Available Technology

Air traffic management evaluation tool

Methods for evaluating and implementing air traffic management tools and approaches for managing and avoiding an air traffic incident before the incident occurs. A first system receives parameters for flight plan configurations (e.g., initial fuel carried, flight route, flight route segments followed, flight altitude for a given flight route segment, aircraft velocity for each flight route segment, flight route ascent rate, flight route descent route, flight departure site, flight departure time, flight arrival time, flight destination site and/or alternate flight destination site), flight plan schedule, expected weather along each flight route segment, aircraft specifics, airspace (altitude) bounds for each flight route segment, navigational aids available. The invention provides flight plan routing and direct routing or wind optimal routing, using great circle navigation and spherical Earth geometry. The invention provides for aircraft dynamics effects, such as wind effects at each altitude, altitude changes, airspeed changes and aircraft turns to provide predictions of aircraft trajectory (and, optionally, aircraft fuel use). A second system provides several aviation applications using the first system. Several classes of potential incidents are analyzed and averted, by appropriate change en route of one or more parameters in the flight plan configuration, as provided by a conflict detection and resolution module and/or traffic flow management modules. These applications include conflict detection and resolution, miles-in trail or minutes-in-trail aircraft separation, flight arrival management, flight re-routing, weather prediction and analysis and interpolation of weather variables based upon sparse measurements. The invention combines these features to provide an aircraft monitoring system and an aircraft user system that interact and negotiate changes with each other.
Patent Abstract: 
The NASA Ames Research Center offers the opportunity to license FACET, a flexible software tool for air traffic management. With thousands of planes flying overhead in the U.S. at any given time, there is an urgent need for tools that help avoid air traffic incidents and delays. To help air traffic control centers improve airline safety and efficiency, NASA developed FACET, a system software for performing powerful computational simulations for evaluating advanced concepts of air-traffic management. It includes a program that generates a graphical user interface plus programs and databases that implement computational models of weather, airspace, airports, navigation aids, aircraft performance, and aircraft trajectories.

Effectively decreases airline accidents via routing


Air traffic management

Development of enhanced flightrouting strategies for saving fuel, perserving airline schedules, and reducing passenger delays and missed connections


Shon Grabbe, Kapil S. Sheth, Gano Broto Chatterji, Karl D. Bilimoria, John F. Schipper, Banavar Sridhar

Patent Number: 
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
Patent Status: 
Patent Issue Date: 
November 16, 2012
Far West
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