The ATD-1 project team, with the three test aircraft – Credit NASA
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ATMOSPHERE is part of a team awarded a prestigious Group Achievement Award by NASA for ground-breaking research into interval management.
Led by BOEING Research, the Air Traffic Management (ATM) Technology Demonstration 1 project, or ATD-1, involved contributions from HONEYWELL, UNITED AIRLINES, JEPPESEN, and ATMOSPHERE.
ATMOSPHERE’s crucial contribution was to create traffic and situation awareness, using PLANET software. The system used inflight connectivity to transmit ADS-B data from the three test aircraft and all surrounding aircraft, creating a real-time display of aircraft position, all relevant information about that aircraft, location of airspace and route structures, as well as weather and wind conditions.
The most critical use of PLANET was by the Flight Test Director, who was aboard one of the aircraft and had the responsibility of coordinating the correct sequence of test runs between the three aircraft and the air traffic control facilities. Brian Baxley, the NASA Principal Investigator of the experiment, said : “Without the real-time and constant traffic and situation awareness that PLANET provided, the Flight Test Director could not have conducted the flight test in the safe and efficient manner that it was.”
The PLANET display was also used aboard all three aircraft by flight crew and researchers, and in the flight test coordination room set up at a Boeing Commercial Aircraft facility. Additionally, it was used by observers at NASA Langley and Ames Research Centers, as well as the NASA and FAA Headquarters during the two-month flight test campaign.
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The ATD-1 Flight Director using PLANET during a test flight – Credit NASA