Engility-supported tool promises to save airlines time and fuel with enhanced flight plans
Engility is celebrating its contributions to the Traffic Aware Planner application, which won NASA’s 2016 Software of the Year award. The team, which includes eight Engility employees and three NASA experts, was honored at the 2017 Patent and Technology Awards ceremony at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia on April 13, 2017.
“We are humbled and extremely pleased by this recognition,” said Kirk Dye, Engility’s Senior Vice President for Federal Civilian, “It’s an honor to support David Wing, principal investigator for the Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests, and all of NASA in their important, world-changing work. TAP really emphasizes the team’s elite position in prototype software development. We’ve been very fortunate to have been working with NASA for over 20 years and on the TASAR program since inception, and we look forward to many more years of great collaboration. ”
Engility’s chief research engineer on the program, Bob Vivona, was among those recognized. In 2016, he received an Exceptional Public Achievement Medal for his aeronautics engineering work on the program. The entire Engility team was recognized last year with a Group Achievement Award for successful test flights sporting the new software.
Traffic Aware Planner is a cockpit-based decision support software tool that enables pilots to identify more efficient routes while en-route—optimizing their choice of fuel or time or a combination of the two. NASA’s goal in testing is to refine the tool to generate courses that avoid traffic and undesirable weather in a format that is highly likely to gain quick acceptance from air traffic control. A 2014 NASA report states that TAP could save airlines up to 550 pounds of fuel per operation.
Using TAP, a pilot can receive avionics and broadband input for wind, traffic, airspace and weather information and thus determine the best routing based on fuel consumption and time to the destination. Several companies have approached NASA about evaluating the TAP software to determine the feasibility of commercializing the technology. This summer, the software will be deployed for use on several commercial flights, and NASA and Engility will help the airline evaluate performance data.