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May 16, 2000

John Bluck

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

650/604-5026 or 650/604-9000

June Malone

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL




Ridding helicopters of irritating "bop-bop" noises during approach to landing is one of many innovations that NASA will recognize during a 7:30 p.m. CDT, May 18 ceremony in the Marriott Hotel, Huntsville, AL, to honor 1999 aerospace advances.

NASA will honor research teams from across the agency and industry which have developed outstanding aeronautics and space transportation technologies last year that are "turning goals into realities." Six of the numerous awards will be presented to scientists from NASA Ames Research Center, in California's Silicon Valley, and their research partners.

"We have shown that we can eliminate the most annoying 'bop-bop' noise, due to 'blade slap,' that occurs on all tiltrotors and helicopters when they are approaching landings," said Short Haul Civil Tiltrotor project manager, John Zuk, of NASA Ames. Tiltrotor aircraft are airplanes that, like helicopters, take off and land vertically, but whose rotors/engines rotate into a horizontal position for horizontal flight. "We demonstrated this noise reduction on tiltrotor blades in the world's largest wind tunnel at Ames, and we expect the improvement to be used on future tiltrotors."

The award for reducing helicopter (rotorcraft) and tiltrotor noise will be shared by NASA Ames and NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA. "These awards recognize NASA and industry teams for their valuable contributions to the aerospace industry and the public," said Ames Associate Director for Aerospace Michael Dudley.

Other Ames-related award-winning projects include a test of high temperature materials that engineers say is a step towards revolutionizing reentry of aircraft and spacecraft into Earth's atmosphere; and measures to counter airplane pilot fatigue.

Ames also will receive awards for a computer tool to improve airport efficiency; and a new supercomputer airplane design method that rapidly suggests design improvements to engineers. Ames will share another award with NASA Langley for a system to safely allow aircraft to laterally fly closer together.

"We studied pilot fatigue, and ways of detecting it during aircraft flight," said David Neri, research psychologist at NASA Ames and team leader of the Fatigue Countermeasures Project. "We also made suggestions to the Federal Aviation Administration on crew duty and rest regulations, and we worked to transfer our findings to industry," he added.

Another Ames winner is the Collaborative Arrival Planner (CAP), a software system that provides airlines with very accurate estimates of aircraft arrival times. The software also provides air carriers with air traffic management information such as how many airplanes can land per hour at a given airport and which runways are in use.

"The arrival information allows air carriers to make better informed decisions about managing their fleets," said CAP Project Manager Gregory Carr of NASA Ames. "For example, during bad weather, accurate arrival estimates enable airlines to avoid costly aircraft diversions," Carr said. "Recent studies by several airlines indicate that the average cost of a single diversion can be as high as $150,000," he added. American Airlines and Delta Airlines are using CAP at Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport, TX.

Founded in 1997, the awards program recognizes advances in three categories, Global Civil Aviation, Revolutionary Technology Leaps and Advanced Space Transportation. Ten subcategories honor nominees whose work represents exceptional achievements related to health, safety, the environment, cost reduction and technical innovation.

Other awards from across NASA and the aerospace industry include those for aviation emissions reduction, next generation experimental aircraft, low cost access to space and other categories. A complete overview of the awards, details about the research and a full list of the participating NASA Centers and industry organizations to be honored is on the Internet at the "Turning Goals into Reality" web site at:



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