LANGLEY PROJECTS RECOGNIZED
NASA honors innovations with special awards
A technology that could help reduce turbulence-related injuries
and make airline passengers and crews safer and more comfortable
will be recognized by NASA at a national aerospace conference next
A list of NASA research advances for the year 2002 singled out
that project and a number of other innovations developed at NASA's
Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
The Turbulence Prediction and Warning System or TPAWS has won
the "Revolutionize Aviation Award" to be handed out at the
Turning Goals into Reality 2003 Conference by the NASA Office of
Aerospace Technology. TPAWS is an enhanced turbulence detection
radar system, designed to predict turbulence associated with stormy
A NASA research aircraft, based at Langley, went searching for
thunderstorms over an eight-week period. The 757 Airborne Research
Integrated Experiments System (ARIES) was equipped with the
experimental radar system which detects atmospheric turbulence by
measuring the motions of the moisture in the air.
To see how well the TPAWS performed, the 757 and its crew had to
find the kind of bumpy weather most airline passengers find
uncomfortable. ARIES flew within a safe distance of storms, so
researchers could experience the turbulence and compare what the
radar predicted versus what the plane encountered.
The flight tests showed the system did it was designed to do. It
detected turbulence not seen by the plane’s conventional
Langley engineers also received honors for three other projects:
Synthetic Vision research, an airborne technology to reduce delays
and high-tech foam creation.
Synthetic Vision Systems would address the single largest
contributing factor in fatal worldwide airline and general aviation
crashes: limited visibility. NASA engineers are developing an
advanced cockpit display that will give pilots a clear
3-dimensional electronic picture of the terrain outside, even at
night and in bad weather.
To help determine what information is most effective for pilots
Langley researchers on the Terrain Portrayal for Head-Down Displays
Simulation and Flight Test Team created an effective low-cost
simulator using mostly commercial off-the-shelf technology to show
pilots their display concepts. Then NASA equipped a single-engine
Cessna 206 with an experimental Synthetic Vision system to test
pilots in real-life scenarios.
To help reduce delays at airports, another group of Langley
engineers developed a computer-based aircraft tool to allow
airplanes to more precisely space on approach and landing.
They evaluated the Advanced Terminal Area Approach Spacing
system using the NASA 757 and two other specially equipped
airplanes at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
The demonstration confirmed the concept, that if planes can
maintain precise spacing, more will be able to land on time
especially during high demand periods like bad weather.
Finally, Langley’s developments in materials are expected
to make spacecraft lighter in the future. One of those
substances is a high-tech foam called TEEK that can take many forms
and be made into dozens of different products.
Originally developed as a high-performance structural material
for spacecraft, TEEK can be used as a superior flame retardant for
fire protection, as heat or noise insulation or to reduce weight in
structures. One thingthat makes TEEK especially useful is its
ability to foam in place during installation and repair, greatly
reducinglabor and material waste costs.
This year's Turning Goals into Reality Conference theme is " The
Second Century of Flight: Technology Challenges and Opportunities."
The conference, to be held in Williamsburg, Va., June 10-12, will
focus on the technological challenges as well as the opportunities
that lie ahead for the aerospace community in the second century of
For more information about the Turning Goals into Reality 2003
conference, please check the Internet at: