NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-A3.01-9460 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 033545)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:21st Century Air-Traffic Management
PROPOSAL TITLE:Airport Configuration Prediction

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Metron Aviation, Inc.
131 Elden Street, Suite 200
Herndon ,VA 20170 - 4758
(703) 456 - 0123

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Stephen    Atkins
131 Elden Stree, Suite 200
Herndon ,VA  20170 -4758
(978) 692 - 9484
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

There is presently poor knowledge throughout the National Airspace System (NAS) of the airport configurations currently in use at each airport. There is even less information about expected future configuration changes. The airport configuration is a primary factor in various airport characteristics such as arrival and departure capacities and terminal area traffic patterns. These characteristics, in turn, are central to a variety of Air Traffic Management (ATM) decisions, such as setting arrival restrictions to avoid airborne holding. Consequently, uncertainty about the current or future airport configuration can result in traffic management decisions that under-utilize or overload airports, resulting in unnecessary or inefficient delays. Moreover, air carriers would make use of configuration information. FedEx, for example, selects parking gates for arrivals to Memphis based on expected departure runways to minimize taxi congestion and time. The proposed effort will develop an airport configuration recognition and prediction system. The airport configuration depends on a variety of factors; Phase 1 will consider local weather, arrival and departure demand, noise restrictions, and airport-specific considerations.

The product of Phase 2 could be used by NASA to improve SMS or other future automation. SMS predictions currently depend on knowledge of future configuration changes, which currently must be entered manually. Errors in SMS?s knowledge of future configuration changes reduces the accuracy of SMS predictions. The proposed system could be integrated into SMS to remove the need for manual configuration entries.

Automation capable of recognizing the current airport configuration and predicting future configuration changes would likely be deployed by the FAA at a large number of airports. A variety of FAA decisions and decision support systems make assumptions about airport characteristics which depend on the airport configuration. Knowledge of airport configuration would also allow air carriers to better anticipate arrival runways and taxi times as well as departure runways, delays, and flight time. Therefore, air carriers would be interested in the output of the proposed system. Air carriers may purchase such a system for their hub airports.