASA should involve the FAA and other users, as appropriate, early in the development of new op- erational concepts and airspace systems research to properly account for the need to maintain safe, con- tinuous operations in both routine and unexpected situations. Assessment by Subproject Terminal/Surface Subproject Multi-Center Tragic Management Advisor Task This task is an enhancement to TMA, which has already been delivered to the FAA. Its goals and objec- tives are clear and concise. The FAA is fully involved, and an RIP between the FAA and NASA is in place. A fully functional laboratory is in place at NASA and a prototype system is in place at several key FAA facili- ties. Budget and time lines are adequate to fulfill the RIP. Field testing is under way and TRL 6 should be achieved on time. The task is using proven logic from the TMA project. The concept is supported by users at 3ERAM has been planned, budgeted, and approved through the FAA' s formal decision making process and is the program for mak- ing improvements to the en route portion of the NAS. Trying to insert D2 in ERAM now would increase cost, delay the schedule, and perhaps increase Me risk of ERAM. D2 and other new capabili- ties not included in ERAM will probably not be implemented until 2009 at the earliest. 51 the field test sites, and there are plans to continue re- search to expand the concept beyond the current effort involving the Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Washington ARTCCs. The airline industry is also involved. NASA per- sonnel are on site at the field test sites and interface daily with the FAA and airline users. TMA is already deployed at several ARTCCs, and McTMA is also ex- pected to be accepted by the FAA. McTMA is an excellent example of user-driven research. Live field testing is ensuring that real-world problems are being addressed. Finding: Multi-Center Traffic Management Advi- sor. The McTMA task makes excellent use of field testing. The research team is very knowledgeable and is quite familiar with FAA operations. How- ever, TMA and McTMA use a time-based metering concept that is not fully endorsed by many FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers, which could limit the actual use of this concept by FAA controllers and traffic management coordinators. Recommendation: Time and Workload Savings of the Multi-Center Traffic Management Advisor. NASA should thoroughly analyze the time and workload savings created by the TMA time-based metering concept to validate its potential benefits. Expedite Departure Path Task EDP goals and objectives are clear and potential user benefits are well understood, although technology off-ramps (i.e., the point at which research results will be incorporated in future research, implemented in op- erational NAS systems, or terminated) have not been well defined. EDP researchers recognize that control- ler acceptance of new tools such as EDP and human factors are major concerns. However, to some extent this is an implementation problem that goes beyond technology, meaning that the FAA ultimately wild be responsible for solving it. EDP is being field tested at Dallas-Fort Worth us- ing human-in-the-loop simulations with controllers because TMA and related tools are already imple- mented there and Dallas-Fort Worth has high-density air traffic. The EDP research team has an excellent mix of academic involvement, drawing on studies of simu- lation, noise abatement, and trajectory synthesis, among others.

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52 \,. AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONAUTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS EDP will contribute to greater automation of the NAS, with tools to guide controller decision making. This is a project with a farsighted vision, not necessar- ily one that present-day users would be willing to adopt. However, this is the type of project NASA should do because it sets the stage for long-term breakthroughs. The project appears to leverage work of others. How- ever, since it is farsighted, it may not be perceived as acceptable to present-day users and may not retain po- litical support. Finding: Expedite Departure Path. EDP is the type of research that befits NASA because it has a far- sighted vision that goes beyond the constraints of current operational concepts and sets the stage for potential breakthroughs. EDP also has the poten- tial to hasten the adoption of noise- and emission- reducing departure paths. Recommendation: Environmental Benefits of Expe- dite Departure Path. Acknowledging that the ben- efits of EDP are described primarily in terms of the potential to reduce delays, NASA should also char- acterize the benefit in terms of potential to mitigate the environmental effects of aviation. Surface Management System Task SMS research is well planned, with clear goals and objectives. Execution has been highly successful. The expertise of the contractors doing the work and the funding are adequate to complete the program. Exter- nal participation in SMS research has been excellent. Personnel from the FAA and airline operations centers have been involved with design and testing. This sys- tem seems ripe for implementation. Simulations and prototype demonstrations have been successfully com- pleted, and the research will be ~ansitioned to the FAA in FY04. SMS research has minimized the need to custom- ize SMS installations at different airports to accommo- date local airport configurations. The system will complement current FAA programs related to ASDE-X displays and the use of digital maps for ASDE-X as part of the Safe Flight 21 program.4 4Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X, better known as ASDE-X, is an advanced traffic management system for aircraft on the ground. NASA estimates the benefit-cost ratio of SMS is 12.6 for an initial deployment at 18 sites; the comm~t- tee did not independently verify this estimate. The SMS would do an excellent job of predicting aircraft arrival times at airport gates. It also has the potential to hal- ance departure traffic among multiple runways and departure points once an aircraft is under way. How- ever, given the short time for aircraft to reach runways once they begin taxiing and the disparate start points that exist at many airports, optimization of the depar- ture process will be somewhat limited without reliable predictions of aircraft pushback and/or taxi start times information that is not readily available at most large airports. Finding: Surface Management System. SMS has strong user support, site adaptation requirements should be minimal, and the system should be able to take advantage of other FAA programs (e.g., ASDE-X displays and digital maps). However, SMS would benefit from better predeparture prediction capabilities. Recommendation: Continuation of Surface Man- agement System. NASA research on SMS should continue beyond the planned end date to add more predeparture prediction capability. En Route Subproject Regional Metering Task Goals and objectives are clearly defined through TRL 4/FY04, but plans for further research have yet to be defined, although the Regional Metering task has been propose(l for inclusion in NExTNAS. Research personnel are very knowledgeable, progress metrics have been defined, human factors are fully integrated, and required laboratory facilities and support contrac- tors are in place. Modeling and human-in-the-Ioop test- ing are well planned, but human-in-the-loop testing is expensive and is limited by budgets. Regional Metering is an enhancement to TMA. The Regional Metering enhancement will take time-based metering to more local airports, so the more TMA be- comes accepted by users, the better understood the Regional Metering concept will be. NASA is well aware that user acceptance of time-based metering (as opposed to miles in trail) is critical to ultimate success of Regional Metering. Regional Metering addresses

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM real-world problems and the hypotheses upon which it is based are highly plausible. Finding: Regional Metering. NASA and the FAA understand that automated traffic flow manage- ment tools have the potential to provide important benefits, thereby justifying the effort to take Traffic Management Advisor, Regional Metering, and Multi-Center Traffic Management Advisor re- search a step further. However, like Multi-Center Traffic Management Advisor, Regional Metering ! ' A; , uses a time-based metering concept that is not fully endorsed by the FAA controllers at many Air Route Traffic Control Centers, which could limit the ac- tual use of this concept by FAA controllers and traf- fic management coordinators. Recommendation: Time and Workload Savings of Regional Metering. NASA should thoroughly ana- lyze the time and workload savings created by the Regional Metering time-based metering concept to validate its benefits. NASA should decide whether to continue support of Regional Metering research under the NExTNAS project after this analysis has been completed. En Route Descent Advisor Task EDA works in conjunction with TMA and uses the logic of the Center TRACON (Terminal Radar Ap- proach Control) Automation System (CTAS)s and D2 to enhance these tools. The EDA task has well-defined goals and objectives; it is focused on reducing control- ler workload and aircraft flight times through automa- tion. User benefits have been validated through simu- lation, but the FAA has not yet endorsed the concept. Support contractors are in place for coding and testing. Researchers working on this task are well aware of con- troller concerns about active advisory tools. NASA re- searchers are knowledgeable, and laboratory facilities are adequate to support research through TRL 4. There is a very good plan to take EDA to TRL 4 and to con- tinue research beyond FY04 as part of NExTNAS. SlThe goal of CTAS is to provide automation tools that help con- ~ollers reduce aircraft delays, increase airport capacity, aIld reduce fuel consumption without reducing safety or increasing controller workload. 53 EDA research is using active and retired control- lers for human-in-the-loop testing. Lessons learned from pFAST are improving user acceptance. Human factors studies have been included from the beginning. EDA is applied research at this point. Real-world problems are defined and well addressed. Finding: En Route Descent Advisor. NASA is mak- ing good use of existing software as the core of the EDA concept and is taking advantage of new con- cepts, such as datalink, that are included in the FAA's Operational Evolution Plan. However, the FAA has not committed to support EDA develop- ment past technology readiness level 4. Also, FAA controllers seem reluctant to accept decision sup- port tools that provide active advisories; they pre- fer tools they can call on when needed. Recommendation: Transition Plan for En Route Descent Advisor. NASA and the FAA should agree to a Research Transition Plan or Research Manage- ment Plan for EDA to ensure continued FAA sup- port before NASA commits to including EDA in the NExTNAS project. Direct-to-Controller Tool Task D2 research has clear goals and objectives with real- istic deliverables. Early operational testing of CTAS in- dicated the need for a tool to help controllers identify conflict-free direct routes to downstream fixes. This test- ing serves as the underlying system-level assessment that demonstrates the need for and value of tools like D2. D2 software has been integrated in the release version of CTAS that is in use at the Fort Worth en route center, and NASA's D2 research is almost complete. To avoid the implementation problems encoun- tered by pFAST, researchers would like to stay con- nected to the research after it is turned over to the FAA by serving as "high-powered consultants." However, as discussed above, implementation of D2 will be de- layed or canceled because the FAA did not include D2 in ERAM. NASA D2 researchers are very focused on user adoption, and a prototype D2 tool has been success- fully tested under operational conditions at one of the FAA's ARTCCs. NASA researchers have demon- strated that a too! like D2 that automatically generates optimum flight paths without prompting by controllers can be more effective (at, for example, reducing air-

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60 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONA UTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS while and should be pursued, regardless of current trends and expectations of future demand for commer- cial air transportation or business jets. In 1996, aircraft of all types (civil and military, commercial and general aviation) operating under in- strument flight rules (IFR) made 14.8 million trips through the NAS. About half of these trips (7.2 mil- lion) were by commercial air carriers and about one- fifth (3.1 million) were by air taxis.~4 In 2000, com- mercial air carriers made 9.0 million trips of all kinds (IFR and visual flight rules).~S By one estimate, the SATS project could lead to 31 million trips annually by SATS aircraft 22 years after the technology becomes operational. This tremendous increase in the number of flight operations would be a huge burden for the NAS, given the capacity and delay problems that the system was experiencing from the normal expansion of commercial aviation until 9/11. One of the objectives of the SATS project is to "assess SATS' economic viability and impact on Na- tional airspace and airport infrastructure."~7 Demand projections seem focused on accomplishing the first part of this objective; the last part is being addressed by the En Route Integration operational capability (see Table 3-2~. Given (1) the questionable accuracy and utility of long-term demand projections for a new trans- portation system and (2) the challenging technical is- sues that would need to be overcome to allow the NAS and local air torts to accommodate a large fleet of SATS aircraft, the committee believes that the resources and expertise that NASA is devoting to the demand oroiec- i4FAA. 1997. FAA Statistical Handbook of Aviation 1996. Table 2.2, Air traffic activity at ARTCCs, by aviation category, fiscal years 1992 to 1996. Available online at . i5Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). 2001. Airport Ac- tivity Statistics of Certificated Air Carriers: Summary Tables 2000. Publication BTSO1-05. Table 1, Summary of aircraft departures and enplaned passengers, freight, and mail by carrier group, air carrier, and type of service: 2000. Washington, D.C.: BTS. Avail- able online at . i6S. Dollyhigh. 2002. Analysis of Small Aircraft as a Transpor- tation System, NASA/CR-2002-211927. Hampton, Va.: Swales Aerospace. i7J. Hefner, NASA Langley Research Center, "Small Aircraft Transportation Systems project overview," page 14 of a presenta- tion to Me Airspace Systems Panel on February 25, 2003. tions should be focused instead on assessing the impact of SATS on the NAS, including airport infrastructure. Finding: Demand Projections for the Small Aircraft Transportation System. The demand projections for SATS technologies are generally unconvincing and misdirected. Recommendation: Demand Projections for the Small Aircraft Transportation System. NASA should use demand projections to identify a range of flight activity that SATS aircraft and technolo- gies might create for specific city pairs. The Trans- portation Systems Analysis and Assessment task should then use this information to help the SATS project as a whole assess the impact of SATS tech- nologies and aircraft on the National Airspace Sys- tem (including infrastructure requirements at local airports) and the environment (in terms of noise, fuel consumption, and emissions). These assess- ments should also explore options for minimizing the impacts and thereby improving the viability of the SATS concept. Technica/ Performance Demonstration The overall execution of the technology demon- stration effort is superior, with competent NASA staff, adequate facilities, and an acceptable level of contrac- tor support. Assessment The NRC's previous assessment of SATS re- search~8 raised substantial questions about the SATS vision, the assessments being conducted by the SATS project, and the assumptions upon which the vision and the assessment seemed to be based. Since the earlier report was published, NASA has made progress in con- ducting more rigorous assessments, but not all of the questionable analyses that predates! the NRC's earlier study have been purged from the SATS project. . 18National Research Council (NRC). 2002. Future Flight: A Review of the Small Aircraft Transportation System Concept. Transportation Research Board. Washington, D.C.: National Acad- emy Press.

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM At! AN." I, "' _ - '. '; The SATS project seems to have been redirected during the 2002 to 2003 time frame. NASA has em- phasized that SATS is more about mobility than capac- ity and should be considered as an alternative to travel on existing commercial carriers and other modes of transportation. SATS technologies could increase use of on-demand air taxis for passenger traffic. However, widespread use of SATS aircraft could also have nega- tive environmental effects given that SATS aircraft may consume more fuel and produce more emissions per passenger-mile than either large commercial trans- ports or private automobiles. SATS aircraft may also result in higher levels of aviation noise at small air- ports. It will be difficult for the SATS project to dispel ongoing uncertainty about the ultimate impact of SATS on congestion and delays at hub airports; the ability of rural and suburban populations to access the air trans- portation system via small, minimally equipped air- ports; aviation safety; and the environmental effects of aviation globally, regionally, and in the vicinity of small and large airports. User Connections The National Consortium for Aviation Mobility has created a network of over 150 interested organiza- tions, including aircraft and equipment manufacturers, aircraft operators, airports, academia, state and local government agencies, and academic institutions. Many of these outside organizations have already participated in the SATS project by providing goods or services to support accomplishment of the SATS vision, and more plan to do so. The SATS project is well connected to the small communities with airports and current air taxi operators who would be critical to the success of the first-phase of operational deployment of SATS aircraft and technologies. Finding: Outreach Efforts by the Small Aircraft Transportation System Project. The SATS outreach effort does not include air taxi companies or other commercial operators who have publicly stated their intention to incorporate in their operations SATS technologies and systems as they become available. Recommendation: Membership of the Small Air- craft Transportation System Alliance. To enhance the credibility of deliverables produced by the SATS Alliance, NASA should expand the SATS Alliance 61 with potential SATS customers that is, current or potential air taxi companies and other commercial operators that are willing to publicly state their in- tention to incorporate SATS technologies and sys- tems in their operations by modifying existing air- craft and/or acquiring new aircraft. Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Pro feet Background The VAMS project was initiated in November of 2001 to improve the ability to identify and assess capa- bilities that will increase the capacity of the NAS while maintaining safety and affordability. The project is motivated by shortcomings in current capabilities for assessing the systemwide impacts of proposed im- provements. The VAMS project builds on ongoing near-term technology development and system mod- ernization efforts by the FAA, NASA, and industry. The objectives of the VAMS project are to define and evaluate new operational concepts, generate roadmaps for developing and enabling applicable tech- nologies, and establish the capability to assess these concepts. Products will include advanced airspace sys- tem operational concepts at the domain and system lev- els, a validated modeling and simulation capability to assess new operational concepts at the domain and sys- tem level, preliminary evaluations of the concepts, and technology roadmaps to implement proposed concepts. These preliminary evaluations will identify gaps and transitional issues. The VAMS project supports research in four areas, as follows: . Systems Level Integrated Concepts (SLIC) sub- project Advanced Airspace Concept task Automated Airport Surface Traffic Control task Centralized Terminal Operation Control task Massive Point-to-Point and On-Demand Air Transportation System task Surface Operation Automation Research task System Level Capacity Increasing Concept Research task Systemwide Optimization of the National Airspace System task Terminal Area Capacity Enhancement Con- cept task

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62 .. r: ~ jet . : . ~ I. . . . . Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies (VAST) subproject Communications, Navigation, and Surveil- lance task Non-Real-Time Modeling task Real-Time Modeling task System Evaluation and Assessment (SEA) task Wake Vortex Avoidance System (WakeVAS) task NASA Ames has the lead for all of the above re- search, except for the Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance portion of VAST (Glenn, and WakeVAS (Langley). Po~fo/io The VAMS portfolio is focused on three interre- lated areas: developing revolutionary operational con- cepts at least 10 to 15 years in the future; developing modeling capabilities to evaluate these and other fu- ture concepts; and establishing metrics to support the concept evaluations. The VAMS tasks are well bal- anced across these three areas. As discussed in the fol- lowing section, close linkage of the work in all three areas is essential to take full advantage of this balance. Program Plan Planning of the VAMS project seems to have fo- cused initially on a suite of open models and simula- tion tools that are intended to allow researchers to evaluate any airspace system concept. Shortly after the program was initiated, NASA funded industry to de- velop new airspace system concepts. The models are being developed in an iterative fashion, with the first increment consisting of generic, low-fidelity models linked together in an architecture for assessing NAS-wide impacts. The first increment is intended to validate systemwide processing while the various operational concepts are being developed in parallel. Past efforts to develop generic models in other fields have failed, and the generic models and simula- tions developed by VAMS will not be able to accu- rately mode] all of the new concepts. Accordingly, sub- sequent increments will replace the generic models with increasingly higher-fidelity representations of the new elements of the operational concepts. However, given the relatively large number of concepts being developed and the large number of elements in marry AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONA UTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS of the concepts, VAMS will not have sufficient re- sources to represent all elements of all models at equal fidelity. The program plan calls for a synthesis of the most promising concept elements into one or more pre- ferred operational concepts. Finding: Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies Models. Modeling efforts are more likely to succeed when the modelers know what concepts they will be required to model. Recommendation: Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies Models. Model development by the VAST task should be closely tied to the operational concepts that the models are intended to evaluate, primarily by concentrating on the most promising elements of the preferred operational concept as they are identified. Technica/ Performance NAS Ames has highly capable systemwide model- ing capabilities for evaluating future ATM concepts. The VAMS project is making full use of these capabili- ties. The models produced by VAMS are intended to far exceed the capabilities of most current models, which generally represent only a single entity within the national airspace system (such as an airport) and thus are not capable of evaluating systemwide impacts. Although some existing models do evaluate system- wide impacts, the capabilities of VAMS models will also go beyond existing systemwide modeling capa- bilities. User Connections Many of the operational concepts under develop- ment by VAMS were initially defined by processes outside the auspices of the VAMS project that had sub- stantial user involvement. Now, however, development of these concepts has little user involvement. More user involvement would be helpful and hopefully would lead to broad support from the user community. Finding: User Connections to the Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Subproject. User involve- ment is a crucial ingredient in evaluating and se- lecting elements of various operational concepts for integration into a preferred concept.

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM Recommendation: User Connections to the Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Subproject. NASA should work with the user community to identify criteria for downselecting operational con- cepts, prioritizing features to be included in the modeling and evaluation tools being developed by the Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies task, synthesizing the operational concepts, and deter- mining what further technical investigations are . . . . ~ ~ i it. i. . . ( . - . required to support development of each element of the preferred concept. Assessment by Subproject Systems Level Integrated Concepts Subproject The objective of the Systems Level Integrated Con- cepts Subproject is to identify revolutionary operational concepts with the potential for large increases in ca- pacity at the system and domain levels over a 20-year time frame. The intent is to evaluate the concepts using VAST and, ultimately, more in-depth technical inves- tigations. NASA is sponsoring the development of a broad set of operational concepts by academia, industry, and government to complement NASA's established in- house programs for operational concept development. These concepts currently exist at varying levels of ma- turity, from new, outside-the-box ideas to broadly co- ordinated concepts that are already gaining wide ac- ceptance in the stakeholder community. Fourteen concepts are under development, but the available resources (budget, time, and staff) will not allow developing all of them to the level of detail re- quired for VAST to evaluate them at an acceptable level of fidelity. The current plan for the integration (or syn- thesis) of the operational concepts needs to be en- hanced, especially in terms of downselect criteria and cost-benefit analyses. The intent is to integrate individual operational concepts into a preferred, comprehensive, NAS-level operational concept. However, an integration process has not been developed. In addition, NASA should gen- erate a plan for involving stakeholders and gaining their support for the resulting integrated concept, especially with respect to existing operational concepts developed by RTCA and the FAA and concepts that will be devel- oped or endorsed by the new joint project office. 63 Finding: Systems Level Integrated Concepts. The process being used to develop new operational con- cepts is sound, and the concepts under development are comprehensive in scope. Although none of the concepts targets the en route domain, this domain appears to be adequately addressed within the sys- tem-level concepts. Also, although future interac- tions are planned, to date there has been no linkage between the concept development activities and the Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies task, which is intended to develop the models and simula- tions that will be used to evaluate the concepts. Also, there is no plan for including the concept develop- ers in the evaluation process, which may limit its effectiveness. Recommendation: Interactions between Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies and Systems Level Integrated Concepts. NASA should foster an ongoing interchange between the SLIC and VAST development teams to ensure that VAST models will contain the features needed to fully evaluate new operational concepts. Recommendation: Use of Virtual Airspace Simula- tion Technologies by Concept Developers. NASA should establish a plan for supporting Virtual Air- space Modeling and Simulation concept developers in their use of VAST models. Recommendation: Assessment of Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Operational Concepts. NASA should review and better define the process that will be used to select which concepts will be integrated into a preferred, comprehensive system- level operational concept that will provide the basis for future technical investigations. This process should include constraints on available resources, clear decision criteria, and the inputs from stake- holders. Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies Subproject VAST includes separate efforts focused on real- time and non-real-time modeling. The non-real-time portion of VAST seeks to create and assemble agent- based models, simulations, and tools (federates) to form a high-level collection of models (a federation)

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64 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONAUTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS that will support fast-time assessment of new opera- tional concepts at both the domain and systemwide lev- els.~9 This is an ambitious goal. The real-time portion of VAST is intended to play a major innovative role in the modeling of the NAS through the integration of distributed real-time simula- tion models and human-in-the-loop simulators (of air- craft and air traffic control centers). The resulting sys- tem is intended to support the assessment of proposed operational concepts that involve human ATC person- nel and aircraft crews. VAST is supported by a well-qualified staff, and NASA has demonstrated a strong commitment to main- taining an in-house core capability in airspace model- ing. The staff is well acquainted with the Department of Defense (DoD) High Level Architecture (HLA)20 and employs the processes and tools developed for use within DoD. Agent-based models could enhance the flexibility of the federates that are created, allowing their rapid adaptation to both the current system and its future embodiments. The use of agent-based models in the real-time portion of VAST is especially important be- cause it can also reduce the number of human operators required for some concept evaluations, offering the potential to significantly reduce the cost of using the federation and increasing its availability. Although VAST is intended to support the evalua- tion of operational concepts, VAST staff have not ac- tively collaborated with concept developers. The lack of interaction could lead to the creation of operational concepts that cannot be evaluated by the simulation tools under development. Moreover, NASA has made little effort to involve the intended user community (i.e., the FAA) in this program. Finding: Use of Existing Models for Virtual Air- space Modeling and Simulation. At the outset of the Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies task, NASA considered whether existing models should be incorporated into the federation being developed by the non-real-time portion of this task to reduce i9"Domain" refers to an area or set of activities, such as ATC operations for aircraft approaching an airport, that deals with com- mon capabilities and data. 20HLA allows the assembly of different models to address a simulation requirement. costs and accelerate development. Based on infor- mation provided by the contract proposals NASA received for VAMS work and a quick internal as- sessment, NASA determined that few, if any, exist- ing models could be employed without extensive work and that most models should be developed from scratch because of the difficulty of adapting existing models and because many models are pro- prietary and cannot be used to produce the open model environment envisioned by NASA. The com- mittee was unable to independently evaluate this determination. Recommendation: Use of Existing Models for Vir- tual Airspace Modeling and Simulation. NASA should initiate a more detailed study to reevaluate the merit of including existing models in the Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies (non-real-time) federation. Recommendation: Integration of NASA Modeling EiTorts. NASA should develop large-scale models that integrate submodels of multiple aircraft ve- hicles (including aerodynamics, propulsion, and avionics); geometry of airports and physical terrain; weather, environmental, and ecological variables; humans (pilots, controllers, and other operational decision makers); procedures; and other elements of the overall system. Ultimately, these large-scale mathematical models would be executable pro- grams capable of being run with iterative changes in variables to explore the erects of changes in sys- tem design variables. In the near future they would be mainly qualitative but contain some quantitative elements. The effort to define such models should be done in conjunction with formulating a far- reaching vision for NASA research. Finding: Simulator Modeling. Simulator model de- velopment by the Aviation Safety Program has simi- larities with modeling research by the Virtual Air- space Simulation Technologies task. Recommendation: Simulator Modeling. Modeling research by the Virtual Airspace Simulation Tech- nologies task and the Aviation Safety Program should be coordinated. Over the past 3 years, the U.S. Air Force's Distrib- uted Mission Training Program has developed the abil-

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM ity to link aircraft simulators to enable multiple air- crews to operate in the same simulated airspace while occupying simulators in diverse locations. VAST per- sonnel have had no interactions with this effort, which is directly related to the real-time portion of VAST. The federation object model being used by the Distrib- uted Mission Training Program is particularly relevant (see ~. Finding: Department of Defense Involvement in Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies. NASA has not invited experienced DoD personnel to par- ticipate in VAST. Since the DoD has significant ex- perience in the development of large federations with High Level Architecture, such participation could provide useful insights and access to lessons learned. Recommendation: Department of Defense Involve- ment in Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies. NASA should establish an ongoing dialogue with DoD experts in large-scale federation development and invite them to join an integrated product team associated with the real-time and non-real-time por- tions of VAST. Similarly, DoD experts in the Dis- tributed Mission Training Program should be in- vited to join an integrated product team associated with the real-time portion of VAST. System Evaluation and Assessment Task The SEA task is developing scenarios and metrics that will be used to provide a common evaluation framework when VAST (real-time and non-real-time) is used to assess new operational concepts developed by the Systems Level Integrated Concepts subproject. In an iterative process, the SEA task will develop re- quirements for a common set of scenarios and metrics appropriate for the VAMS concepts. The task will gather inputs for scenarios and metrics from stakehold- ers and refine requirements using concept testing and feedback from concept developers. The goal is to con- duct detailed evaluations of new concepts throughout their development to assess their feasibility and their potential for enhancing capacity while maintaining safety. Finding: System Evaluation and Assessment. The SEA task is well planned and well focused, with a 65 common evaluation framework under development. The researchers are knowledgeable and well versed in the development of metrics. However, it is not clear that efforts to achieve broad stakeholder in- put in metrics development will succeed. Recommendation: Early Stakeholder Involvement in the System Evaluation and Assessment Task. NASA should involve a broader group of industry stake- holders as early as possible in the SEA task to obtain (1) concurrence on the definitions of metrics, (2) prioritization of the metrics in terms of importance to each stakeholder, and (3) valuation of the metrics in cases where metrics are to be converted to dollars. Wake Vortex Avoidance System Task The WakeVAS task is conducting high-risk, high- payoff research that is well suited to NASA's special- ized scientific knowledge and analytical capabilities. WakeVAS is developing concepts to mitigate (1) the hazard posed by wake vortices during airport approach and departure operations and (2) the impact that wake vortices have on the capacity of individual airports and the NAS as a whole, while maintaining or improving current levels of safety. The goal of WakeVAS is a validated concept from which specifications for an op- erational prototype system could be derived that would reduce separation requirements for aircraft (1) in trail (for single-runway operations) and (2) landing or de- parting on closely spaced parallel runways. Understanding wake vortex phenomena well enough to define flight regions that are free of hazard- ous wake vortices is a worthwhile goal because wake vortices are hazardous and the safety procedures prompted by them degrade system capacity. Research aimed at providing wake information to pilots in all phases of flight would be very useful and could help reduce accidents. The committee sees three options for trying to solve the wake vortex problem: 1. Predict the position of hazardous wake vortices produced by a given aircraft in real time. Detect the position of hazardous wake vortices using an airborne or ground system. Predict zones around an aircraft that will always be free of hazardous wake vortices (i.e., zones where other aircraft can operate safely). Attempts to model the behavior of wake vortices

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66 . ~ , , AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONA UTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS as a function of aircraft weight, engine size, and weather have been going on for many years, and the time frame for operational benefits remains uncertain, although the FAA may be approaching the point where a better understanding of wake vortices will lead to relaxed separation standards during approach, landing, and takeoff, thereby increasing runway utilization rates and system capacity. It seems that WakeVAS intends to mitigate the ef- fect of wake vortices on the operation of parallel run- ways by allowing paired approaches in IMC, which relies on option 3 above. However, closely spaced par- allel approaches in IMC would create safety hazards even if wake vortices were not a concern. In other words, option 3 would require the development of many technologies not related to wake vortices to al- low aircraft to operate on closely spaced parallel run- ways in IMC. Since these other technologies seem un- likely to become operational in the near term, it may be more worthwhile to pursue research that supports op- tions 1 and 2, above. Finding: Wake Vortex Avoiclance System. NASA has been a leading organization with world-class researchers working in this area, and the WakeVAS task builds on the results of previous NASA re- search, such as the Aircraft Vortex Spacing System. However, the limited scope of WakeVAS may re- duce its payoff. Recommendation: NASA/FAA Wake Vortex Avoidance System Coordination. NASA's wake vor- tex research plans should do the following: Describe how WakeVAS research fits into the total context of wake vortex research by NASA and the FAA (e.g., wake vortex detec- tion and avoidance, displays, and reducing wake at the source). Take into account the need for separation technology unrelated to wake vortices to al- low aircraft to operate in close proximity to each other in instrument meteorological con- tIitions. Consider the merit of wake vertex research to (1) predict the position of wake vortices produced by a given aircraft in real time and (2) detect the position of wake vortices using an airborne system. Airspace Operations Systems Pro ject Background Safely achieving long-term goals for mobility and capacity of the air transportation system may require complex, highly automated tools, technologies, and operational procedures. Careful consideration of hu- man capabilities throughout the research and develop- ment process is necessary to minimize the cognitive, perceptual, and physiological workloads of future pi- lots and controllers. The AOS project intends to mini- mize human error and enhance the performance of the future air transportation system by improving the de- sign of human-centered automation and interfaces, de- cision-support tools, training protocols, team practices, and organizational procedures. Areas of particular in- terest include the following: Computational models for optimizing operator sensory-motor interactions with automated sys- tems, Collaboration among systems designers and human factors experts to identify, mitigate, anal or eliminate automation-related errors during the design phase, Mitigation and/or elimination of operator con- fusion about functions and modes of operation of automated systems, Improved understanding of how cognitive limi- tations combine with fatigue to cause human error, and Improved understanding of how risk and un- certainty affect team decision making. The AOS project supports 11 research tasks grouped in three subprojects: . Human-Automation Integration Research (HAIR) subproject Prototyping for Evaluation of Automation: Data Link Human Factors task Human Automation Theory (Degani) task Human Automation Theory (Meyer) task State Awareness and Prediction task Supervisory Control task System Design and Analysis/Design of Displays and Procedures task Psychological and Physiological Stressors and Factors (PPSF) subproject

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM Perceptual Models and Metrics task Cognitive Models and Metrics task Physiological Factors task Human Error Countermeasures (HEC) sub- project Fatigue Countermeasures task Managing Risk and Uncertainty in Team Decision Making task . NASA Ames has the lead for all AOS research. .-, Portfolio AOS human factors research provides a useful knowledge base that applies to many operational con- cepts where humans are in the loop. NASA has been a worldwide leader in aviation human factors and has contributed significantly to national achievements in . . space anc aviation. Many AOS research tasks are focused on develop- ing principles, formal methods, and tools for evaluat- ing human interaction with advanced automation tech- nologies and systems. These tasks can best be described as advancing the state of the art in aviation human fac- tors research rather than meeting specific user require- ments. Research results typically take the form of pub- lished articles and presentations at technical conferences. However, some of the research for ex- ample, the Design of Displays and Procedures task and research into spatial reasoning and ATC communica- tions by the Cognitive Models and Metrics task has found applications in cockpit data link and display de- signs that are being used by a large airframe manufac- turer. Also, some of the research findings have been used by airlines (to improve the safety of operations) and avionics manufacturers (to support product devel- opment). The research is primarily conducted in-house, which the committee believes is appropriate given the nature of the work and the expertise of NASA's scien- tists. Researchers work cooperatively with air traffic controllers, pilots, airline operations center personnel, industry, and universities. Finding: Balance of the Airspace Operations Systems Project. Unlike most of the elements of NASA's Aero- nautics Technology Programs, much of the AOS project's human factors research is basic in nature. Recommendation: Balance of the Airspace Opera- 67 tions Systems Project. The AOS project should place more emphasis on the development of precise guidelines, specifications, and tools that can be used to support product design and implementation. Program Plan The AOS program plan seems to be well developed and specified, with clearly defined goals, objectives, and metrics and a good roadmap for reaching those goals and objectives. For some program elements, research is focused on advancing science and not on supporting near-term FAA requirements or goals. Program deliverables consist primarily of journal articles, re- search papers, and professional presentations. The util- ity of the AOS project would be enhanced by (1) estab- lishing closer ties to other programs at DoD and NASA (including other projects within the Airspace Systems Program), (2) improving coordination among the three AOS subprojects, and (3) coupling project objectives more closely to the goals of the Aeronautics Technology Program. This would also provide a more compelling justification for continued funding of the AOS project' s valuable basic research into human factors. This is espe- cially true for PPSF research, which is more basic than the rest of the AOS research portfolio. The investment in AOS human factors research has been very modest; the budget for many tasks is less than $100,000 per year. The modest funding of some tasks limits their ability to contribute to Airspace Sys- tems Program objectives. Many research tasks require additional resources to support research related to tech- nology validation, technology transition, team decision making, distributed performance, and multicultural aviation human factors issues. Finding: Funding for the Airspace Operations Sys- tems Project. The biggest challenge to program planning and execution is uncertainty over current and future funding for many tasks, particularly to support validation and transition activities and to assess key neglected areas for example, team deci- sion making and cross-cultural issues, tower head- mounted display issues, and the effects of acute stress on flight crew performance. Recommendation: Funding for the Airspace Opera- tions Systems Project. NASA should couple the ob- jectives of AOS applied research more closely to Aeronautics Technology Program goals to provide

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68 a more compelling justification for continued fund- ing and should include AOS basic research in a new aeronautics base research program. Technica/ Performance The AOS project has had a good track record over the last few years, as measured by research results used by industry and/or published in the open literature. AOS facilities are world-class, and AOS research staff seem to be highly declicated, experienced, and motivated. Most principal investigators have many years- of experience in their respective areas, and the project has some of the leacling researchers in the world in various areas of hu- man factors. NASA has established a worldwide, first- class reputation for aviation and space human factors, although that has been threatened in recent years by the departure of many senior human factors researchers from the Aviation Safety Program. The continued success of the AOS project requires that NASA continue to attract and retain top-level scientists. User Connections It seems that some AOS research is driven by the interests and/or the experience of individual research- ers. Another approach would be to integrate some AOS research with the AATT, YAMS, and SATS projects to, for example, produce human factors design guides. Finding: User Connections to the Airspace Opera- tions Systems Project. Some research tasks have a weak user focus in that they are not closely tied to user requirements. Recommendation: User Connections to the Air- space Operations Systems Project. The AOS pro- gram should have more user involvement and es- tablish formal mechanisms (e.g., Research Transition Plans) for transitioning research find- ings into NASA product and tool development. Finding: Coordination of Research by the Airspace Operations Systems Project. The AOS project does not have an integrated plan that explains how the AOS research tasks are organize`] and work to- gether to achieve the overall objectives of the Air- space Systems Program. AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONAUTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS Recommendation: Coordination of Research by the Airspace Operations Systems Project. The AOS project should make a more concentrated effort to coordinate applied research by each AOS sub- project with related research by the other projects included in the Airspace Systems Program (Ad- vanced Air Transportation Technologies, Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation, and the Small Aircraft Transportation System). Assessment by Subyroject Human Automation Integration Research Subproject HAIR is developing cognitive models for analyz- ing and predicting human performance in complex aerospace systems. The goal is to predict workload and human error more accurately, reduce design time, and minimize design-induced errors. HAIR research is car- ried out using analytical and laboratory studies coupled with computational modeling and field surveys. The luxury of employing full motion simulation was rarely available because of limited resources. One HAIR task is developing a model to predict the impact of display design on the workload and situ- ation awareness. This will be a useful tool, especially when it is made available to academia, industry, DoD, and the FAA. It is not clear whether Boeing, Airbus, and other aircraft and avionics manufactures have simi- lar models. In any case, models that belong to the pri- vate sector are likely to be proprietary and closed to other users. Some HAIR research, which is focused on devel- oping formal mathematical methods to verify the ad- equacy of the human-machine interface, is basic and very pertinent. It will help to reveal safety inadequa- cies, if any, of automation. The committee agrees with NASA that this effort would be a success if the FAA were ultimately to use these concepts in regulatory materials and certification criteria. The supervisory control task under HAIR focuses on developing computational architectures that can rep- resent human capabilities and limitations. It is focused on advancing science and is not tied directly to achiev- ing ASP objectives. One tool being developed by HAIR can rapidly apply known characteristics of human per- formance to evaluating the performance of candidate systems. NASA claims that the tool has been used re- cently to reduce by at least a factor of 10 the time re-

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ASSESSMENT OF THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROGRAM quired to model human-system interactions. This would significantly reduce the cost to airframe manu- facturers, avionics manufacturers, and system integra- tors of assessing the impact of advanced control and display concepts and automation schemes. It is ex- pected that the tool will benefit ASP in the long term. Development of a tool that provides software instantiation of display layout guidelines would sup- port the design of advanced controls. :\ ~ Psychological and Physiological Stressors and Factors Subproject PPSF research is developing perceptual, cognitive, and physiological computational models and tools to enable designers of aviation systems and high-fidelity displays to predict, assess, and enhance human perfor- mance. This subproject contains three tasks: Perceptual Models and Metrics Cognitive Models and Metrics Physiological Factors The Perceptual Models and Metrics task is focused on developing new methods, computational models, and metrics that will enable the optimization of opera- tor (pilot and controller) sensory-motor interactions with display and controls to enhance the safety and capacity of the NAS. This task has eight subtasks, one of which is developing auditory displays that could be used to prioritize and spatially segregate auditory in- formation. NASA has made significant advances in three-dimensional audio displays, which might ulti- mately be used to assess controller situational aware- ness and workload as part of the DAG-TM subproject of the AATT project. The Cognitive Models and Metrics task is support- ing basic research to better understand fundamental human performance limitations and how they lead to error. This requires improving the understanding of the human cognitive resources, which would facilitate the development of error-tolerant systems and improved training curricula. This task, which has resulted in the publication of more than 40 peer-reviewed articles, in- cludes research on spatial reasoning and ATC commu- nications to reduce miscommunication between flight crews and air traffic controllers. The goal of the Physiological Factors task is to develop tools and procedures to predict cognitive fa- 69 tigue, which can lead to lapses in situational aware- ness. The research is trying to define an integrated measure of brain, heart, and autonomic nervous system activity that will lead to a reliable, noninvasive tech- nique to predict cognitive fatigue. The ultimate objec- tive is to allow operators to take appropriate counter- measures before their performance suffers. It is primarily an analytic study, focused more on advanc- ing science than on solving any particular problem. The task was initiated in 2000 with very modest funding. In the past 3 years this research effort has not led to imple- mentation guidelines, but it shows future promise for providing tools and methods for assessing human per- formance and reducing the occurrence of human errors due to fatigue or loss of situational awareness. The ultimate value of tools developed by the Physi- ological Factors task will be determined by their ability to support the design of flight decks, controller stations, simulations, training systems, and crew procedures. AOS research is supported by researchers who are definitely leaders in their fields. For example, Cogni- tive Models and Metrics researchers have strong ties to academia and the user community, including airlines and the FAA. The Cognitive Models and Metrics task shows promise; it is going in the right direction and should continue. The results of Cognitive Models and Metrics research have been employed by many users. ATC pro- cedures at two airports were changed based on this re- search, resulting in significant operational improve- ments, and two major airlines have also used the results of this research to improve performance. Finding: Coordination of the Airspace Operations Systems Project with the Small Aircraft Transpor- tation System and Advanced Air Transportation Technologies Projects. The AOS Physiological Fac- tors task is not well integrated with the SATS and AATT projects. Recommendation: Coordination of the Airspace Operations Systems Project with the Small Aircraft Transportation System and Advanced Air Trans- portation Technologies Projects. NASA should in- tegrate research by the Physiological Factors task with the SATS project and, separately, with the AATT project. Such integration would allow the Physiological Factors task to obtain empirical data under more realistic conditions; analysis of these

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70 data by the Physiological Factors task would ben- efit the SATS and AATT projects by providing ad- ditional information to validate their system con- cepts. Human Error Countermeasures Subproject AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S AERONA UTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS HEC research is developing training protocols, operational procedures, and technologies to help pilots manage concurrent tasks, improve the quality of deci- sion making, overcome the effects of fatigue and dis- ruption of the circadian rhythm, and facilitate accurate pilot-controller communications during flight-critical operations. More so than other AOS research, HEC research is concerned with enhancing the safety and operational efficiency of the airspace system. To be of significant use, research results must be able to predict the safety and operational impacts of new hardware and software during the design process. The Fatigue Countermeasures task is focused on developing techniques and tools for assessing fatigue during long flights and other work assignments and on mitigating the consequences of fatigue. This work is also relevant to the space industry. The research in- cludes a combination of analytical and laboratory stud- ies, coupled with simulation and field studies. Much of it is conducted in collaboration with researchers from universities and airlines. The Managing Risk and Uncertainty in Team De- cision Making task is an attempt to understand the fac- tors that influence decisions made by the pilots under dynamic, high-stress conditions. The results of the re- search will be used to develop training guidelines and training programs for pilots and crews. Like the PPSF subproject, HEC research on managing risk and uncer- tainty would benefit from integration with the AATT and SATS projects. Human Error Countermeasures research is the most operational of the three AOS subprojects and could be immediately useful to end users. The success of this subproject will require that industry accept the guide- lines it develops and incorporate them in cockpit de- signs, simulations, and training systems. Finding: Coordination between the Airspace Op- erations Systems Project and Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Project. Human Error and Countermeasures research on managing risk and uncertainty does not focus adequately on dis- tributed team performance issues in coordination with research by the Virtual Airspace Simulation Technologies task, which is part of the VAMS project. Recommendation: Coordination between the Air- space Operations Systems Project and Virtual Air- space Modeling and Simulation Project. NASA should integrate research by the Managing Risk and Uncertainty in the Team Decision Making task with VAMS research.