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Tactical Flight Management System Experiment on the Advanced Concepts Flight Simulator

The Vehicle Systems Safety Technologies (VSST) project is evaluating Tactical Flight Management System (T-FMS) technologies, within a simulated Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) environment, on the Advanced Concepts Flight Simulator (ACFS) at the Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF) at NASA Ames. The software predicts the future flight path and energy state of the aircraft by taking into account anticipated autopilot mode transitions in order to address loss of mode and energy state awareness issues. The Next-Gen Concepts and Technology Development (CTD) project is also evaluating these technologies in support of Single Pilot Operations (SPO). This flight deck simulation evaluation will continue through the month of June.

BACKGROUND: Loss Of Control (LOC) remains the leading category of commercial airplane accidents. Roughly half of the recent LOC events involve loss of airplane state awareness, with automation confusion and/or awareness playing a role in the majority of these events. Under NextGen, there will be an increased dependency on automation as aircraft fly energy-efficient optimized profile descents and continuous descent approaches under trajectory-based operations. As a result, mode awareness and energy state management aspects of flight deck automation will become even more critical.

The Vehicle Systems Safety Technologies (VSST) project is part of the Aviation Safety Program (AvSP), directed by Doug Rohn at Headquarters, and led by NASA LaRC. The Next-Gen Concepts and Technology Development (CTD) project is part of the Airspace Systems Program (ASP), directed by John Cavolosky at Headquarters, and led by NASA Ames.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Aviation Safety Program (AvSP)

TEAM: John Kaneshige, Shivanjli Sharma, and Jose Benavides (ARC-TI); Lynne Martin (ARC-TH); Sandy Lozito and Vicki Dulchinos (ARC-AFH)

Contact: John Kaneshige

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