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logo for the Federal Aviation AdministrationThe FAA continued in its mission to assure a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly civil air navigation and commercial space transportation system. During FY 2000, the agency performed and sponsored research and development programs to enhance the effectiveness of its mission; issued regulations and guidelines for better flight standards, operations, and maintenance; and provided equipment and training for a modernized air traffic control system.

During FY 2000, the FAA and NASA signed the “FAA-NASA Integrated Safety Research Plan,” a guide for future research collaboration between the two agencies. This plan builds on existing safety research initiatives. It introduces the ability to analyze the combined research portfolios in a simple, easy-to-understand format, including making needed programmatic adjustments. It describes how both NASA and FAA will achieve ongoing communication and coordination with respect to safety research in pursuit of common safety goals. This plan provides the framework to enable both agencies to make complementary, coordinated investment decisions.

In FY 2000, human factors scientists conducted research to enhance the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS) through improved performance of air carrier crews, general aviation pilots, aviation maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers, and NAS system maintenance technicians. The agency conducted aeromedical research with a focus on improving the health, safety, and survivability of aircraft passengers. The aviation medicine research program continued to support the 5-year National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health cabin environment study ordered by Congress. Research was conducted to address the FAA’s goal for an equivalent level of safety for all aircraft occupants with targeted areas including seats/restraints for infants and small children, and side-facing seats in corporate aircraft. Researchers continued to investigate the nature of in-flight medical emergencies and the use of defibrillators on commercial flights.

During the past year, the air carrier-training program conducted Line Oriented Safety Audits to collect data on antecedents to crew error, errors (including errors made in automation usage), and responses to error. Air carriers continued to use the results to understand crew performance, develop training programs, and analyze accidents and incidents. The model used in this program is an integral part of the Aviation Safety Analysis Program, a confidential reporting system that flight crews use to report incidents to their carriers. The air carrier-training program also conducted research to collect and analyze data regarding the relationship between simulator platform motion and its impact on training effectiveness. The general aviation research program produced two CD-ROMs that focus on preflight and inflight decisionmaking. Taken together, these training tools help to make pilots aware of methods to improve their judgment by developing personal strategies to control risk. Aviation maintenance research designed and delivered to air carriers a job aid, providing best practices for the design, production, and use of technical information with recommended incorporation of simplified English.

In FY 2000, the FAA initiated new research to adapt the military’s Human Factors Analysis and Classification System to assess aviation incidents and accidents. This project is integrated with a research project on human error by EUROCONTROL, a body established to harmonize air traffic in Europe. Research also addressed human-factor issues in runway incursions and completed a congressionally ordered review of the effect of fatigue and shift patterns in the air traffic control workforce. A new booklet entitled Human Factors for Air Traffic Control Specialists: A User’s Manual for Your Brain, provides helpful information on memory, pilot/controller communication, and threats to performance. The Human Factors program continued to enhance the performance of screeners through the development of Threat Image Projection software. This software, which is for both carry-on and checked baggage, improves screener training and enhances awareness. The program developed a networked Screener Readiness Test to be used in support of the proposed rule for the Certification of Screening Companies.

During FY 2000, the FAA released an upgraded version of the Emissions and Dispersion Modeling System (EDMS 3.2). EDMS is designed to assess the air quality impact of airport emission sources, particularly aviation sources consisting of aircraft, auxiliary power units, and ground-support equipment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formally accepted EDMS as the preferred air quality guideline model–EPA’s highest ranking. EDMS is FAA’s required model to perform air quality analyses for aviation sources. The FAA began development of a modeling System for assessing Aviation’s Global Emissions (SAGE). The SAGE model is planned as a forecasting system with a global aircraft emissions module as its main component. The FAA, in cooperation with the EPA, NOAA, and NASA, developed a fact sheet on condensation trails, or “contrails,” that are formed by aircraft in flight, describing the formation, occurrence, and effects of “contrails.” Also, the FAA released an upgraded version of the Integrated Noise Model (INM 6.0). INM is the FAA’s standard tool for assessing aircraft noise in the vicinity of airports; this is the most widely used model of its kind in the world.

In FY 2000, the FAA continued in its mission to develop and deploy products that prevent explosives, weapons, and other threat material from being introduced on to aircraft. Major areas of concentration included certification testing, checked and carry-on baggage screening, using bulk and trace explosives detection, human factors, aircraft hardening, Aviation Security Technology Integration (ASTI), and airport deployment of systems by the security equipment integrated product team. The Aviation Security Laboratory (ASL) conducted certification tests on the InVision CTX 9000Dsi Explosives Detection System (EDS) production unit and the L3 eXaminer 3DX 6000 unit. Both systems passed agency tests. Bulk detection research included additional work in quadrupole resonance and x-ray diffraction techniques. The ASL evaluated 2 new Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) models that are now deployed at over 170 locations.

Other activities in FY 2000 included development of quality control standards for deployed ETD systems. As an alternative for EDSs at smaller airports, ASL conducted an evaluation of directed trace. This involves x-ray identification of target items to be directly screened by trace systems. As a follow-on, the ASL initiated the Argus program for the development of a lower-cost EDS. This system would also be automated and have the same performance requirements, except for lower throughput. In the area of personnel screening, three ETD portal prototypes and the evaluation of two bulk detection portals were completed. The ASL evaluated several large cargo inspection systems and a large bulk EDS for break-bulk cargo.

The agency also established an explosives standard system (Trace Personnel Standard-Dry Transfer Method) enabling the evaluation of emerging explosives trace detection technology. In addition, the FAA completed the screener selection test assessment and fielded 6 perceptual and cognitive tests at 18 major U.S. airports. The objective was to develop a screener aptitude test to predict future performance of checkpoint security screener candidates. The FAA provided over 250 copies of the BlastFX software tool to Government agencies. Blast/FX is a self-contained software package that can be used to model and analyze the effects of a blast on facilities. The FAA also conducted two Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Baggage Tag trials in conjunction with United and Continental Airlines. The tests provided critical operational performance information to support airline efforts to develop an international standard for RFID Baggage Tag use.

In FY 2000, the Aircraft Hardening Program conducted a series of explosive tests on B-737 and B-747 aircraft under pressurized conditions for the purpose of refining the vulnerability criteria for carry-on luggage. The program evaluated hardened luggage containers following flight trials. Blast tests with containers holding mail also were completed. The ASTI Program is developing a Systems Security Architecture which looks at the integration of a total airport security system. Work continued on the Airport Security Construction Guidelines project to provide a ready reference for security issues in new airport construction or for major renovations. The SEIPT deploys equipment at our Nation’s airports. This fiscal year, 24 EDS’s and 118 ETD’s were installed. In addition, 476 TIP Ready X-ray (TRX) systems were procured for future installation.

During the fiscal year, the agency worked with the aviation industry to update the National Airspace System Plan through the year 2015. The plan is based on the “Free Flight” operational concept in which pilots may choose the most efficient and economical routes to their destinations. The agency continued to acquire new automation systems for the national airspace system by installing the Host and Oceanic Computer System Replacement at its 20 air traffic control centers and 3 oceanic centers. The system provides information on aircraft movements throughout domestic and oceanic airspace and is faster and more reliable than the predecessor system. The agency also deployed the Display System Replacement to 8 en route centers, replacing 30-year-old equipment and providing enhanced capability to display aircraft position, identification, and weather information, as well as to monitor and control system equipment and support planned enhancements to the air traffic control environment.

Following the successful use in FY 2000 of a system called the Surface Movement Advisor, which optimizes vehicular activity on airport pavement, the FAA made two major upgrades to its User Request Evaluation Tool (URET) at the Indianapolis and Memphis air route traffic control centers. URET provides controllers with automatic conflict detection, trial planning for assistance with conflict resolution or user requests, conformance monitoring of current flight trajectory, and some electronic flight data capability. FAA and NASA researchers also continued joint efforts on air traffic management systems that will enhance the capacity and efficiency of the national airspace system and enable Free Flight Phase 1. In addition, Air Traffic Control/Airway Facilities research, through collaboration with NASA and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, continued assessing the impact of shared separation procedures in a Free Flight environment on pilot and controller performance, workload, and situation awareness.

The Safe Flight 21 program, a joint Government/industry initiative designed to validate the capabilities of advanced communication, navigation, and surveillance, as well as air traffic procedures associated with free flight, began demonstrating Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology. In July 2000, 25 aircraft from the Cargo Airline Association, the FAA, avionics manufacturers, universities, the U.S. Navy, and NASA participated in a flight demonstration to begin testing ADS-B. UPS Aviation Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, demonstrated its proposed avionics equipment in Bethel, Alaska. As a result of that test, the FAA awarded a $3.9 million contract to UPS Aviation Technologies for state-of-the-art avionics systems, installation kits, terrain databases, ground-based transceivers, an avionics-training simulator, and training assistance.

The FAA continued progress toward implementation of the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) that will provide availability, integrity, and accuracy for the Global Positioning System (GPS) to be used for en route navigation and precision civilian navigation. During the fiscal year, the agency completed a series of Category I precision approach test flights at Iceland’s Keflavik Airport, using signals from both the FAA’s WAAS testbed and the United Kingdom’s Northern European Satellite Test Bed. The FAA leased three ground reference stations and a master station to the Chilean government for flight testing satellite navigation in Chile. The Chilean government outfitted an aircraft with a GPS receiver to fly precision and nonprecision Category 1 Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago. With support from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the FAA also installed and tested a WAAS test reference station at Singapore Changi Airport.

In FY 2000, the FAA developed and installed in all FAA, DoD, and National Weather Service Next-Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) systems, an advanced algorithm that detects tornadoes early in their development and shows where they will move. The agency installed on the prototype Integrated Terminal Weather System at the Orlando Terminal Radar Control a convective growth and decay forecast product, which not only predicts thunderstorm movement, based on the storm’s track, but also includes the effects of storm growth and decay.

The FAA transferred to industry its Weather Support to Deicing Decision Making (WSDDM) system, a stand-alone integrated display system developed in response to industry’s need for accurate, local weather data to plan and conduct airport deicing operations. The FAA began using the system at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. WSDDM uses Doppler radar, surface weather station data, and snow gauges located at and near the airport to determine precipitation type, temperature, wind speed and direction, and the liquid water equivalent of snow. The agency, in conjunction with industry, installed the first commercial infrared deicing facility at Newark International Airport in New Jersey.

The agency continued its development of a centralized database of these icing conditions and acquired data from several foreign locations, including South America, in order to facilitate a better understanding of worldwide Supercooled Large Droplet (SLD) icing conditions which affect aircraft flight safety. Also, the FAA sponsored investigatory efforts to assess the time of effectiveness of aircraft deicing fluids during various freezing precipitation conditions and, in conjunction with Transport Canada and industry, provided time of effectiveness information in a set of holdover time guidelines which are used by airlines worldwide.

During the fiscal year, the FAA and NASA expanded integrated efforts to reduce the fatal commercial accident rate by 80 percent by the year 2026. As part of its safety efforts, the FAA continued advanced research activities in a number of critical aviation safety areas. Based on stringent fire test criteria developed by FAA researchers, the FAA issued two major regulatory changes in FY 2000 regarding aircraft thermal acoustic insulation. An airworthiness directive requires the replacement of insulation blankets in over 700 aircraft. Also, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposed new insulation fire test criteria which address both inflight fire resistance and postcrash fuel fire burnthrough protection. The FAA’s focus on ground-based measures for fuel tank explosion prevention was bolstered by the findings of a detailed cost analysis completed in FY 2000 that demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of this concept.

In partnership with the Naval Air Systems Command and the Office of Naval Research, the FAA began development of Arc Fault Circuit Breakers (AFCB) which will replace thermal circuit breakers currently in use. Unlike thermal breakers, AFCB’s can detect electrical arcing and rapidly remove power to the affected circuit, drastically reducing the chances of fire and related damage. AFCB prototypes were successfully tested aboard the FAA B-727. Also, in support of the Aging Transport Systems Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ATSRAC), the FAA completed intrusive wiring inspections of six recently retired transport aircraft. Researchers removed samples from the aircraft and subjected them to an extensive battery of laboratory tests.

In October 1999, the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center subjected a fully instrumented narrow-body transport airplane fuselage section with an on-board conformable auxiliary fuel tank to a vertical drop impact test. Postcrash fuel-fed fire is a major contributor to the fatal accident rate. The objective of the test was to determine the interaction between a typical transport airplane fuselage, particularly its floor structure, and this type of fuel tank under severe, but survivable, impact conditions.

The agency completed construction of the full-scale Aircraft Structural Test Evaluation and Research facility which is being used to test fuselage panel specimens under conditions representative of those seen by an aircraft in actual operation. In FY 2000, the FAA released a computerized design tool, the Repair Assessment Procedure and Integrated Design for Commuters (RAPIDC), that will improve the safety of airframe structures of commuter-size airplanes by implementing damage tolerance analysis techniques. The release of RAPIDC is in direct support of the agency’s Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking on aging airplane safety.

Also in FY 2000, the agency released a software code called Design Assessment of Reliability with Inspection that is designed to improve the structural integrity of turbine engine rotor disks used in commercial aircraft engines by assessing rotor design and life management. The FAA and the Helicopter Association International developed and released a Web-based Maintenance Malfunction Information Reporting system which allows helicopter operators and repair stations to fulfill FAA Service Difficulty Reporting requirements and create manufacturer warranty claim forms. Researchers at the Airworthiness Assurance Center of Excellence located at the FAA Technical Center completed a first- generation, PC-version of XRSIM, which simulates radiographic (X-ray) inspection of aircraft components and is used during the development of inspection procedures to optimize radiographic inspections. The agency also developed the Web-based Air Personnel Module of Safety Performance Analysis System, which expedites the Aviation Safety Inspector’s activities in the areas of certification, recertification, surveillance, and investigation by providing readily accessible information from a variety of data sources and highlighting important information.

In May 2000, in cooperation with the rotorcraft industry, the FAA released the Rotorcraft Damage Tolerance R&D Roadmap, identifying 10 critical research areas to support the implementation of damage tolerance requirements in the design and certification of rotorcraft components. In June 2000, the FAA completed the integration of the U.S. Army, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and FAA rotorcraft accident/incident databases. It also utilized several mining technologies to perform problem identification and countermeasure evaluation for rotorcraft.

The FAA and several Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 air carriers developed a system engineering model of the generic functions of air carrier operations, the Air Carrier Operations System Model (ACOSM), Version 1.0. The ACOSM serves to support a systems approach to aviation safety oversight since it was used in the development of safety performance measures, risk indicators, and data objects; work processes to support the collection of data for analysis; and analytical methods, including information presentation. The model also provides a common definition of air carrier processes and terminology to promote understanding of air carrier operational activities and functions.

In October 1999, the FAA and the Boeing Corporation completed the first set of full-scale pavement response tests at the National Airport Pavement Test Facility that was designed to provide high-quality, accelerated test data from rigid and flexible pavements subjected to simulated aircraft traffic. Full-scale traffic testing started in February 2000.

The FAA established a Video Landing Loads Facility at Atlantic City International Airport where high-resolution video images of typical landings are recorded. Researchers analyzed digitized images to obtain landing contact parameters, such as sink speed, velocity, pitch, roll, and yaw. This facility provides typical usage data to characterize the landing load environment for a wide variety of airplane models in both good and bad weather conditions at this airport. At the end of the fiscal year, over 800 video images had been captured.

The FAA published its initial commuter airplane Operational Loads Monitoring report, “Statistical Loads Data for BE-1900D Aircraft in Commuter Operation.” The output from the Operational Loads Monitoring research provides validation for airframe certification requirements and advisory materials. This research independently assesses the original equipment manufacturers’ design assumptions and aircraft usage analysis. Also in FY 2000, the FAA published an Operational Loads Monitoring report for the B-767ER airplane.

In conjunction with Sandia National Labs, the FAA completed a reliability study of an interlayer crack inspection technique commonly used on older aircraft. The study found that target flaw sizes around 0.2 inches were not being found reliably. Briefings with industry and the Aircraft Certification Office have led to efforts to reassess specific inspection requirements. FAA sponsored research that resulted in development of a new nondestructive testing technique and a prototype, the Meandering Winding Magnetometer. This technology has been proven to be superior to other techniques for finding cracks in areas of engine disks, which have experienced fretting damage. In addition, the FAA with Sandia National Labs, Textron, and Federal Express personnel installed composite doubler repairs on two DC-10 aircraft in the FedEx fleet. This is the first use of bonded composite doublers as permanent repairs for skin damage in commercial aircraft. Also, during the fiscal year, FAA with Iowa State University developed a prototype semiautomated tap test system with imaging capability and turned this system over to industry for beta testing.

The initial research effort by the FAA’s Airworthiness Assurance Center of Excellence to investigate copper and silver sulfide deposits on fuel quantity indication systems (such as what apparently contributed to the TWA flight 800 accident) was completed and a report issued. The deposit growth mechanism has been characterized and reproduced in the laboratory, and ignition of fuel across the reproduced deposits with DC current has been demonstrated in the laboratory.

Research on the risk arising from an uncontained engine failure has resulted in the release of a beta version of the uncontained engine debris damage assessment model. This software tool utilizes engine fragment trajectory data derived from actual events to predict the risk to an aircraft’s critical flight systems. Researchers continued to evaluate generic airplane designs with this tool in support of an Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee.

In FY 2000, the FAA issued a Wildlife Control Manual that provides means to mitigate the wildlife threat. This manual is based on extensive research over the last 10 years.

In FY 2000, the FAA and the general aviation industry continued their collaborative efforts to find a new fuel to replace current leaded aviation gasoline. The FAA role is testing and evaluating of industry-supplied fuels. FAA’s piston engine testing capability was significantly upgraded at the William J. Hughes Technical Center with the addition of a new dynamometer and control system, as well as a temperature/humidity conditioned air supply for the main test cell. These improvements will enable more timely responses on the part of FAA as new fuel formulations are provided for evaluation. Testing began on an experimental fuel formulation supplied by Exxon Research.

FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation licensed two successful space launches by Sea Launch during the fiscal year. These were the first licensed launches without any involvement from a Federal launch range. Overall, there were 18 launches during the fiscal year that were FAA licensed as commercial, although 2 were failures. The agency also issued a launch operator license to Orbital Sciences Corporation for the first commercial launches from Kwajalein Missile Range operated by the U.S. Army in the Marshall Islands, and renewed five launch operator licenses.

The FAA and NASA signed a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Future Space Transportation Systems which describes the FAA/NASA cooperative activities that will be conducted under the category of Future Space Transportation Systems and Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Technology, Research, and Development. Also, the agency and its Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee released the 1999 Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts, which projects an average total of 51 commercial space launches per year through 2010, an increase of over 40 percent from the 36 commercial launches conducted worldwide in 1998. In addition, the agency issued final rules on financial responsibility requirements for licensed launch activities and commercial transportation licensing regulation. FAA also issued Notices of Proposed Rulemaking on commercial space transportation reusable launch vehicle and reentry licensing regulation, licensing and safety requirements for operation of a launch site, and financial responsibility requirements for licensed reentry activities. Also in FY 2000, the FAA published a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Commercial Launch Vehicle Programs as part of its responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act.



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