NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 A3.01-9231
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Next Generation Air-Traffic Management
PROPOSAL TITLE: Revolutionary Wake Hazard Assessment Tool

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Continuum Dynamics, Inc.
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ 08618-2302

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Todd R. Quackenbush
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ 08618-2302

Continuum Dynamics, Inc. (CDI) has developed a Multiple Aircraft Simulation Tool (MAST) that revolutionizes the ability to predict and assess wake interactions associated with multiple aircraft operating in the vicinity of one another. This tool incorporates CDI's state-of-the-art free-vortex wake modeling methods and aircraft wake diffusion and dissipation models within established flight simulation technology. This new technology is ideally suited to support the U.S. air traffic management system in evaluating methods to safely improve operational efficiency. The proposed effort is to enhance and repackage this technology in a manner targeted directly toward modeling "series" and "parallel" fixed (and rotary) wing aircraft approach patterns. The large body of recent data obtained from field tests and advanced CFD will be utilized to provide a new level of accuracy and efficiency in the prediction of the influence of turbulence, wind shear, stratification and ground effect on vortex wake evolution and decay. The final tool will be unprecedented in its range of application, accuracy and ease of use in modeling the wake interactions of multiple fixed wing and rotary-wing aircraft operating in a terminal area environment and will be ideal for planning and evaluating NASA's multiple corridor and simultaneous non-interference operational concepts.

The proposed analysis would extend NASA's ability to evaluate potential air traffic patterns from the viewpoint of wake hazard. The tool would assist greatly in design and evaluation of new operational concepts, reducing or eliminating the need for expensive flight tests while providing a means for assessing pilot workload. The tool will be particularly useful in evaluating potential multiple corridor air traffic patterns and simultaneous non-interfering operations made possible with the implementation of NASA's WakeVAS system. This has the potential to provide a significant increase in airport capacity which is one of NASA's most important strategic objectives.

The proposed tool will be of great use to the FAA and U.S. airports as well as NASA, as new air traffic patterns and operation procedures are evaluated in terms of safety and increased capacity. Coupling of a real-time version of the analysis into the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system could lead to improved predictions and display of wake hazard conditions. The tool would also be useful to aircraft manufacturers in assessing the impact of aircraft design on wake hazard issues as well as to contractors designing upgraded wake safety crew advisory systems.