NASA and Boeing have formed a partnership to develop new aviation technologies which could ensure safe flights. The new initiative could significantly reduce air accidents.
The Space Act Agreement signed by NASA and the Boeing has been meant to improve flight training and aviation safety using NASA's synthetic vision technologies and Boeing's 787 simulators.
A research based on these tools will test pilots' awareness and reactions to unplanned situations. A group of 24 junior pilots from the Avianca Airlines in Columbia will undergo training to use the synthetic vision technologies which equip them to handle adverse conditions, including bad weather, higher levels of aviation traffic and the challenges caused by unpiloted vehicles.
Kyle Ellis, NASA research technical lead, said, "We're looking at training for attention management, advanced upset recovery technologies and combined vision technologies... We want to equip them with the greatest intelligent flight systems available to be able to cope with all of these different adverse conditions."
The newly developing systems are meant to replace the currently used attitude indicators which are infamous for confusing pilots during adverse weather and other critical conditions.
Reports say that a significant number of air accidents have been caused by bad weather conditions or due to pilots' mistakes. Ellis stated that the synthetic vision systems are weather-immune displays that allow the pilot to see what the world looks like in perfect weather conditions all the time.
The newly developed combined vision system is a merger of synthetic vision and the enhanced flight vision systems. The synthetic vision system generates the precise and clear view of the regions based on the already available data, whereas the enhanced flight vision system uses the forward-looking infrared systems and millimeter wave radar to give a clear and overall view of the real conditions around the aircraft. Combined interpretation of these visuals could give clear knowledge to the pilot about his environment.
Earlier, the pilots faced hardship to evaluate the information and execute appropriate actions during stressful conditions. But with the introduction of new technology, the pilot could see the outside world as it is and could make decisions based on more precise technical calculations.
The new technology, which could help pilots to see more than what he could see, would be tested at Boeing's Miami training facilities in late 2017.
Meanwhile, NASA and the Boeing have also been working on Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) project to develop a technology to bend the wings of aircrafts during its flights. NASA Engineers from Spanwise Adaptive Wing (SAW) project are researching on a shape memory alloy (SMA), an engineered nickel-titanium alloy that can be trained to return to a desired shaped after deformation by applying heat. The researchers believe that the SMA could be used for the revolutionary changes in the aviation sector.
Boeing had earlier used the SMA in its eco Demonstrator aircraft during its flight test program in 2012. The authorities said that flight test of Prototype-Technology Evaluation and Research Aircraft (PTERA) which has been developed by the combined research, would be held at the end of 2017 from the NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.