Hughes Training is to install new control-tower simulation software at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, to help determine the potential of new equipment and processes on air-traffic control (ATC) at some of the USA's busiest airports.

Software provided by Hughes Training will be integrated with NASA simulation hardware to support radar and out-the-tower visual simulation over a 360 degrees horizontal field-of-view. Up to 30 major US airports will be covered initially.

The system will be used to develop ways to reduce fuel used by aircraft on the ground by developing more efficient taxi routes for aircraft and improving gate usage operations. Hughes Training managing director for ATC simulation, Bob Anderson, says that the system will "provide increased safety and operational efficiency for the nation's air-traffic-control system, reducing operating costs for air carriers at US airports by hundreds of millions of dollars per year."

Tower-simulation studies at Ames will also enable recommended procedure and hardware changes to be tested and evaluated with- in a real-time ATC environment while posing no danger to the travelling public, says Anderson.

Hughes Training will also participate in research studies to enhance the performance, usability and effectiveness of the tower-simulation software and will make periodic software updates during the five-year agreement.

Hughes Training will deliver its latest version of air-traffic-control tower simulation software to Ames early this year.

Source: Flight International