ATD Planning

At CSAOB, we have developed the concept of Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR). TASAR is an application of airborne trajectory management technology (similar to that developed for our research into airborne autonomy and AFR). Designed for current-day operations, TASAR provides operators with immediate flight-optimization benefits while initiating a path toward future operator autonomy in the National Airspace System. With TASAR, pilots make informed requests to Air Traffic Control (ATC) for route changes that re-optimize the flight while taking constraints such as traffic, weather, and restricted airspace into account.

Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) is NASA’s prototype TASAR automation system. An advisory tool for pilots, TAP identifies route changes that reduce fuel burn, flight time, or overall operating costs, while remaining compatible with operational constraints for increased likelihood of ATC approval. A powerful pattern-based genetic algorithm processes 400-800 reroute candidates every minute. Lateral, vertical, and “combo” advisories and associated time/fuel outcomes are displayed to the pilots for selection through an easy to use touch-screen interface. TAP was awarded NASA Software of the Year in 2016. A video about the technology can be found here:

ATD Program

TAP leverages the emerging “connected aircraft” revolution, specifically the connectivity of the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) to avionics and broadband internet. The avionics interface provides TAP real-time access to the aircraft’s current state, active route, and data from onboard receivers and sensors. A key sensor is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast receiver, or ADS-B IN, which gives TAP its “traffic aware” attribute of avoiding local traffic when optimizing the route. Broadband internet connectivity provides TAP access to the most recent data on the airspace operating environment, including wind forecasts, weather data, and Special Use Airspace (SUA) activation status. TAP uses these internal/external data inputs to enhance its powerful route optimization algorithms. TAP’s modern Human Machine Interface (HMI) was developed using a human-centered, iterative design process. To facilitate pilot training, CSAOB developed an interactive computer based trainer for TAP that is compatible with most airline Learning Management Systems. The TAP software design is compatible with modern Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) tablets and diverse architectures. TAP has been evaluated by airline pilots in high-fidelity simulations and flight tests.

TASAR has many beneficial attributes. TASAR is consistent with current operations and requires no changes to existing FAA systems, policies, roles, and training. By having a non-safety-critical intended function, TASAR is compatible with FAA approval requirements for Type B EFB applications. The per-aircraft capability of TASAR allows gradual implementation across fleets with immediate benefits and savings for each aircraft equipped. Leveraging the aircrew’s relatively low workload during en route flight, TASAR provides more opportunities to accrue benefits. High growth potential of TASAR is anticipated, serving as a platform for future innovations in cockpit automation and enabling increased integration with avionics, dispatch, new data sources, and ATC via data communications.
TASAR has reached a state of maturity where it is ready for operational trials and technology transfer to industry. NASA is partnering with Alaska Airlines to conduct an operational evaluation in revenue service. The software has been installed on three of Alaska’s B737-900ER aircraft and is being evaluated by pilots in flight. The TAP software is available to industry for commercialization. For more information, please visit NASA’s Technology Gateway.


1. Ballin, M.G. and Wing, D.J. (2012). “Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR),” AIAA-2012-5623, AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference (Indianapolis, IN, 2012), AIAA, Washington, DC.

2. Henderson, J. Idris, H. and Wing, D.J. (2012). “Preliminary Benefits Assessment of Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR),” AIAA-2012-5684, AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference (Indianapolis, IN, 2012), AIAA, Washington, DC.

3. Maris, J., Haynes, M., Wing, D., Burke, K., Henderson, J., and Woods, S. (2014). “Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) Flight Evaluation,” AIAA-2014-2166, AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference (Atlanta, GA, 2014), AIAA, Washington, DC.

4. Kozco, S. (2015). “TASAR Certification and Operational Approval Requirements – Analyses and Results,” NASA/CR-2015-218708, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.

5. Wing, D.J. (2015). “Achieving TASAR Operational Readiness,” AIAA-2015-3400, 15th AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference (Dallas, TX, 2015), AIAA, Washington, DC.

6. Cotton, W.B., Hilb, R., Koczo, S., and Wing, D.J. (2016). “A Vision and Roadmap for Increasing User Autonomy in Flight Operations in the National Airspace,” AIAA-2016-4212, 16th AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference (Washington, DC, 2016), AIAA, Washington, DC.

7. Wing, D.J., Burke, K.A., Henderson, J., Vivona, R.A., and Woodward, J. (2018) “Initial Implementation and Operational Use of TASAR in Alaska Airlines Flight Operations,” AIAA-2018-3043, AVIATION 2018, Atlanta, GA, June 2018.

Tech POC: David Wing

ATD Team