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.
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 transitioning 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 committee 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.