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Meet: Harry Swenson

photo of Harry Swendon

Project Manager
Virtual Airspace Modeling & Simulations (VAMS)
Ames Research Center

Who I am and what I do:
I am the project manager for the Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulations (VAMS) project.
There is often a lot of coordination that has to be done between centers with experts on air
traffic management; modeling simulation; and communication, navigation, and surveillance
from the Ames, Langley and Glenn Research Centers. As project manager I oversee the
project and people involved with VAMS across the centers.

My education and training
I have a B.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Polytechnic State
University on San Luis Obispo and a M.S. degree from Stanford University in Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Career Path
I joined NASA-Ames Research Center in 1982 as a reasearch engineer working on advanced
helicopter guidance, navigation and control automation systems. I have led several
interagency projects with the FAA, Army and Air Force researching issues associated with the
Microwave Landing Sytem, terrain following radar systems, forward looking infrared imaging
systems integrated with heads-up and helmet mounted display systems. My research became one of he cornerstones of NASA's Automated Map-of-the-Earth flight program.

I then led a joint NASA-Army team that conducted the first operation flight evaluation of a covert Terrain Following/Terrain Avoidance near-terrain helicopter guidance system for nighttime and adverse weather operation on the Army's NUH-60 STAR research helicopter. In the early nineties I transitioned my career path into one involving the research of Air Traffic Management (ATM) issues. I led the development of an ATM automation tool known as the Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) that was moved from laboratory prototype into a fully operational traffic flow mangament tool at the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center, serving one of the world's busiest airports.

Based on this success, the TMA becames one of the key elements of the FAA's Free Flight modernization program and is being deployed throughout the United States. In 1998, I became the Chief of the Aviation Operation System Development Branch, which develops, validates and tests all Center/TRACON Automation System related software. My branch also ran several Atm laboratories both at Ames and the North Texas Research Station in the Dallas Fort Worth FAA Airline Facilities.

I have authored 18 technical papers in the area of automation research. I have been awarded numerous honors from NASA, including the Software of the Year Award and the Administrator's Award for Turning Goals into Reality in 1998, and the Exceptional Service Medal in 2002.


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