NASA, Global Hawk Pilots Team Up

Three Global Hawk instructor pilots from Beale AFB, Calif., partnered with NASA engineers to research ways to integrate remotely piloted aircraft into the national air space, announced Beale officials. NASA has launched a five-year $150 million research project for this purpose. In January, the instructor pilots provided “input for sense-and-avoid displays under development,” stated the Feb. 11 release. The displays will be fine-tuned and used in a future simulation with additional Beale-based Global Hawk pilots, which “will provide critical data on how a pilot uses a sense-and-avoid system to remain safely separated from other aircraft,” said Eric Mueller, a project engineer on one of the research teams. NASA’s research will seek a “safe separation of aircraft, human-machine interface, communication spectrum utilization, and certification challenges,” said Col. Paul Fast, commander of the 701st Combat Operations Squadron at March ARB, Calif. The NASA project is supporting a congressional mandate for the Federal Aviation Administration “to address the safe and efficient integration of [RPAs] into the national airspace,” it stated.