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HOW NASA CAN ASSIST THE FAA Neal Blake Deputy Associate Administrator for Engineering and Development Federal Aviation Administration Although predicting the future is an inexact science at best, I think certain trends have been identified that have helped us to assemble a scenario for the shape of the air traffic control system of the future. This scenario, in turn, has been used to identify development activities that we need to complete to provide a higher capacity, more automated, more fuel-efficient system for l990 and beyond. Today, I will give you a very brief overview of some of the impacts of traffic growth, our development program goals, our future air traffic control system scenario, and present and planned activities in the development area to support that scenario and I will try to identify some of the key areas for NASA support in this program. In his paper, Bill Wilkins Lndicated that we still expect continued significant growth in the number of aircraft requesting FAA separation services over the next decade. The forecast of growth in aircraft operations under instrument flight rules handled by our air traffic control centers is expected to be approximately 60 percent by l990. The greatest percentage of growth is expected in general aviation, air taxi, and commuter operations. Air carrier growth, as noted yesterday, will be slower, and military operations are expected to stay about the same. The forecast growth in air traffic handled by the individual air traffic control centers wiil range from about 35 to 67 percent during this time period. Operations at tower-equipped airports are expected to increase about 44 percent during this same time period—again, the big growth will be in general aviation, air taxi, and commuter operations. This forecast growth and achievement of significant gains in each of the five major FAA goal areas provide most of the basis for our l25

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engineering and devslopment program. The first goal is safety. Our highest priority has always been given to improving system safety and reducing flight risk. This goal area encompasses the development activities needed to prevent aircraft collisions with terrain and other aircraft, to reduce fatalities from inflight and postcrash fires, to detect and reduce the consequences of human error, and to detect and avoid severe weather phenonena. The second goal is system performance. Improving system performance by increasing capacity, reducing delays, and improving weather and pilot briefing services has been a goal of many of the recent development programs that are just now providing field implementable systems. This area includes programs to increase airport capacity, provide more direct aircraft routings with fuel-efficient profiles, and provide improved flow management particularly during adverse weather conditions. The third goal, increasing system productivity by providing improved service while reducing the cost of providing these sevices, is becoming an ever increasingly more important goal area. The activity to improve both the weather and pilot briefing services while simultaneously reducing the cost of providing those services is already well under way. Additional development programs are aimed at reducing the operation, maintenance, and certification costs of the air traffic control system. As Bill Wilkins mentioned, fuel conservation has become an increasingly important goal area and a number of procedural and facility improvements designed to conserve fuel are already entering the system. Additional automation activities are under way, which we expect will further reduce the excess fuel burned due to air traffic control and weather delays. The last goal, protection of the environment, is an area related to the reduction of aircraft noise and control of engine emission both through procedural changes to the air traffic control system and improvements to aircraft and aircraft engines. This goal is heavily supported by a number of FAA and NASA programs. Now, in looking ahead to the air traffic control system of the l990s and beyond, we see continued growth in the demand for services; a need to provide the higher level of automated coordination required to permit controllers to issue direct-route, fuel-efficient, conflict-free clearances in more of our air space; a continuing need to achieve the most efficient use of the nation's existing airports; and a pressing need to control the growth in the cost of providing the service. So, within this general context we see the future trends for the various elements of our system as follows. In the airport area we do not believe that there will be a significant number of new airports or even new runways at existing airports, particularly in the major terminal areas. Our current program to equip satellite airports with approach and landing aids and control services nay provide some added commercial capacity at these airports if such improvements in fact cause a migration of general aviation activities to the satellite l26

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facilities. Hence, our programs in the airport area will continue to focus on increasing the life of runways, reducing pavement test time, providing improved airport surveillance systems, and, later In time, automated surface traffic control systems and improved hazardous weather and wind shear detection forecasting and avoidance systems. These new systems, operating in conjunction with a more automated air traffic control system, will permit us to make the most efficient use of our airport resources, particularly in the high-density traffic areas. Airport capacity. Congressman Harkin brought that one up yesterday. The airport capacity program includes studies of each of the nation's high-density airports, that are conducted to determine the improvements that are feasible at each airport and to assess the benefit of implementation of each of the possible improvements. This program covers a wide spectrum of improvements, including additional runways, short runways, runway exits, taxiways, procedural changes, and systems that will permit reduced longitudinal spacing between aircraft on the final approach. The latter includes vortex wake detection, prediction, and avoidance and vortex alleviation on aircraft, automated terminal metering, and spacing systems. Improved automation and navigation systems on the aircraft will interface directly with the ground metering and spacing computer to offer still greater precision in the delivery of aircraft to the runway. Navigation. The navigation system today is based primarily on Vortac for short-range navigation and Omega and Inertial Navigation System (INS) for long-range navigation. Other aids are used, but these are the primary ones. INS, with external updating from other aids, is used in the continental U.S. as well as in oceanic areas and currently permits Air Traffic Control (ATC) to issue direct clearances to equipped aircraft, particularly in the area west of the Mississippi River. With the implementation of automated assistance to the controller in coordinating direct-route clearance between controllers, we expect that most high-altitude flights over the U.S. could be conducted via direct routing with the proper equipment in the aircraft. The demand for ATC service for low-altitude IFR helicopter operations is increasing rapidly, and development and test efforts have been increased with a view toward early certification of Loran-C as a supplementary aid to Vortac and Omega to meet these special user requirements in areas where the Loran-C coverage is adequate. Now, looking to the somewhat longer term, the Global Positioning System (GPS) may provide the basis for navigational services in some air space. While many questions concerning this system are yet to be answered, such as its accuracy for civil use, the number of satellites to be used, the redundancy needed for satellite failure backup, and its vulnerability to hostile action, we believe that GPS may offer, in the l990 time period, a global navigation service supporting the needs of aviation, particularly in the oceanic and low-density traffic areas throughout the world. Although use in domestic areas will depend to a large extent on decisions yet to be taken, a development program is under way to explore the use of this system in all air space. l27

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We believe that airborne navigation systems will contain area navigation computers that can accept navigation signals from a variety of sources, including INS, Omega, Loran, Vortac, GPS, and the Microwave Landing System (MLS) and automatically adjust to the characteristics of the selected system and provide outputs to a variety of systems and displays, including graphic displays. These new systems can provide the pilot with guidance in reaching checkpoints at times and altitudes either generated internally by aircraft fuel performance computers or by the ground air traffic control system. The FAA is nearing the end of the development cycle on a number of the systems needed to provide the base on which the more efficient automated systems of the future will be built. These systems include the discreet address beacon system, the MLS, automated flight service stations, and aircraft separation assurance systems. The last includes conflict alert and conflict resolution to warn the controller of impending loss of separation, the automatic traffic advisory and resolution service, and the beacon collision avoidance system to warn the pilot of impending disaster. These systems are all scheduled for implementation during the l980s. Major development activities have already been started to produce the improvements needed to support the system of the l990s. Some of the major efforts include: o Replacement of the present air traffic control computers, starting with those installed in our air route traffic control centers, with computers providing the greatly increased capacity and reliability needed for the future. This is planned for the late l980s. o Upgrading of the communication system to provide for more efficient, more reliable, and lower cost services. o Development and implementation of a real-time severe weather detection, processing and display system to provide accurate identification of the hazardous areas of storms to pilots and controllers. o Continued high emphasis on improving aircraft airworthiness and post-crash fire safety. o Airport and airspace capacity and delay programs will be expanded to provide a more efficient traffic flow management system. o Increased emphasis is being placed on the human factors programs to reduce the number of accidents attributable to human error. FAA engineering and development has looked to NASA for some of the basic research and technology development needed in areas where the l28

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current technology base is not adequate to support our program goals, as well as for some direct program support in critical program areas. The output from the NASA program provides the data base needed to formulate advisory circulars, regulations, and new air traffic control system improvements. I believe that the relationship between NASA and the FAA has been an extremely productive one, and steps are being taken continually to further strengthen it. The coordinated programs already cover a number of important areas, a few of which include aircraft safety, covering fire safety technology, the effects of using antitnisting kerosene on jet engine performance and life, general aviation and transport aircraft crash- worthiness, vortex alleviation, and landing dynamics. The second area, aircraft avionics systems covers advanced inte- grated flight controls, the terminal configured vehicle programs, the MLS, heads-up displays, cockpit display of traffic information, automated terminal service, automated pilot advisory service, lightning effects on avionics, the low-cost GPS receiver, and general aviation technology programs. The materials and structures area, which was covered by Mr. Foster, includes the advanced composite materials and structures and lightning effects on composite materials. There are a lot of other areas, such as search and rescue equip- ment, helicopter air traffic control operations, pilot training, and measurement techniques. Now, from this quick overview of the areas of the coordinated programs, you can see that much of the basic research and technology needed to support our future air traffic control system development are already well under way. We believe, however, that augmentation of several of these areas is needed because of the high payoff in terms of system improvement that would result from successful technology development. I have listed four. Certainly, vortex alleviation is near the top of the list. The introduction of the wide-bodied aircraft into the fleet highlighted the problem of weight vortices and resulted in increased aircraft separation minima. This, Ln turn, reduced the capacity of our major terminal facilities by l5 to 20 percent. Now, some capacity gains can be and have been achieved from procedural changes and implementation of our future automated systems, both air and ground. The technical problems associated with vortex alleviation, I realize, are very difficult but some encouraging results have come out of past tests. The payoff for successs is very high in terms of airport capacity. We would urge a continuing high level of effort in this area to identify techniques that would alleviate the strength of vortices. Human factors. In the human factors area, basic research is needed on the causes of human error and the effects of pilot boredom on performance, particularly in emergency conditions. Closely related to these factors is the need to develop improved warning systems that can prioritize and present the key actions a pilot must take when an emergency exists and every second is precious. The fire safety area. Much progress has been made in the development of an antimisting kerosene additive, and some encouraging l29

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large-scale test results have been achieved. Progress in the development of improved cabin materials has been somewhat less dramatic, and sustained high emphasis on new materials development continues to be needed. The use of simulators for pilot, aircraft, and rotorcraft certification is another area. While much progress has been made in the use of simulators for pilot certification and training, continued activity is needed to determine the extent to which simulators can be used in the certification process for aircraft and rotorcraft. NASA assistance is needed in the development of methods of verification and validation of computer models used by the manufacturers in the certification process. l30