3
Review of Safety Research Objectives

Based on the process of research prioritization described in Chapter 2, NASA’s aviation safety-related research programs are intended to align with the following six overarching, NASA-identified safety research concerns:

  • New Operations,

  • Flight In or Around Hazardous Conditions,

  • Loss of Control,

  • Durable Aircraft Structures and Systems,

  • On-Board System Failures and Faults, and

  • Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety.

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, these six research concerns received varying levels of Aviation Safety Program funding, as shown in Figure 3.1. Approximately half (49 percent) of the $60.1 million program budget goes to research addressing two concerns: (1) On-Board System Failures and Faults and (2) Loss of Control. The Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) and Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control (IRAC) projects contain most of this work. The IVHM project also houses the research conducted for Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety, which was 6 percent of the FY 2010 budget. The other three safety-related concerns, mostly covered by the Aircraft Aging and Durability (AAD) and Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck (IIFD) projects, receive 39 percent of program funds, while the remainder (6 percent) goes to program management. Budgeted totals for FY 2010 to FY 2014 (Table 3.1) show little change in the allocations across research projects.

Commensurate with the committee’s statement of task, the research covering each of the six research concerns is examined with regard to (1) defining and prioritizing the research objectives, (2) resource allocation, (3) coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other relevant federal agencies and private entities, and (4) transitioning the research results from the programs into operational technologies and procedures and certification activities in a timely manner. The committee also attempted to review the safety-related research in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program and the Airspace Systems Program with regard to these four elements, although the documents and presentations reviewed by the committee lacked sufficient detail to enable as thorough an assessment. To answer these questions, the committee received numerous briefings from NASA and consulted the technical plans of the Aviation Safety Program’s four main research projects, each of which addresses one or two of the six research concerns.



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3 Review of Safety Research Objectives Based on the process of research prioritization described in Chapter 2, NASA’s aviation safety-related research programs are intended to align with the following six overarching, NASA-identified safety research concerns: • New Operations, • Flight In or Around Hazardous Conditions, • Loss of Control, • Durable Aircraft Structures and Systems, • On-Board System Failures and Faults, and • Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety. In fiscal year (Fy) 2010, these six research concerns received varying levels of Aviation Safety Program fund - ing, as shown in Figure 3.1. Approximately half (49 percent) of the $60.1 million program budget goes to research addressing two concerns: (1) On-Board System Failures and Faults and (2) Loss of Control. The Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) and Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control (IRAC) projects contain most of this work. The IVHM project also houses the research conducted for Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety, which was 6 percent of the Fy 2010 budget. The other three safety-related concerns, mostly covered by the Aircraft Aging and Durability (AAD) and Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck (IIFD) projects, receive 39 percent of program funds, while the remainder (6 percent) goes to program management. Budgeted totals for Fy 2010 to Fy 2014 (Table 3.1) show little change in the allocations across research projects. Commensurate with the committee’s statement of task, the research covering each of the six research con - cerns is examined with regard to (1) defining and prioritizing the research objectives, (2) resource allocation, (3) coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other relevant federal agencies and private entities, and (4) transitioning the research results from the programs into operational technologies and procedures and certification activities in a timely manner. The committee also attempted to review the safety-related research in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program and the Airspace Systems Program with regard to these four elements, although the documents and presentations reviewed by the committee lacked sufficient detail to enable as thorough an assessment. To answer these questions, the committee received numerous briefings from NASA and consulted the technical plans of the Aviation Safety Program’s four main research projects, each of which addresses one or two of the six research concerns. 2

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22 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety 6% Project Management 6% On-board System Failures and Faults 28% New Operations 10% Flight in or around Hazardous Conditions 10% Durable Aircraft Structures and Systems Loss of Control 19% 21% FIGURE 3.1 Fiscal year 2010 budget allocation by safety research concerns, Aviation Safety Program. SOURCE: Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Aviation Safety Program: Technical Overview,” presentation to the com - Figure 3-1 mittee, June 23, 2009. R01778 vector editable TABLE 3.1 Aviation Safety Program 5-year Budget, Fy 2010 to Fy 2014 Millions of dollars Fy 2010 Fy 2011 Fy 2012 Fy 2013 Fy 2014 Aviation Safety Program Totals 60.1 59.6 59.2 61.7 62.5 Aircraft Aging and Durability 11.4 11.2 11.7 12.1 12.1 Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck 12.5 13.3 11.6 12.6 13.3 Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control 16.4 17.0 17.6 18.2 18.2 Integrated Vehicle Health Management 19.8 18.2 18.3 18.9 18.9 SOURCE: Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Safety-Related Research in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Direc- torate: Introduction to ARMD’s Organization and Programmatic Overview,” presentation to the committee, June 23, 2009.

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2 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES NEW OPERATIONS NASA cites the following safety challenges from the 2007 National Plan for Aeronautics Research and Development and Related Infrastructure (referred to as the “National Plan”),1 as providing support for its research on New Operations: • Rapidly and safely incorporating technological advances in avionics into aircraft; • Understanding the key parameters of human performance in aviation to support the human contribution to safety; and, • Ensuring safe operations for the complex mix of vehicles anticipated in the airspace system enabled by NextGen. In addition, the agency cited 13 research and technology (R&T) safety challenges from the Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics2 as being relevant to NASA’s objectives in new operations research (see Appendix E, Table E.1). As a more general rationale for its work in this research concern, the agency pointed to its longstanding expertise in the study of future complex human-machine systems and operational concepts. NASA also believes it is particularly well suited for pursuing safety solutions in a more integrated manner, considering the roles and effects of new technology, procedures, human performance, and training. Defining and Prioritizing Research Objectives Most of the Aviation Safety Program’s research on New Operations is mapped to the work in the IIFD project. This research is intended to support • Robust, collaborative work environments; • Effective robust automation-human systems; and • Information management and portrayal for effective decision making. NASA explained that these three objectives fit well within the Aviation Safety Program’s mission to identify and design out the underlying causes of poor human and technology performance. To address these objectives, the IIFD research plan outlines four levels of research that will lead, at the highest level, to the development of flight deck systems that can improve safety. NASA argues that this will require foundational research on operator char- acterization and modeling, sensing, signal processing and hazard characterization, multimodal interfaces (which provide multiple modes of usage), and information interaction modeling, feeding into discipline-specific research on operator performance, enabling avionics, and design tools. Moving up another level, this research feeds into an understanding of robust human-automation systems and display and decision support. The committee believes these research objectives are relevant to New Operations safety and that the individual research activities are generally responsive to the objectives. However, whether the research is sufficiently broad and how the research was programmed and prioritized within the objectives is less clear. For instance, one might have expected to find more work on novel vehicle configurations, such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the design of which may have safety implications.3 With respect to the objective of supporting robust collaborative work environments, the committee was briefed on research being undertaken to develop a model-based design and evaluation tool for multiagent situation awareness. This particular work appears to be well suited to this objective; however, when looking across the IIFD project, there is little evidence of much other comparable work. 1 National Science and Technology Council, National Plan for Aeronautics Research and Development and Related Infrastructure, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, Washington, D.C., December 2007, available at http://www.aeronautics. nasa.gov/releases/aero_rd_plan_final_21_dec_2007.pdf. 2 National Research Council, Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics: Foundation for the Future, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2006. 3 Note that the president’s fiscal year 2011 budget includes funding for safety research on Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

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2 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY With respect to research in support of robust human-automation systems, the committee observes a great deal of relevant work under way. In the case of the third objective—to support information management and portrayal—much of the work centers on information portrayal and less on information management. 4 While this third objective is appropriate, it implies a broader scope of work than information portrayal. One might expect, for instance, to find more research in areas such as algorithm development for integrating and fusing data. More generally, the committee observes that there is a great deal of emphasis on the flight decks and interac - tions between pilots and on-board systems. Relatively little work applies to the performance of and interactions among people in other areas, such as air traffic control, maintenance, and airline operation centers, and with respect to ground-based automation. It is a failing on NASA’s part that the research does not support joint situ - ational awareness for the different roles within the system. In addition, the research tends to be oriented toward existing rather than emerging flight-deck automation. One would expect that research on New Operations would also consider novel vehicle configurations and the implications of their design on safety. These gaps imply a need for more collaboration with other Aviation Safety Program projects, especially Loss of Control (in IRAC), as well as ARMD’s Airspace Systems Program and Fundamental Aeronautics Program. Resource Allocation Each of the New Operations research objectives receives varying levels of funding, as shown in Figure 3.2. In Fy 2010, research pertaining to the objective of information management and portrayal received nearly half (48 percent) of the funds allocated for research on New Operations. One-third of the funds (33 percent) went to research in support of effective robust human-automation systems, and the remainder (19 percent) went to research on robust, collaborative work environments.5 Whether this is an appropriate division of resources is difficult to judge. The committee questions why more research is not being undertaken on information management and processing since nearly half of New Operations research funding goes to the information management and portrayal objective. Coordination with the FAA and Others NASA indicated that the relevant agencies for coordinating research in this area are the FAA, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) (as well as consultation with the National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB]). It appears the research is coordinated well with the FAA and JPDO and that there are many positive interactions taking place among FAA and NASA human factors researchers. Indeed, FAA- sponsored work may be as important to the New Operations objectives as some of the work sponsored internally by NASA (for example, the FAA’s single-pilot workload study); hence, such collaboration is critical. The committee notes that formal mechanisms for collaboration exist across all of the cited organizations, and finds this to be a strength of the research program. However, inasmuch as the primary focus of the work is the flight deck, this may limit opportunities for DOD collaboration in New Operations areas such as UAS. Research Transition NASA pointed to its participation on a number of government and industry committees pertinent to New Operations research. The Flight Deck Research Working Group (FDR WG), a joint effort of NASA and industry, is an example of one such effort. The agency also cited its use of Space Act agreements to partner with private companies, such as Boeing, to conduct research and transition the results to practice. Among the cited criteria 4 The committee notes, for instance, that in Table 4-6 of the Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck (IIFD) Technologies Technical Plan only 3 of 10 projects (forward-looking remote sensing, imaging processing, and methods for exploiting cross-modality info transfer) focus on process - ing of information, and this is one of the few IIFD tables where information processing would be expected. See NASA, Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck Technologies Technical Plan Summary (FY2009 – FY20), Aviation Safety Program, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, NASA, Washington, D.C., March 13, 2009, available at http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/nra_pdf/ iifd_tech_plan_2009.pdf, Table 4-6, p. 36. 5 Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 1: New Operations,” presentation to the committee, Sep - tember 3, 2009, p. 20.

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2 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES FY 2009 FY 2010 19% Robust collaborative work 18% environments 48% 43% Effective, robust human- automation systems Information management and portrayal for effective decision making 33% 39% FIGURE 3.2 Research expenditures towards New Operations. SOURCE: Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 1: New Operations,” presentation to the committee, September 3, 2009. for successful transitioning of the research results are their use as the basis for regulation and the extent to which researchers contribute to the technical literature. Indeed, the committee finds that NASA researchers have been Figure 3-2 prolific in publishing articles and books for the research and operational communities. Much of this work has focused on human factors and flight-deck interfaces, R01778 traditional areas of NASA expertise. which are vector editable FLIgHT IN OR AROuND HAZARDOuS CONDITIONS The focus of this research concern is avoidance of hazardous conditions through sensing and portrayal of environmental hazards, as well as specific research on aircraft icing, including modeling and sensing of airframe and engine icing. The topic is consistent with the National Plan’s safety challenge to ensure safe operations for the complex mix of vehicles anticipated within NextGen. In briefings to the committee, NASA identified four safety challenges in the NRC Decadal Survey as relevant to the topic (see Appendix E, Table E.2). Commensurate with its mission to exploit its specialized expertise and assets, NASA noted that it has a well-respected workforce with significant experience in icing research (e.g., Glenn Research Center Icing Branch). Defining and Prioritizing Research Objectives NASA’s research into this area is split across the IIFD and IRAC projects, with additional work being done in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. Researchers are investigating new airborne sensing and alerting systems that extend the performance limits of weather radar technology and out-the-window human observations. This involves exploring forward-looking sensing methods, image processing, feature extraction, hazard characterization, and remote icing sensing, especially in conditions known as high ice water content (HIWC) conditions. Researchers are aiming for high-integrity detection of terminal area hazards, including objects on the runway, wake vortices, traffic, vertical obstructions, and terrain. The committee determined that the specific research being conducted within this research concern appears to be appropriate, although the committee did not see any particular basis for NASA’s prioritization of the research beyond a general inference based on its resource allocation. NASA and the committee recognize that improved airborne hazard detection and alerting continue to be a major safety need. Precise hazard detection and forecast - ing are expected to be important in NextGen, which should involve more deliberate and precise operations near hazardous conditions, thus requiring better sensing of and guidance near such conditions. Better sensing can also lead to capacity improvements; currently, a major capacity limitation in the system is wake turbulence-based spac -

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26 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY ing. Research into better wake sensing offers the possibility of safely improving airport capacity by reducing the time between takeoffs or landings on individual and closely spaced parallel runways. NASA also recognizes the continuing hazards from in-flight icing for all aircraft classes and perceives a focused need for understanding fundamental issues in HIWC for turbine aircraft and a need for a fundamental examination of rotorcraft icing. NASA is particularly well situated to lead a national effort in this area through in-house expertise, funding strategic computational tool development, and partnering with industry for validation data. NASA has a historical strength in icing research; this area represents one of several key nodes of high-quality research in which NASA leads the nation and world. HIWC is a recently identified hazard in deep convection and has been related to more than 100 power-loss events in turbine-powered aircraft. The meteorology and physical mechanisms that cause these events are weakly understood. NASA has been working closely with industry and other international research organizations to diag - nose and understand HIWC hazards. Rotorcraft are increasingly being used in all weather operations and have complex behavior in icing due to the variations in icing behavior between the rotating and non-rotating components as well as the potential for imbal - ance and extreme vibration dynamics of ice accretion and potential vibrations due to asymmetric ice accretion or shedding. While much of the prior industry research was focused on the topic of de-icing, there is now an emerging interest in the root causes and fundamental issues associated with ice formation and shedding. From an organizational standpoint, it was not entirely clear to the committee why research into rotorcraft icing is separate from other icing research and a part of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program as opposed to the Aviation Safety Program. The committee did not see this organization as particularly problematic, but no specific rationale was given to explain it to the committee. Resource Allocation Figure 3.3 shows NASA’s research expenditures toward Hazardous Conditions split between sensing and portraying environmental hazards and modeling and sensing airframe and engine icing and icing conditions. Altogether, research into Fight In or Around Hazardous Conditions represented around 9 percent of the Aviation Safety Program budget in both Fy 2009 and Fy 2010.6 Recognizing that NASA has chosen to focus on sensing and icing conditions, within this context the commit - tee finds no basis to question this allocation of resources, including the Fy 2010 increased emphasis on airframe and engine icing. However, the committee notes a concern regarding the availability of the Icing Research Tunnel at NASA Glenn Research Center. This facility, one of the largest refrigerated wind tunnels that duplicates natural icing conditions, is a critical resource for the government and industry but appears to be less available for use by NASA, which may impact the agency’s research in this area. Coordination with the FAA and Others NASA briefed the committee on two key forms of research coordination—the HIWC team’s partners and NASA’s involvement with the Aircraft Icing Research Alliance (AIRA). The HIWC team partners with a variety of groups, including the FAA, whose focus is propulsion icing in HIWC environments; the Canadian National Research Council, to improve measurement capabilities in these conditions; and the Australian Bureau of Meteorol- ogy, to improve understanding of certain conditions that have led to engine power-loss events. The purpose of the AIRA is to coordinate collaborative aircraft icing research activities that could improve operations in icing condi - tions. The alliance is made up of many partners, including NASA, the FAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environment Canada, Transport Canada, the Canadian National Research Council, and the U.K. Defense Science and Technology Laboratory. Overall, the committee was particularly impressed by the integration and collaboration of research conducted 6 Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 2: Flight In or Around Hazardous Conditions,” presentation to the committee, September 3, 2009, p. 16.

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2 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES FY 2010 FY 2009 52% 42% 58% 48% Sensing and por traying environmental hazards Modeling and sensing airframe and engine icing and icing conditions FIGURE 3.3 Research expenditures towards Flight In or Around Hazardous Conditions. SOURCE: Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 2: Flight In or Around Hazardous Conditions,” presentation to the com - mittee, September 3, 2009. Figure 3-3 on HIWC conditions. This level of collaboration could be viewed as a prime model of how NASA can keep its R01778 research relevant to the needs of other entities within the National Airspace System. NASA’s involvement with vector editable AIRA, which also includes coordination of HIWC research, is also a strong mechanism to ensure that NASA’s research in icing is properly coordinated with other relevant entities. Research Transition NASA pointed to several Space Act agreements with companies, such as Boeing and Goodrich, and the number of users of its LEWICE (Lewis ICE accretion program) software to demonstrate its ability to transition the results of its research in hazardous conditions. LEWICE codes are the industry standard for ice accretion simulation, and the software is used by hundreds in the aeronautics community. As with its research into New Operations, NASA’s membership in several industry/government working groups, such as the FDR WG, enables partnerships that help align NASA’s research in this area with the system users. Additionally, the committee was impressed with the large number of references and citations to NASA’s icing research from researchers external to NASA. LOSS OF CONTROL As shown in Figure 3.4, loss of control is the most significant cause of fatal crashes by commercial jets world - wide and is a problem NASA believes may be exacerbated by future aircraft with different handling qualities and dynamics in upset conditions. As further support for focusing on Loss of Control as a safety research concern, NASA pointed to several safety challenges in the National Plan that are relevant, including the following: • Stabilizing and maneuvering next-generation aircraft in response to safety issues in the NextGen airspace, • Rapidly and safely incorporating advances in avionics, • Understanding and predicting system-wide safety concerns of the airspace system and the vehicles envisioned by NextGen, and • Understanding the key parameters of human performance in aviation.

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2 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY 2200 ARC Abnor mal Runway Contact CFIT Controlled Flight Into or Toward Terrain External fatalities [Total 253] 1926 (65) F-NI Fire/Smoke (Non-Impact) 2000 FUEL Fuel Related Onboard fatalities [Total 4717] LOC-G Loss of Control – Ground LOC-I Loss of Control – In flight 1800 MAC Midair/Near Midair Collision OTHR Other RAMP Ground Handling RE Runway Excursion 1600 RI-VAP Runway Incursion – Vehicle, Aircraft or Person SCF-NP System/Component Failure or Malfunction (Non-Powerplant) SCF-PP System/Component Failure or Malfunction (Powerplant) 1400 UNK Unknown or Undeter mined USOS Undershoot/Overshoot WSTRW Windshear or Thunderstorm 1200 No accidents were noted in the following principal categories: ADRM Aerodrome AMAN Abrupt Maneuver Fatalities 961 (0) 1000 ATM Air Traffic Management/Communi cations, Navigation, Surveillance CABIN Cabin Safety Events EVAC Evacuation F-POST Fire/Smoke (Post-Impact) 800 GCOL Ground Collision Onboard fatalities ICE Icing LALT Low Altitude Operations External fatalities RI-A Runway Incursion – Animal 600 SEC Security Related 408 (23) TURB Turbulence Encounter 426 (4) For a complete description go to: 400 http://www.intlaviationstandards.org/ 156 (69) 146 (69) 193 (10) 200 125 (0) 120 (0) 123 (3) 107 (1) 23 (0) 0 (7) 2 (2) 1 (0) 0 LOC- I CFIT RE- SCF- NP MA C RE- RI-VAP OTHR LOC- G UNK WSTRW FUEL RAMP SCF-PP F-NI Landing + Takeof f ARC + Number of USOS fatal accidents (91 total) 22 17 15 5 2 4 4 5 1 2 2 1 3 1 7 Note: Principal categories as assigned by CAST. FIGURE 3.4 Fatal accidents by worldwide commercial jet fleet, 1999-2008, categorized by occurrence categories by the com - mon taxonomy team of CAST/ICAO (CICTT). NOTE: The accident list is developed from the FAA, ICAO, and IATA statistics and reports. It covers worldwide Part 121 (and equivalent) jet operations (not turboprops). Each accident is assigned a single CICTT cause category. SOURCE: Boeing, Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents: Worldwide Operations, 1959-2008, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, http://www.boeing.com/news/techissues/pdf/statsum.pdf, July 2009. Figure 3-4 R01778 vector editable NASA cited five relevant R&T challenges having high safety priority as identified in the NRC Decadal Survey (see Appendix E, Table E.3). Defining and Prioritizing Research Objectives NASA’s research on Loss of Control is handled primarily in the Aviation Safety Program’s IRAC project. According to IRAC’s technical plan, this research seeks to arrive at a set of validated, multidisciplinary, and inte - grated aircraft control design tools and techniques that will advance the state of flight control to provide resilience for safe flight in the presence of adverse conditions.7 This plan emphasizes that most of the challenges addressed are general in nature and thus applicable to a large class of aviation vehicles. The IRAC project is expected to advance understanding of the dynamics involved in loss of control, yielding an improved understanding, charac - terization, and prediction of conditions that threaten aircraft flight safety. The research is also intended to increase survivability and improve vehicle handling qualities under adverse conditions. 7 See NASA, Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control Technical Plan, Aviation Safety Program, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, NASA, Washington, D.C., May 1, 2009, available at http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/nra_pdf/irac_tech_plan_c1.pdf.

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29 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES The IRAC project is intended to be supportive of • Avoidance of conditions conducive to loss of control, • Detection of onset of loss of control, and • Recovery from loss of control. NASA explained that these three objectives fit well within the Aviation Safety Program’s mission and that the agency has longstanding expertise in modeling flight dynamics, control theory, and flight validation of flight control mechanisms. The committee concurs with both the need for NASA research on Loss of Control and the stated research objectives. The committee believes that the objectives themselves are well defined. Of concern, however, is that the types of loss of control cases being addressed by NASA do not appear to comprehensively address the class of problems being experienced in civil aviation. NASA does not provide a strong rationale for its interest in the loss-of-control problems being researched. In addition, the program of research gives limited attention to human factors and novel automation aids. As indicated by Figure 3.4, loss of control is a major cause of aviation fatalities in the commercial sector. Many government and industry safety enhancement efforts have been introduced to address the problem, but with limited success. The committee concurs with NASA’s assessment that this problem may be exacerbated in the future for various reasons, including the following: • Airplane design for fuel efficiency that has led to less inherently stable aircraft (e.g., by shifting weight aft), which requires precise and timely control inputs by pilots or automation; • Increasing aircraft automation to alleviate pilot workload and to minimize crew complement and reduce variability, which has reduced pilot situation awareness during all points in the flight; and • Numerous observations (e.g., NTSB reports) that basic pilot skills have degraded over time, leading to an increased risk of loss of control during manually piloted flight. To be sure, automation systems have improved aircraft-handling qualities and have produced safety benefits for commercial aviation, but automation has also introduced new safety challenges. The systems must be improved, both to reengage the pilot and to further provide assistance in high-workload situations that risk loss of control. The committee observes that in the IRAC work a great deal of emphasis is being placed on automation by advanc - ing the state of the art of adaptive control as a design option to provide enhanced stability and maneuverability margins. Adaptive control refers to flight systems that can adapt and respond to rapidly changing conditions. Adaptive control as it functions in the presence of damage has been a popular topic of research in flight control design for aircraft safety and is one of the R&T challenges identified in the NRC Decadal Survey. yet, whereas adaptive control has demonstrated recovery from loss of control in simulation and limited flight testing, it has not and will not be accepted until its behavior is better understood by pilots and deemed certifiable by the FAA for piloted aircraft. The committee found an excessive focus on adaptive control in NASA’s program and observed that the pro - gram does not recognize the importance of the interactions between the pilot and the automation as a significant cause of loss-of-control accidents. The adaptive control research does not adequately address the human element of control, nor does the adaptive control agenda foster the identification and development of alternative automation technologies that more broadly address loss-of-control challenges. As a general matter, human factors consider - ations do not appear to be sufficiently included in the Loss of Control research concern. NASA has traditionally had an important role in this area through its longstanding expertise in human factors and advanced flight control. This expertise, however, appears to have diminished. As noted in the discussion earlier, the committee is also unclear about the level of collaboration among researchers addressing Loss of Control and New Operations safety. Both safety concerns entail automation and human factors challenges, suggesting the importance of research collaboration.

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0 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY FY 2009 FY 2010 Avoidance of conditions conducive to loss of 24% 25% control (sensing and planning) Detection of onset of loss of control (sensors, aler ting, pilot 1% 1% awareness) Recover from loss of control (piloted recovery, automatic 74% 75% recovery) FIGURE 3.5 Research expenditures towards Loss of Control. SOURCE: Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Pro - gram, “Research Objective 3: Loss-of-Control,” presentation to the committee, September 3, 2009. Resource Allocation Research for Loss of Control accounted for around 24 percent of the Aviation Safety Program budget in Fy 2009 and 10 percent in Fy 2010.8 The three Loss of Control research objectives receive varying levels of fund- Figure 3-5 ing, as shown in Figure 3.5. The distribution of resources is heavily weighted to the third objective in support of R01778 recovery from loss of control. In Fy 2010, about 75 percent of the resources went to this objective, indicative of the project’s focus on adaptive control. Giving greater attention tole human element and automation technology vector editab the development beyond adaptive control would likely result in more resources being devoted to the objectives of avoiding conditions conducive to loss of control, detection of onset, and long-term assistance to the pilot in high- workload situations. The expense associated with flight testing adaptive control in full-scale flight test aircraft is substantial and may be taking resources away from these other objectives and from other plausible solutions to the loss-of-control problem. Coordination with the FAA and Others In briefings to the committee, NASA explained how it has coordinated its Loss of Control research with the FAA (through the Software and Digital Systems Safety Research Program), DOD, and industry (through the Joint Aircraft Survivability Program), as well as a number of North Atlantic Treaty Organization projects. Discussions with NASA presenters indicated to the committee that NASA is reevaluating and seeking to better coordinate its Loss of Control research efforts by consulting with other government agencies and industry. In particular, NASA has joined the CAST-led safety enhancement study associated with spatial disorientation and energy-state aware - ness. In the committee’s view, such external coordination, along with collaboration with researchers on New Opera - tions, is crucial to ensuring that research in this important area is programmed and executed well. In general, the committee observes that NASA’s Loss of Control efforts associated with IRAC are being sufficiently coordinated with the FAA and others and its nascent efforts to consider other aspects of Loss of Control are promising. 8Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 3: Loss-of-Control,” presentation to the committee, Sep - tember 3, 2009, p. 13.

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 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES Research Transition In briefings to the committee, NASA expressed significant concerns about transitioning adaptive control results into commercial airplanes. Mechanisms do not exist for transitioning adaptive control into use, which presents major FAA certification challenges. NASA explained that it is still trying to understand the issues associated with safety certification. In the committee’s view, an issue more fundamental than certification of adaptive control systems is the certification of non-deterministic software in general, a feature of several of the R&T challenges from the Decadal Survey (D14 and E1).9 Nondeterministic software is not limited to single, prescribed outputs and may have great potential use in flight control systems, but because the results of its use can vary, the FAA has yet to develop certification standards for this type of software. Understanding the issues associated with this broader, overarching challenge, and seeking solutions, is an area to which NASA may be able to contribute through its safety research programs. While certification challenges represent a significant obstacle to the use of adaptive control systems per se, NASA’s contribution to addressing these challenges can have significant benefits irrespec - tive of whether these control systems are furthered. DuRABLE AIRCRAFT STRuCTuRES AND SYSTEMS Most of NASA’s research on Durable Aircraft Structures and Systems is undertaken in the Aviation Safety Program’s AAD research project. The AAD technical plan states that the aging properties of aircraft must be understood in order to design durable systems and support effective inspection and maintenance. By tapping its significant experience in materials science, damage mechanics, and nondestructive inspection, NASA sees its role in terms of building the fundamental underlying knowledge in this area, with a longer-term, more theoretical basis than the more applied and near-term work of the FAA, the DOD, and industry. In briefings to the committee, NASA pointed to three materials and structures R&T challenges in the NRC Decadal Survey that were rated high for safety (see Appendix E, Table E.4), as well as several other materials and structures R&T challenges that were deemed important for efficiency, capacity, or security, as motivation for the AAD project. Defining and Prioritizing Research Objectives The two main objectives of the AAD research program are (1) to gain full fundamental knowledge of exist - ing, legacy aircraft and (2) to start on gaining knowledge about likely emerging materials and structures. To meet these objectives, AAD research activities are organized into three themes: Detect, Predict, and Mitigate. Research activities in each of these theme areas are listed in Box 3.1. Furthermore, the AAD project includes the following eight “challenge problems”: • Damage methodology for metallic airframe structures, • Structural integrity of integral metallic structures, • Durability and structural integrity of composite skin-stringer fuselage structure, • Durable bonded joints, • Durable engine fan containment structure, • Durability of engine superalloy disks, • Durability of engine hot section, and • Wiring degradation and faults. The committee believes challenge problems are an effective means of organizing and focusing the research, seemingly more useful than the three theme areas of Detect, Predict, and Mitigate. However, the research content of the AAD project is never presented in terms of the challenge problems; the research content and milestones are only presented in terms of the themes or in terms of a four-level approach to technology development (Foundational 9 See National Research Council, Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics: Foundation for the Future, The National Academies Press, Wash- ington, D.C., 2006, pp. 150-154.

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 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY FY 2009 FY 2010 10% 10% 14% 17% Integration Detection of system 12% anomalies and adverse 13% events Diagnosis of causal factors, assess severity of and distinguish adverse events Prognosis of remaining useful life 32% 29% Mitigation of impact of adverse effects to continue safe flight and landing 32% 31% FIGURE 3.7 Research expenditures towards On-Board System Failures and Faults. SOURCE: Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 5: On-Board System Failures and Faults,” presentation to the committee, Sep - tember 3, 2009. Research Transition Figure 3-7 R01778 NASA briefers did not give any evidence of any specific mechanisms or examples of technology transition vector editable in presentations to the committee. NASA did discuss several established partnerships with industry, such as with ExpressJet Airlines, a partnership that supports information sharing and continued use by NASA of engine per- formance data. However, the committee did not observe any significant transition activity within these partner- ships. Another established partnership cited by briefers in their transition plans is with Boeing for validation of LEWICE software, but this partnership better fits with NASA’s Hazardous Conditions research concern, so the merits of including it as part of the On-Board System Failures and Faults research concern were questionable to the committee. ANALYZINg COMPLEX SYSTEMS FOR SAFETY NASA’s interest in Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety encompasses (1) monitoring and predicting poten - tial safety issues from operational data, (2) validating system requirements for safety objectives, and (3) verifying that designs meet system safety requirements. NASA explained to the committee that its interest in monitoring and predicting safety issues derives from a general recognition of the complexity of the airspace system for safety analysis and from the vast amounts of information available from current flight operations that can aid in monitoring for potential safety issues. The agency also noted that it has a charter to administer the Aviation Safety Reporting System and a continuing role in developing methods and tools for furthering safety data analysis capabilities. The agency’s interest in verification and validation derives from concern that current safety assurance methods do not scale well to the complexity of current and potential future systems, resulting in costly analyses for innovative and novel designs such as those emerging from NextGen. The agency also noted that the JPDO has identified the gap in verification and validation (V&V) methods and tools for NextGen airspace and aircraft that NASA has accepted responsibility to fill. As an additional basis for pursuing these avenues of research, NASA cited 13 NRC Decadal Survey safety challenges (see Appendix E, Table E.6) and 5 of the National Plan’s challenges.

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9 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES Defining and Prioritizing Research Objectives Recent research on monitoring and predicting potential safety issues is being undertaken in the IVHM project, where research is seeking to develop probabilistic models of potential fault and failure modes and data mining algorithms for analyzing large heterogeneous data sources from the current fleet. NASA has agreements with two airlines—EasyJet and Southwest Airlines—to test the data-mining methods under development for fleet-wide anomaly detection. With respect to this research effort, the committee did not find a strong rationale for it in the IVHM plan. The committee suspects that obtaining and analyzing operational data in an environment lacking a standardized data collection system among operators will present significant challenges to such analytic efforts. Greater recognition of this challenge in the IVHM technical plan is warranted to ensure appropriate research objectives and approaches. It was not clear to the committee how the cited safety challenges from the Decadal Survey or the National Plan informed the research objectives within this research concern, and overall, the process NASA used to identify objectives was obscure. In addition, the committee was not presented with a rationale for the specific airlines NASA has formed agreements with and suspects that these airlines may be poorly suited as testers of this technology, given their somewhat atypical complement of aircraft compared to larger airlines. The selection of these airlines seems rather ad hoc to the committee, and the committee observed that NASA does not appear to have a systematic approach to engage with airlines to obtain the operational data that would be necessary for effective safety analysis in this research area. More recently, the agency, along with the JPDO, has recognized that validation of system requirements rela - tive to safety objectives and the verification that designs meet system safety requirements necessitate a focused approach. The JPDO’s integrated workplan calls for NASA to take the lead in this endeavor, and a focus area in V&V under the Aviation Safety Program of ARMD has been developed covering three research centers. The plan for executing the research objectives in this area was still under development when the committee met with NASA management and researchers. The committee observed that the plan is evolving in promising directions, although it notes some reservations. Research on fault detection, diagnosis, and classification is being performed with a high reliance on algorithms, and in doing so, the research is failing to utilize human capabilities in pattern recognition and the essential human role in data mining. Additionally, the objectives of the technical plan do not align with the objectives espoused in presentations made by researchers at the Aviation Safety Program’s November 2009 technical conference, raising concerns of a serious disconnect between the high-level goals in the technical plan and the objectives of the individual research activities. ARMD research activities on V&V remain in formulation and are expected to transcend the four main Aviation Safety Program research projects. V&V research is intended to meet the JPDO’s needs in support of NextGen: to demonstrate advanced methods to address new safety analysis assessment challenges relevant to the broader avia - tion community, to reduce barriers to innovation associated with safety V&V, and to develop V&V methods for safety throughout the entire life cycle. The committee considers this an important avenue of research for NASA to be engaged in, one that is meeting a specific need of JPDO and is not being pursued elsewhere. It is distinctly possible that V&V could become another of NASA’s key nodes of expertise and that NASA will lead the nation or world in high-quality research in this area. Overall, the committee viewed the objectives of NASA’s research in Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety as appropriate, but not well defined or prioritized. The committee suspects that these failings are due in large part to the ongoing development of a new technical plan and new research directions. The decision to begin work on V&V demonstrated to the committee that NASA’s research portfolio can be responsive to the specific needs of the broader aviation safety community. Resource Allocation Figure 3.8 shows NASA’s research expenditure toward Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety split into monitoring and predicting potential safety issues from operational data, validating system requirements, and verifying that designs meet safety requirements. Altogether, research in this area accounted for 7 percent of the

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0 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY FY 2009 FY 2010 ARRA 0% 25% 38% 43% 43% 56% 75% 6% 14% Ongoing monitoring (and prediction) of potential safety issues from operational data Validation of system requirements relative to safety objectives Verification that designs meet system safety requirements FIGURE 3.8 Research expenditures towards Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety. SOURCE: Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 6: Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety,” presentation to the com - mittee, September 3, 2009. Figure 3-8 Aviation Safety Program budget in Fy 2009 and 6 percent in Fy 2010.19 Funds from the American Recovery and R01778 Reinvestment Act (ARRA) were also invested into this area. vector editable The committee has some concerns regarding the allocation of funds for research in this area. The ARRA funds were designated for exclusive use for V&V, and a large expenditure on this new area is appropriate in the committee’s view. However, this was not a lasting investment, and the overall funding for validation dipped rather significantly from 15 percent in 2009 to a mere 6 percent in 2010. Because of the highly variable funding, the com - mittee was unsure of NASA’s long-term commitment to V&V research, although this concern may be mitigated if the president’s Fy 2011 budget is adopted, since it commits $20 million per year for 5 years to V&V research. 20 The committee also observed that NASA Research Announcement (NRA) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts are being used to fill large expertise gaps in V&V at NASA. In general, NRAs are used by NASA to supplement its research activities, and recipients of these contracts “largely manage their own research projects with minimal oversight by the agency.”21 NASA uses SBIR contracts for the development of “a technology in response to a specific set of NASA mission driven needs.”22 The committee did not see any evidence that NASA was actively trying to grow its V&V core competency, which would be necessary for NASA to take the leadership research role required of it by the JPDO. 19 Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 6: Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety,” presentation to the committee, September 3, 2009, p. 9. 20 Jaiwon Shin, Associate Administrator, NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, “NASA Aeronautics Research,” presentation to the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, March 9, 2010, p. 7. 21 NASA, Guidebook for Proposers Responding to a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) or Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN), Wash- ington, D.C., January 2010, available at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/nraguidebook/proposer2010.pdf, p. 2. 22 See NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs Web site, “First Time Participants,” at http://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/SBIR/ftp_faq.html.

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 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES Coordination with the FAA and Others The committee observed many different activities for coordination in this area with the FAA, the JPDO, and various companies and universities. NASA is partnering with the other members of ASIAS to identify data-mining needs. Through an agreement with the FAA, NASA is also still in charge of maintaining the Aviation Safety Reporting System. More recent collaborations in this area include NASA’s attendance at various JPDO and other interagency meetings, the launching of the DASHlink Web site (a novel collaboration and communication tool for the FAA and industry, particularly for V&V), and NASA’s continued use of NRA and SBIR contracts. 23 The committee viewed this level of coordination as strong, although there is still opportunity for improvement, such as acquisition of expertise in V&V of complex systems or joint NASA/contractor work that would build NASA core competence. Research Transition NASA briefers pointed to four agreements, three of which are currently in development, as examples of its mechanisms to transition research results in this area: • EasyJet: Research, development, and deployment of data-mining algorithms to support fleet-wide opera - tional anomaly detection; • ONERA: Systematic verification and validation of data-mining algorithms on heterogeneous data sources (in development); • Sagem: Evaluation of data-mining algorithms in multi-airline and rotorcraft data sources (in development); and • Southwest Airlines: Research, development, and deployment of data-mining algorithms to support fleet- wide operational anomaly detection (in development).24 The committee had difficulty seeing these agreements as an actual transitioning of research results. NASA is not giving these companies specific technologies that they can use; the agreements seem more focused on simply allowing NASA to access the companies’ data for the development and testing of NASA’s data-mining algorithms. However, transition plans for the new V&V research were under development and were thus not specifically evalu - ated by the committee. SAFETY-RELATED RESEARCH IN THE FuNDAMENTAL AERONAuTICS PROgRAM Recognizing that its charge extends beyond the research being conducted in NASA’s Aviation Safety Program, the committee heard briefings regarding safety-related research within the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. Unfortunately, the committee could not delve into the research as thoroughly as it was able to examine the research in the Aviation Safety Program; thus, its assessment is at a somewhat higher level than the six research concerns described above. Defining and Prioritizing Research Objectives The primary focus of NASA ARMD’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program is on performance, efficiency, and environmental challenges for future air vehicles; safety is “generally not the focus of research.” 25 In order to ensure that safety concerns are addressed, researchers coordinate with the Aviation Safety Program as needed. NASA 23 See NASA’s DASHlink Web site at https://c3.ndc.nasa.gov/dl/. 24 Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Research Objective 6: Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety,” presentation to the committee, September 3, 2009, p. 9. 25 Jay Dryer, Director, Fundamental Aeronautics Program, “NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, p. 10.

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2 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY briefers pointed to two areas of current safety-related research within the Fundamental Aeronautics Program: flight in or around hazardous conditions and rotorcraft crash survivability. The briefers cite some of the mobility goals of the National Plan as providing support for its research on rotorcraft in general. Additionally, briefers pointed to NRC Decadal Survey challenges (see Appendix E, Table E.7) as well as industry input and NASA system studies as further rationale for the research. Safety researchers in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program focus on four specific subactivities: • Development of new techniques in grid generation and computational fluid dynamics; • Testing in small-scale wind turbine tunnels to provide critical validation data for specific areas, such as dynamic stall, active flow control, and airfoils with ice accretion; • Development and demonstration of an externally deployable energy absorber concept for improved crash protection; and • Validation of analytical models that focus on craft crashworthiness, including characterization of dynamic material properties, modeling of human occupants and predicting injury, multi-terrain impact simulation, develop - ment of fully integrated simulation models, and code validation studies that focus on probabilistic analysis and uncertainty quantification. In most cases, the committee observed that these subactivities were well defined and appropriate safety-related research. The committee notes positively that much of the hazardous conditions research in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program is coordinated with researchers in the Aviation Safety Program, thus reducing overall inefficiencies. The committee, however, had some concerns regarding crash survivability. NASA briefers pointed to Decadal Survey challenge C8, “structural innovations for high-speed rotorcraft,” as one of the two primary inputs or ratio - nales for the research. However, the Decadal Survey notes that this challenge “involves the use of many disruptive technologies and is unlikely to significantly increase safety or reliability.” 26 The challenge received a “1” in the category of safety and reliability—the lowest score possible. Aircraft crash survivability is one of the goals in the National Plan’s safety objectives, but this goal is not specific to rotorcraft; the committee thus questions NASA’s focus. Overall, the committee was unconvinced of the specific value of this research for enhancing the safety of the NextGen system. As with several of the research concerns discussed previously in this chapter, the committee was unable to determine how NASA prioritized its safety-related research within the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. Resource Allocation Figure 3.9 shows the aviation safety-related research expenditures in ARMD’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program divided into the two primary areas of hazardous conditions and crash survivability. Total expenditures equaled about $2.8 and $3.2 million, respectively, for Fy 2009 and Fy 2010. These rep- resent approximately 0.9 percent and 1.4 percent of the total budget of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program for Fy 2009 and Fy 2010.27 The low percentage was not entirely surprising to the committee, as the primary focus of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program is not on safety-related research. Based on the documents and presentations reviewed by the committee, it was not possible to determine whether the resource allocation toward safety-related research in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program was adequate or appropriate. 26 See National Research Council, Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics: Foundation for the Future, The National Academies Press, Wash- ington, D.C., 2006, p. 122. 27 Based on numbers in Jay Dryer, Director, Fundamental Aeronautics Program, “NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, pp. 20 and 31.

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 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES FY 2009 FY 2010 45% 48% Hazardous Conditions Crash Survivability 55% 52% FIGURE 3.9 Research expenditures towards aviation safety-related research in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. NOTE: The following caveats were included on the data in presentations to the committee: (1): Center for Rotorcraft Innovation fund - ing in support of collaborative work is proprietary and is not shown; (2) NRA funding was completed with Fy 2009 dollars. SOURCE: Based on numbers in Jay Dryer, Director, Fundamental Aeronautics Program, “NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, pp. 20 and 31. Figure 3-9 R01778 Coordination with the FAA and Others vector editable The Fundamental Aeronautics Program’s safety-related research is coordinated with the FAA and others primarily through industry-government agreements, ranging from membership in working groups, such as the CMH-17 Crashworthiness Working Group, to participation in research centers, such as the National Rotorcraft Technology Center. The committee observed that these coordination activities are appropriate for the specific research areas, although the committee was unable to assess the depth of these activities. Based on the briefings given to the committee, safety researchers in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program do not appear to engage directly with the FAA in one-on-one collaboration outside of the working groups or research centers. The committee ques - tions the safety premise behind the crashworthiness research, but observes that if the research is warranted (either for safety or for other reasons), NASA’s coordination activities in the area are appropriate. Research Transition There was a distinct lack of detail in NASA’s presentations to the committee regarding the research transition mechanisms and methods of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. NASA simply asserted that either of these research activities will be a success if one is “established, validated and becomes widely used throughout indus - try within the next 10 years.”28 How NASA plans to get the technology to the industry was not presented to the committee; therefore, the committee cannot make a true assessment of NASA’s transition plans in this area other than to observe that there appears to be a stark lack of specifics. Some examples of research transition in icing research were provided, but these examples were similar to and contained fewer details than the transition efforts described to the committee for icing research in the Aviation Safety Program. 28Jay Dryer, Director, Fundamental Aeronautics Program, “NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, pp. 19 and 30.

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 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY SAFETY-RELATED RESEARCH IN THE AIRSPACE SYSTEMS PROgRAM The committee also learned that some aviation safety-related research is conducted within the Airspace Systems Program, in addition to the Aviation Safety Program and the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. Unfor - tunately, as with the research in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program, the committee could not delve into the research as thoroughly as it was able to examine the research in the Aviation Safety Program; thus its assessment is at a somewhat higher level than the six research concerns described earlier in the chapter. Defining and Prioritizing Research Objectives The goal of the Airspace Systems Program is to “develop and demonstrate future concepts, capabilities, and technologies that will enable major increases in the air traffic management capacity, flexibility, and efficiency, while maintaining safety, to meet NextGen requirements.”29 As with research in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program, improving aviation safety is not the primary concern for the Airspace Systems Program. Research within the program is divided into two primary project areas: • The NextGen-Airspace Project, which encompasses a wide variety of topics broadly dealing with en route, transition, and terminal area airspace, and • The NextGen Airportal Project, which covers low altitude terminal area airspace and the airport environment. NASA briefers identified research within the Airspace Systems Program that has a strong capacity and safety focus: • Separation assurance for en route and transition airspace and airport surface, • Terminal area operations, and • Wake vortex. NASA briefers pointed to several of the mobility goals from the National Plan as the rationale behind these research areas, particularly mobility goal 1, “Develop reduced aircraft separation in trajectory- and performance- based operations.” NASA briefers did not cite relevant challenges from the NRC Decadal Survey, but did point to NASA’s 2006 strategic plan as additional reasoning behind the safety research, particularly outcome 3E.2: By 2016, develop and demonstrate future concepts, capabilities, and technologies that will enable major increases in air traffic management effectiveness, flexibility, and efficiency, while maintaining safety, to meet capacity and mobility requirements of the Next Generation Air Transportation System. 30 Additionally, briefers pointed to two JPDO high-priority focus areas that the Airspace Systems Program is involved in: supporting the Aviation Safety Program’s development of V&V and leading research in increasing the “clarity of air/ground functional allocation”31 (a JPDO initiative to develop a decision roadmap for the evolution of roles for the flight deck, air traffic controller, and automation, including associated operations changes). Overall, the committee observed that the safety research being conducted by the Airspace Systems Program appears fairly well defined and appropriate. Whether these research activities are correctly prioritized, however, was not a question the committee could answer. The committee’s concerns regarding V&V, as discussed earlier in the chapter, still apply. There appears to be active coordination between this program’s researchers and those in the Aviation Safety Program in several areas, although the efforts appear to be more focused on maintaining 29 John Cavolowsky, Director, Airspace Systems Program, “Airspace Systems Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, p. 3. 30 John Cavolowsky, Director, Airspace Systems Program, “Airspace Systems Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, p. 12. 31 John Cavolowsky, Director, Airspace Systems Program, “Airspace Systems Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, p. 14.

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 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES the level of safety within the system as opposed to improving safety. Given the similarity in general objectives, the committee expected to find a large amount of coordination between the Airspace Systems Program and the Aviation Safety Program in New Operations research. However, the committee observed a relatively low amount of coordination. Resource Allocation Unlike other briefings to the committee, presentations on the Airspace Systems Program did not specifically indicate the amount of resources being allocated to its safety-related research. This may be because the safety research is interspersed among many different subprojects. Figures 3.10 and 3.11 show the resource allocation information shared by NASA briefers with the committee. Even if the briefers had separated the data to show only the safety-related research, it likely would have been difficult or impossible for the committee to assess the appropriateness of the allocation, for the same reasons as described earlier in the chapter for other research concerns. Coordination with the FAA and Others NASA briefers indicated that the safety research in the Airspace Systems Program is coordinated with a variety of government entities through interagency agreements, including the FAA, NOAA, the Department of Transporta - tion, and the USAF. Briefers reported a high degree of alignment between Airspace Systems Program milestones and the JPDO’s research and development needs. The program has several Space Act agreements in place with private companies, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as well. Overall, the committee observed a high degree of research coordination with non-NASA entities. The committee did not have the chance to delve into the specifics of these efforts, however, so the committee was unable to assess the actual depth of the program’s coordination. Research Transition The committee was very impressed with the research transition mechanisms utilized by the Airspace Systems Program. Briefers gave in-depth descriptions of several Research Transition Teams (RTTs), groups that were developed to “ensure that R&D needed for NextGen implementation is identified, conducted, and effectively transitioned to the implementing agency.”32 These and other transition efforts span numerous technologies being developed within the program applicable to a variety of areas, including: • Dynamic Airspace Configuration, • Efficient Flow into Congested Airspace, • Integrated Arrival/Departure/Surface, and • Flow-Based Trajectory Management. Overall, the committee observed that these activities appear to be suitable for timely transition of research results. SuMMARY ASSESSMENT The committee was charged with examining NASA’s aviation safety-related research. The bulk of this research is conducted in ARMD’s Aviation Safety Program, and managers from this program split the research into six pri - mary concerns. Additional relevant research is conducted in ARMD’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program and Air - space Systems Program. The committee examined all of this research and strove to answer four key questions: 32 John Cavolowsky, Director, Airspace Systems Program, “Airspace Systems Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, p. 27.

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6 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY 11% 14% PM (Project Management) 9% SA (Separation Assurance) ASDO (Airspace Super-Density Operations) 6% TPSU (Trajectory Prediction, Synthesis, 29% and Uncertainty) 4% DAC (Dynamic Airspace Configuration) TFM (Traffic Flow Management) SLDAST (System-Level Design, Analysis, and Simulation Tools) 27% FIGURE 3.10 Airspace Systems Program’s Fy 2009 budget. SOURCE: John Cavolowsky, Director, Airspace Systems Program, “Airspace Systems Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, p. 30. Figure 3-10 AMI (Airportal and Metroplex R01778 28% Integration) vector editable 32% CADOM (Coordinated Arrival- Departure Operations Management) PM (Project Management) SESO (Safe and Efficient Surface Operations) 11% 29% FIGURE 3.11 Fy 2009 Budget of the Airportal Project. SOURCE: Airspace Systems Program’s Fy 2009 budget. SOURCE: John Cavolowsky, Director, Airspace Systems Program, “Airspace Systems Program,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009, p. 30. Figure 3-11 R01778 vector editable

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 REVIEW OF SAFETY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 1. Are the research objectives well defined, prioritized, and appropriate? 2. Is the research properly coordinated with the research programs of the FAA and other relevant federal agencies? 3. Are appropriate resources allocated for the research? 4. Do suitable mechanisms exist for transitioning the research results into operational technologies and pro - cedures in a timely manner? Defining and Prioritizing the Research Objectives The committee observed deficiencies with regard to how NASA defines and prioritizes specific research activi- ties across all six research concerns. It was difficult for the committee to understand how NASA prioritized objec - tives and activities within each research concern, due to inadequate discussion of the matter in NASA’s technical plans and briefings to the committee. In some cases, the committee was not presented with a strong rationale for NASA’s chosen priorities, such as the emphasis on commercial air transport in New Operations. The committee also observed a tendency for prioritization based on existing resources and personnel; this was particularly the case in Aircraft Aging and Durability and was evidenced elsewhere, such as in the coordination of areas of historical expertise in On-Board System Failures and Faults. In order to advance the state of aviation safety, one of ARMD’s core missions, it is incumbent upon ARMD to expand its capabilities beyond its traditional areas of expertise to meet the requirements of emerging and future national safety priorities. In addition, the committee questions some of NASA’s chosen priorities, which result in, for example, insuf - ficient attention being given to human factors and automation in Loss of Control research. ARMD has chosen to focus on longer-term, fundamental research, with which the committee agrees. However, research in aviation safety must have a path to implementation. The committee could not always see this path for some research projects, and the individual NASA researchers could not provide it. The committee also observed less coordination within NASA for the research concerns than it expected to find, particularly between Loss of Control and New Operations. The committee also expected, but did not observe, additional coordination between researchers in New Operations and the Airspace Systems Program. Resource Allocation As with prioritization of research activities, resource allocation was generally difficult to assess for the commit - tee. The committee observed several instances of questionable allocation, such as the emphasis on adaptive control in Loss of Control research or the relatively low amount of research being conducted on information management and processing compared to the amount of funds being directed into it. However, these were generally exceptions rather than the rule, as much of the resource allocation in the other research concerns appeared appropriate under the committee’s high-level review. Briefings to the committee by NASA, and ARMD’s various technical plans, lacked the necessary details that would enable more specific findings from the committee. The committee has some concerns regarding NASA’s commitment to developing a core competency in V&V based on the variation in resources over the years and the large amount of research being conducted through NRAs. For V&V to become another node of high-quality research for NASA, the research must be conducted primarily in-house and have stable funding; this may be the case if the president’s Fy 2011 budget passes. Coordination with the FAA and Others The committee notes that NASA has done a good job, and even excelled in some instances, in coordinat - ing its research with the FAA and other relevant federal agencies. The level of collaboration observed in HIWC activities, part of the Hazardous Conditions research concern, could be viewed as a prime model of how NASA can keep its research relevant to the needs of others within the National Airspace System. The depth and intensity of coordination in some of the other research concerns were difficult for the committee to judge, but in general it

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 ADVANCING AERONAUTICAL SAFETY appears that coordination of aviation safety-related research is occurring and is being actively pursued by NASA. Within several of the research concerns, particularly in Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety and in On-Board System Failures and Faults, NASA has distinct opportunities to enhance its coordination efforts. Research Transition As with its coordination activities, NASA generally appears to have strong mechanisms in place to transition its research results. However, the committee notes that it did not observe any specific mechanisms or examples of technology transition in the On-Board System Failures and Faults research concern, and the examples of tran - sitioning provided by NASA in the Analyzing Complex Systems for Safety research area were questionable at best. However, improvements in this latter area are likely in the future as NASA’s V&V research starts in earnest. In reviewing NASA’s transition mechanisms, the committee identified an additional area of possible research for NASA—certification of non-deterministic software. The committee also observes that ARMD has chosen to focus on longer-term, fundamental research, with which the committee agrees. However, research in aviation safety must have a path to implementation. The com - mittee could not always see this path for some research projects, and the individual NASA researchers could not provide it. Additional discussion of NASA’s possible role in overcoming other certification and implementation barriers is discussed in the next chapter.