NASA Langley Research Center through Research Triangle Institute
1 March 2004 – 31 December 2004
Total award $152,754
The existing air transport system in US cannot meet the public demand for safety, higher-speed mobility, and increased accessibility. It mostly results from the dominant hub-and-spoke model that results in a concentration of a large percentage of the air traffic at a few hub airports. Meanwhile, there are about 5400 existing public-use-landing facilities around the country in the current National Airspace System (NAS), but scheduled air carriers serve only about 660 of these facilities. Revolutionary technologies are in great need to enhance the transportation capabilities of the nation’s small aircraft transportation network, and thus relieve the congestion of the hub airports.
The ongoing research of terminal airspace management around non-radar, non-tower general aviation airport is both from the point of views of ground system and airborne system. First, an automated ground arrival/departure system is proposed for this kind of small non-controlled airports. Functional description of the airport terminal area infrastructure and automated terminal operations and procedures are defined first, then several types of intelligent agents with negotiation functions are developed in the automation system. Second, an aircraft approaching and landing assistant (AALA), an advanced airborne cockpit system, is proposed aiming at automating part of the pilot decision-making process and thus to decrease the pilot workload and improve flight safety. This research is an extension of previous ten years’ research in intelligent cockpit computing in FSL. Finally, a distributed air/ground ATM system is proposed to realize the objectives of accommodating higher volume traffic, increasing flight safety and efficiency at small non-controlled airports. In this system, pilots, with the aid of advanced cockpit systems and automated ground controllers, assume the primary responsibility in assuring the airspace safety.
This research aims to design an automated arrival/departure system for non-controlled airports and thus meet the needs described above. Functional description of the airport terminal area infrastructure and automated terminal operations and procedures are defined first, then several types of intelligent agents with negotiation functions are developed in the automation system. Moreover, an approaching and landing assistant, which is an advanced cockpit system, is incorporated aiming at automating part of the pilot decision-making process and thus to decrease the pilot workload and improve flight safety. Finally, simulation methodology is determined with a full description of hardware and software used by the simulation.
A high fidelity simulation system is of great importance in design, development and evaluation phases of a new system. Air-traffic Information Management System (AIMS), a program currently under construction, aims at providing fast time simulation for evaluating the capacity, efficiency, and safety of the proposed distributed air/ground ATM system. Moreover, when connected to the EFS, it is able to provide real time simulation for human factor evaluation of cockpit system design.
Specific tasks and research objectives:
- Investigate functionality and performance of an automated arrival/departure system, addressing the high traffic volume problem in non-controlled airports.
- Define the multi-layer air traffic space around the terminal area of non-controlled airports, and develop the communication and negotiation procedures necessary for managing the traffic flow.
- Provide improved terminal area arrival flow planning algorithms, including arrival sequencing and arrival flow re-planning, given a perturbation such as runway change or severe weather.
- Develop a traffic scenario generator, which provides great flexibility of choosing initial weather conditions, topological data, traffic situation, flight plan for each aircraft, flight procedures, and ATC rules.
- Develop an intelligent cockpit system, a pilot decision aid tool that assists pilots in decision-making during the high workload flight phase in a complex environment.
Working with me on this program are Graduate Research Assistants:
- Jie Rong
- Yuanyuan Ding
- James Doebbler
- Paul Gesting
- Tom Wagner
- Steve Wollkind
and Undergraduate Research Assistant:
- Klye Helbing