NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Next Generation Air Transportation - Airportal
PROPOSAL TITLE:Airport Configuration Planner With Optimized Weather Forecasts

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)
Laurel   Stell
131 Elden Street, Suite 200
Herndon, VA  20170-4758
(703) 234-0796

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The core planning algorithms to support the NGATS concepts will need accurate predictions of airport configuration over planning horizons of six hours or more. Such predictions are not currently feasible because the configuration often is not completely determined by factors such as weather forecasts, future demand, and noise restrictions that might be input to an automated predictor. When this is the case, the air traffic control tower personnel choose between the feasible configurations based on factors such as staffing issues and individual controller preferences. Furthermore, the primary meteorological forecasts currently available to the tower are not adequate to enable accurate runway usage prediction. In fact, they often fail to predict required changes in flow direction, causing reactive rather than proactive airport configuration management. In this SBIR, Metron Aviation and WSI Corporation will jointly develop an airport configuration planner incorporating optimized weather forecasts to assist tower controllers in planning runway usage more accurately at longer time horizons than currently possible and to communicate the plan to appropriate National Airspace System (NAS) stakeholders and planning systems. The optimization algorithms in this decision support tool will improve resource allocation not only at individual airports but also over all airports in a metropolitan area.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The airport configuration planner developed in this SBIR will enable dynamic airport configuration management by using improved meteorological forecasts, optimizing resource allocation for individual airports and also over all airports in a region, and automating communication between the tower and other FAA facilities, planning systems, and NAS stakeholders.
This tool will also result in reliable configuration plans necessary for other NGATS concepts, including block-to-block 4D trajectories and super-density operations. In short, maximizing throughput of a runway complex and optimizing efficient use of airport resources depends upon these reliable configuration plans, which can only be obtained with better weather forecasts. Furthermore, including tower controller feedback in the planning process will allow them the flexibility they need and avoid incorrect predictions when unforeseen circumstances arise.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The FAA will require the planner developed in this SBIR to implement the NGATS vision. The optimization algorithms in this tool will improve airport throughput and efficiency; whilst the tower controller feedback in the planning process will maintain flexibility. By basing the plan on improved meteorological forecasts, airport configuration management will be more proactive and less reactive. By automating the communication of the plan between FAA facilities, air traffic management coordination will be improved. It will assist communication between a TRACON and towers within that TRACON to plan and implement configuration changes. It will automate the communication of planned configurations and arrival and departure rates to the FAA Command Center, which will improve the planning of traffic management initiatives such as GDPs. The configuration planner will also communicate the configuration plan to FAA customers, allowing them to improve their planning to better achieve their goals and objectives.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Airport Infrastructure and Safety

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19