Researchers at NASA Langley Research Center are investigating airborne technologies and proce-dures to increase runway capacity by precisely spac-ing landing aircraft at the runway threshold. Under the concept, referred to as Airborne Precision Spac-ing (APS), flight crews are cleared by Air Traffic Control to follow speed cues from onboard automa-tion to achieve precision spacing (time- or distance-based) at the threshold, relative to a designated lead aircraft. Prototypes of the onboard automation were previously used to demonstrate precision spacing op-erations in aircraft flying in-trail to the runway, both in simulation and in flight-test. Following those suc-cesses, the research focus has shifted to investigating the feasibility of precision spacing operations on-board aircraft across multiple arrival streams to a common runway. The prototype onboard automation has been modified to enable the new procedures, re-ferred to as Airborne Merging and Spacing for Ter-minal Arrivals (AMSTAR). As part of the testing of the new tool and opera-tional procedures, AMSTAR operations under a range of operational conditions were studied in fast-time simulations. The study investigated AMSTAR performance in long arrival sequences composed of diverse aircraft types ranging from light jets to heavy transports. Three arrival streams with two merge points were modeled, and two different merge fre-quencies were evaluated. Results of the study indi-cate that inter-arrival spacing was achieved to within 10 seconds even with a diverse fleet of aircraft types having dissimilar final approach speeds and unequal spacing assignments. If the entire fleet was composed of a single aircraft type, spacing was achieved to within 5 seconds of the assigned value. The number of additional speed changes required to achieve pre-cision spacing were comparable across the different test conditions. Schedule deviations were stable and did not exceed 30 seconds over the entire one hun-dred aircraft simulated landing sequence.
Theme: Air Ground Cooperation
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