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Paper 14 -- Regaining Lost Separation In A Piloted Simulation Of Autonomous Aircraft Operations

NASA is currently investigating a new concept of operations for the National Airspace System, designed to improve capacity while maintaining or improving current levels of safety. This concept, known as Distributed Air/ Ground Traffic Management (DAG-TM), allows appropriately equipped "autonomous" aircraft to maneuver freely for flight optimization while resolving conflicts with other traffic and staying out of special use airspace and hazardous weather. While Airborne Separation Assurance System (ASAS) tools would normally allow pilots to resolve conflicts before they become hazardous, evaluation of system performance in sudden, near-term conflicts is needed in order to determine concept feasibility. If an acceptable safety level can be demonstrated in these situations, then operations may be conducted with lower separation minimums.An experiment was conducted in NASA Langley's Air Traffic Operations Lab to address issues associated with resolving near-term conflicts and the potential use of lower separation minimums. Sixteen commercial airline pilots flew a total of 32 traffic scenarios that required them to use prototype ASAS tools to resolve close range "pop-up" conflicts. Required separation standards were set at either 3 or 5 NM lateral spacing, with 1000 ft vertical separation being used for both cases. Reducing the lateral separation from 5 to 3 NM did not appear to increase operational risk, as indicated by the proximity to the intruder aircraft. Pilots performed better when they followed tactical guidance cues provided by ASAS than when they didn't follow the guidance. As air-air separation concepts are evolved, further studies will consider integration issues between ASAS and existing Airborne Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS).
Theme: Air Ground Cooperation
Posted by: Richard Barhydt / Other authors: Todd Eischeid, Michael Palmer, David Wing
Note: Unset Received On Dec 20, 2005

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