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Airborne Separation and Self-Separation

within the
Distributed Air/Ground Traffic Management

Mark G. Ballin
NASA Langley Research Center

  

ASAS Thematic Network - Workshop 2

Malmö, Sweden
October 6-8, 2003
Presentation Overview

 Introduction to DAG-TM Airborne

 Potential for Benefits
 En Route Free Maneuvering Operations
 Capacity-Constrained Terminal Arrival
 Closing Remarks

Mark G. Ballin 2/18

Distributed Air/Ground Traffic Management

Concept Premise: Large improvements

in system capacity, airspace user Flight
flexibility, and user efficiency will be Crew

enabled through
– Sharing information related to flight
intent, traffic, and the airspace • Information
environment • Decision making
– Collaborative decision making among • Responsibility
all involved system participants
– Distributing decision authority to the
most appropriate decision maker
Distributing decision authority may be a key enabler in
multiplying system capacity by minimizing workload
Mark G. Ballin 3/18
DAG-TM Airborne Component
in Context
 Mature-state focus
– Complements near-term ASAS applications research
– Characterization of mature-state feasibility, benefits potential, and
system requirements is important, even for evolutionary
 Why must we consider such a challenging solution?
No other proposed paradigm has potential to
– accommodate expected growth in airspace operations – we must
consider system that accommodates a threefold capacity increase
 Projected increases in air carriers and air cargo
 New class of small aircraft designed for point-to-point operations
– adapt to demand in a cost-effective way
 Increased traffic within region  increased CNS infrastructure
– provide robustness to system failures
 Increased number of human decision makers  greater redundancy
 Redundant CNS infrastructure

Mark G. Ballin 4/18

DAG-TM Airborne Component
Benefits Potential
 Growth scalability for airspace capacity
– More aircraft can be accommodated in a sector if a portion of them are
– Each new autonomous aircraft in the system adds to the surveillance and
separation provision infrastructures
– Constraints due to controller workload are reduced through change in
controller’s job from centralized control to traffic flow management
 User flexibility to optimize
VFR flexibility with IFR protection leads to reduced direct operating costs
– Removal of “flow control” ground-hold restrictions based on en route and
destination weather forecasts or ATC “saturation”
– Reduction or removal of delays involved in waiting for flight plan approval
– Time and fuel use during flight
 Safety and reliability
– Increased redundancy of traffic control
 Economic scalability
– Distribution of system modernization costs
– For NAS users, more direct relationship between capital/recurring
investments and benefits

Mark G. Ballin 5/18

En Route Free Maneuvering
Operations Overview
Concept Integrates:
Mixed operations
Cost management, Operational constraints
Passenger comfort User flexibility

Autonomous (AFR) priority Airborne
Aircraft separation

Operational Control
Fleet management avoidance

Priority Managed (IFR) Aircraft

Special Use rules
Airspace IFR trajectory
avoidance management
Maneuver restrictions

Air Traffic
IFR and AFR traffic Service Provider
Terminal area  User-determined optimal trajectory flow management

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En Route Free Maneuvering
Roles & Procedures for Air/Ground Interaction
Autonomous Flight Rules (AFR) Aircraft Air Traffic Service (ATS) Provider
 Maintains separation from all aircraft  Separates IFR aircraft only and monitors
» Extra separation margin given to IFR aircraft to IFR conformance to flow/airspace
minimize impact on ATS Provider constraints
» Ensures no near-term conflicts are created by
» Uses advanced tools and data link for enhancing IFR
maneuvering or changing intent operations efficiency and tightening TFM tolerances
 Selects and flies user-preferred trajectory  Establishes flow & airspace constraints
» No clearance required in AFR operations (like VFR)
for system-wide & local TFM
» Trajectories selected to meet flight safety, fuel
» Meters AFR and IFR arrivals by assigning RTA’s (AFR)
efficiency, performance limitations, and company
and speeds/vectors or data link trajectories (IFR)
» Provides AFR aircraft an IFR clearance to enter
» Includes avoiding convective weather and
terminal area (at which time AFR becomes IFR)
maximizing passenger comfort
» Unrestricted route & altitude except SUA’s  Not responsible for monitoring AFR ops
established by ATS Provider » Exception: Avoids creating near-term conflicts between
 Conforms to TFM constraints AFR/IFR aircraft when maneuvering IFR aircraft
» AFR aircraft treated much like VFR aircraft; relies on
» Adjusts path and speed to meet Required Time of
AFR aircraft to separate from IFR aircraft
Arrival (RTA) received from ATS Provider
» Not responsible for ensuring AFR aircraft meet RTA
» Notifies ATS Provider if unable to meet RTA or
crossing restrictions; request new assignment
» Conformance required to gain terminal area access Airline Operational Control (AOC)
 Manages strategic fleet operations

Mark G. Ballin 7/18

En Route Operations – Crew Perspective (1/3)
Research Prototype Navigation Display (MD-11)
 AOP: Planning system for
autonomous operations
– Long-term conflict detection
(nominal 20+ min.) prevention
– Resolution through modified FMS route band Conflict
– Conflict(s) resolved without creating resolution
new conflicts with traffic or airspace Conflict trajectory
 Pilot decision is strategic; resolution
provides complete solution. Tactical
information is also provided
– Aircraft state- and intent-based
– Traffic and area hazards
– Intent-based CR algorithm Airspace
 Iterates with FMS trajectory constraint
generation function to achieve
“flyable” conflict-free trajectory Conflicting
 Not limited by imposed constraints aircraft
(e.g., required time of arrival) Ownship
 Determines optimal trajectory
based on user-specified

Detection => Intent Only Intent and State

10 min

5 min

2 min

0 min
Strategic Strategic & Tactical Tactical
Resolution =>
Time to Loss of Separation
Mark G. Ballin 8/18
En Route Operations – Crew Perspective (2/3)
• Several aircraft trajectories possible,
depending on ownship pilot actions. All are Research Prototype Navigation Display (B777)
probed for conflicts:
– Planning (typically the FMS flight plan)
– Commanded (current autoflight config - “no
button push”)
– State vector
– Path reconnect (LNAV/VNAV not engaged)

• Conflict prevention alternatives

– Provisional (trial planning) FMS
– Provisional MCP
– Maneuver restriction bands (intent-based
– Collision avoidance bands (state-based
“no-go” for RTCA “CAZ”)

• Conflict resolution alternatives

– Fully automatic (full LNAV/VNAV solution)
– Semi-automatic (pilot specifies resolution
– MCP targets
– State Automatic Resolution
(LNAV/VNAV engaged)
Example of Multi-Trajectory Conflict Probing

Movie clip
speed: 3x
Capacity-Constrained Terminal Arrival Operations

Metering ATSP-defined
boundary Maneuver within
prescribed corridors
for optimal spacing

Adhere to metering
assignment for initial Unequipped Aircraft Merge with
spacing and sequence converging
traffic streams
Adhere to runway
assignment and
Fly with precision for
sequence for load
optimal spacing
balancing, throughput Phase 1

Terminal airspace

Mark G. Ballin 11/18

Phase 1 Crew Decision Support Capability

Advanced Terminal Area Approach Spacing

(“ATAAS”) Algorithm

• Provides speed commands to obtain a desired runway

threshold crossing time (relative to another aircraft)
• Compensates for dissimilar final approach speeds between
aircraft pairs
• Speeds based on a nominal speed profile
• Includes wake vortex minima requirements
• Provides operationally reasonable speed profiles
• Provides guidance for stable final approach speed
• Provide for any necessary alerting

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Phase 1 Terminal Arrival Operations –
Crew Perspective (1/3)
Procedures based on an extension of existing charted procedures

Speed profile
added to existing

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Phase 1 Terminal Arrival Operations –
Crew Perspective (2/3)

Electronic Attitude Director-Indicator (EADI)


Numeric display of
ATAAS speed

ATAAS speed
coupled to F/S

Mode annunciation

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Phase 1 Terminal Arrival Operations –
Crew Perspective (3/3)
Navigation Display

ATAAS data block

(commanded speed, mode
annunciation and assigned
time interval, lead traffic ID
and range)

Lead traffic highlighted
Lead traffic history trail
Spacing position indicator

Mark G. Ballin 15/18

Phase 1 Terminal Arrival Operations –
Crew Perspective (4/4)



Select lead
aircraft UAL903>
128 SEC
spacing interval LEAD GROUNDSPEED
271 KTS
NASA557 135 KTS
UAL903 130 KTS

Enter final approach speeds, 4 NM

minimum separation, airport winds 180 /19


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Closing Remarks (1/2)

 The DAG-TM Airborne Component is part of a future mature-state

airspace system consisting of coexisting non-segregated
distributed and centralized networks. These networks provide
system-level optimization, individual user flexibility to optimize,
and a gradual modernization transition path.
– Autonomous Flight Rules (AFR) is introduced as a new option for
aircraft flight operations, and produces the distributed network in
which aircraft exercise autonomous flight management capabilities to
meet TFM constraints, maintain separation from all other aircraft,
and to achieve user optimization objectives.
– IFR operations are centrally managed by ground systems and
controllers, and mature independently from AFR operations through
evolutionary enhancements to ground automation.
– AFR and IFR operations coexist in the same en-route and terminal-
transition airspace, and AFR flights give way to IFR operations. AFR
and IFR traffic are merged for terminal arrival using ground-based
local TFM. Terminal operations at capacity-limited airports are fully

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Closing Remarks (2/2)
 Terminal area throughput is maximized through integrated
enhancements in ground and airborne capabilities
– Airborne capability to execute strategic spacing clearances
accounting for dynamic wake vortex conditions to help maximize
– Ground automation to enable full integration of spacing and non-
spacing aircraft.
 AFR operations permit growth scalability of the airspace system
by accommodating significant traffic growth without exponential
growth in ground infrastructure. Enhanced IFR operations
provide access to all users with minimal impact from AFR
 Users have incentive to equip for AFR through relief from flow
management and planning acceptance restrictions

Mark G. Ballin 18/18

Backup Slides

En Route Operations – Crew Perspective (3/3)

1. Conflict advisory
information displayed

3. Crew opts for

alternative resolution.
List displayed

2. Crew opts to resolve all

conflicts. Recommended
resolution presented on

4. Crew uploads resolution to FMS

mod route
Mark G. Ballin 20/18
Air Traffic Control Technologies Overview
 En route tools and display support for trajectory-based
traffic management
– Meet time cruise and descent speed advisories
– Multi-aircraft trial planning for transition airspace
– Multi-aircraft trajectory preview display
– Datalink for information exchange and trajectory clearances
– Toolbar for clearance input, datalink, and display control
 TRACON tools and display support for self-spacing
– Spacing interval advisory
– History circles for conformance monitoring
 Human-in-the-loop simulation with pilots and controllers
– Dallas-Fort Worth airspace - ~ 8 North West en route &
TRACON sectors
– Arrival rush problem - ~ 90 aircraft
– Multi-fidelity aircraft simulators with advanced avionics

Mark G. Ballin 21/18

Air Traffic Control Automation for DAG-TM
CPDLC capability

“shortcut” window

Color coded arrivals & overflights CTAS conflict list

“dwelled” aircraft Trial plan

highlighting conflict list

Speed advisories Route trial planning

FMS route display

TMA timeline

Need some labels for the items Data

on this entry
slide. & display toolbar

Mark G. Ballin 22/18

Strategic and Tactical Airborne
Conflict Management
FY2002 Piloted Simulation of Autonomous Aircraft Operations, NASA Air Traffic Operations Laboratory

Constrained En-Route Scenario

(b) Varied proximity of
(a) Varied “Special Use Airspace”
standard for

density: Waypoint with
15 -18 a/c required time
per 10K nm2 of arrival

0 100 nm
Red bars: number and percentage of pilots that experienced
at least one 2nd generation conflict

Research objective: Investigate strategic and tactical conflict management tools in

close proximity to traffic, airspace hazards, and traffic flow management constraints
• Safe achievement of flight operational objectives was not affected by (a) reducing lateral aircraft
separation requirements or (b) significantly constraining the available airspace for maneuvering
• Use of strategic conflict management techniques strongly reduced the propagation of traffic
conflicts by accounting for all regional constraints and hazards in the conflict solution
Mark G. Ballin 23/18
Airborne Spacing Flight Evaluation

Flight activity recently completed at

Chicago O’Hare
– Validation of full-mission simulator
study results, which showed large
benefits achievable and very low
impacts on flight crew workload
– Vectoring scenarios (reflection of
current day operations)
 Aircraft followed ground track of
leading aircraft, which was vectored by
Initial Analysis
– Results very comparable to
simulation, even in presence of widely
varying winds (35+ knot tailwind to
headwind changes on final)
– Spacing Performance
 Most runs accurate to ±3 seconds at
threshold crossing; many within 1
second (~200 ft)

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