NIA has established a robust research program in support of the FAA. This program is conducted through three separate agreements:
Human Factors Research – We are currently in a follow-on “Other Transactions Agreement (OTA)” with the FAA to conduct leading-edge human factors research to support the FAA’s prime initiative, NextGen. Within this agreement, NIA leads important tasks related to relevant human factors areas such as:
- Maintenance induced maintenance support;
- Technical operations symbology standard;
- Air Traffic Control operational human performance assessment; and
- FAA airport alarms and alerts standard.
Completed tasks include:
- Aircrew, controllers, and maintenance personnel and their environments;
- Flight and ground operations (departure and arrival);
- Maintenance and equipage;
- Safety and training;
- NextGen planning and road-mapping; and
- Standards and administrative support.
NIA continues to lead an established team of leading-edge companies and subject matter experts (SMEs), who are highly skilled professionals in the fields of commercial, corporate, and general aviation. This cadre of expertise enables the necessary research of changes in roles and responsibilities between pilots and controllers, as well as the allocation of functions between humans and automation. NIA is providing essential research, studies, and solutions to help the FAA meet the developing requirements of NextGen, and the fundamental changes that will have profound effects in the cockpit and Air Traffic Control Centers, while benefiting the customers and stakeholders.
Weather Technology in the Cockpit (WTIC) – This OTA was recently initiated and encompasses the issues of bringing and utilizing enhanced weather data in the cockpit from the aircrew’s perspective. The product of this task will a Concept of Operations (ConOps) that will be a “living” document (a current assessment that will be open to future changes), rather than a traditional standard or regulation. To accomplish this, the following tasks are currently being undertaken:
- Diverse aspects of weather delivery, interpretation, and utilization by the aircrew
- Assorted scenarios that address the varied phases of flight operation
- Stakeholder adjudication
Wake Vortex Encounter Research – NIA is currently in the fifth year of the initial Cooperative Agreement with a follow-on agreement in development. This agreement enables continued Wake Vortex Encounter research with the goals being to:
- Conduct leading-edge research to accomplish broad FAA objectives through stimulating or supporting the acquisition of knowledge or understanding of the subject.
- Support graduate student research projects including tuition, stipend, and reasonable faculty advisor support.
- Initiate alliances that include industry, or other associate members, to concentrate research efforts on specific technical barrier problems.
As the FAA deploys NextGen, explores wake vortex concerns, requires innovative research into challenging human factors problems, and addresses a variety of emerging technical issues, such as weather data and aircrew interface, NIA is solidly positioned to assist the FAA in meeting its future goals.