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Methods and Tools for Flight Critical Systems

The goal of the Methods and Tools for Flight Critical Systems project is to improve aviation safety by eliminating defects early in the life-cycle, ensuring safety requirements are met, reducing potential sources of operator confusion, and increasing the sophistication of the systems we can safetly deploy.

Aircraft safety has improved steadily over the last few decades and much of this improvement can be attributed to the introduction of advanced automation in the cockpit. Over the next few decades, the anticipated ten-fold increase in air traffic will dictate even greater reliance on automated systems. However, engineers are already struggling with the complexity and integration of these systems. Without better methods and tools, that complexity itself will become the limiting factor in their deployment, manifesting itself in increasing costs and errors that could have a direct impact on safety.

The Methods and Tools for Flight Critical Systems (MT‑FCS) is a five-year project sponsored by the NASA Langley Research Center, Rockwell Collins Inc., and the University of Minnesota Critical Systems Laboratory to develop and transfer into practice innovative solutions to these problems. MT‑FCS focuses on the early life cycle activities of requirements definition and analysis where the greatest potential exists to improve safety and reduce cost. It combines commercial off the shelf (COTS) tools with research prototypes to enable developers to understand and analyze their systems to a level not previously possible.

To ensure that these approaches actually address the issues of scale and complexity found in real systems, they are being validated by application to portions of the ADGS-2100 Adaptive Displays and Guidance System and the FCS 5000 Flight Control System.

More information on the project can be found on each of the following topics:

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Curator and Responsible NASA Official: Ricky W. Butler
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last modified: 18 October 2002 (09:23:08)