Metis Flight Research Associates, LLC


Welcome to MFRA

A purpose-built joint venture of three small businesses joined to support NASA Ames Research Center’s Aerospace Systems Modeling and Simulation (SimLabs III) program.

MFRA Member Companies

MFRA Leadership

Joy Colucci - MFRA Managing Member

Dr. Joy Colucci
MFRA Managing Member

Dr. Joy Colucci is the founder and CEO of Metis Technology Solutions, Inc., which she formed in 2010. Headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Metis employs 100 engineers and subject matter experts providing aeronautics and space systems development support to NASA and the US Air Force. Prior to founding Metis, Dr. Colucci held senior management positions at Hughes Applied Information Systems, Raytheon Technical Services, and Booz Allen Hamilton. As a business leader, she has been responsible for organizations of up to 500 technical staff and $60M in annual contract revenue. Joy earned BS, MS and PhD degrees in Earth System Science. She enjoys the outdoors, is an avid reader, and lives in New Mexico with her family.

Derek Collins

Derek Collins
MFRA Member

Derek Collins is President and CEO of Flight Research Associates, Inc. (FRA). Mr. Collins provides guidance and leadership in all aspects of business execution, and is FRA's focal point for aerospace business development, capture management, and strategic planning. Mr. Collins has over 20 years of aerospace operations, leadership, and management experience, on programs and projects at multiple NASA Centers. Prior to FRA, Mr. Collins held both systems engineering and business development roles with SAIC.

Richard Weeks

Richard A. Weeks
MFRA Member

Richard A. Weeks has contributed over 45 years of service to the Nation’s aerospace and defense industry.  These contributions have been both technical and managerial.  He co-founded SYMVIONICS with Lawrence B. Barraza, and SYMVIONICS has grown to be a Nationally-known provided of services and products to the Department of Defense and NASA, including high technology training systems/devices and innovative flight test software products.  Mr. Weeks has served as the Executive Vice President for SYMVIONICS since its incorporation in 1988, where he is responsible for all marketing and business development efforts.  Prior to SYMVIONICS, he was the president of SETACORP (a small consulting company).  Earlier in his career, he was employed by Ball Aerospace for two (2) years and Northrop Grumman for over eleven (11) years.

Mr. Weeks’ technical experience includes developmental support to some of the world’s most technically advanced aircraft, such as the F-22 Air Dominance Fighter, the B-2 Stealth Bomber, and the C-17 Airlifter.  Other aircraft that he has supported includes:  F/A-18, F-20, F-5E/F, YF-17, A-10, A-7, A-6, MH-130E/H, AC-130E/U, MH-53J, MH-60G, and numerous other classified aircraft.  He was also involved in the development of the High Speed Antiradiation Missile (HARM) and the Walleye glide bomb data link.

Mr. Weeks holds a Masters of Science Degree in Engineering (Applied Dynamic System Control) from UCLA (1984), a Masters of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from USC (1976), and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from California State Polytechnic Pomona – Cal Poly (1974).  He was the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year from Cal Poly in 2007.

Neil Otto

Neil Otto

Neil Otto is the Vice President & Director of Operations for Flight Research Associates, Inc, responsible for day-to-day execution of FRA contracts serving NASA and FAA end-customers. In addition, he also serves as Program Manger on the SimLabs III contract at NASA Ames, providing high fidelity motion and airspace simulation for NASA’s internal and external research customers evaluating future Air Traffic Management and air vehicle concepts. Neil has over 27 years of experience in command and control, training, systems development and integration and aerospace research. His efforts at NASA Ames he primarily supports the Airspace Systems Division and NextGen programs. Neil is a retired Air Force Colonel and an active general aviation pilot.



American Systems is a 100% employee-owned engineering services company with 1,300 employees in 24 regional offices nationwide, and more than $280M in revenue in 2017. Based in Chantilly, VA, we provide support globally to government and commercial customers. The AMERICAN SYSTEMS Engineering & Analytical Solutions Directorate (EASD) has been supporting simulation and flight research for more than 30 years. With more than 70 engineers and scientists, the AMERICAN SYSTEMS EASD maintains a core capability of state-of-the-art research simulator development, high-fidelity air vehicle system and sub-system modeling, and simulation research support.

Our personnel have supported NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) since 2011, including supporting NextGen Separation Assurance data link communication performance studies, loss of control experiments in conjunction with the FAA, and enhancing NASA Simlabs modeling and simulation technology. We have supported NextGen Air Traffic Initiatives via NASA Research Announcements (NRAs) and provided simulation engineering support for the Air Space and Traffic Operation Simulation (ATOS) and simulator evaluation support for NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC). We also currently support the Aircraft Operations Division (AOD) at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Ellington Field in the development of Autopilot systems for NASA’s fleet of T-38 and WB-57 aircraft. We perform similar engineering services as SimLabs at the Navy’s Manned Flight Simulator (MFS) facility where we support simulation experiments; develop real-time, high-fidelity air vehicle models; and support facility maintenance. We have been supporting the MFS facility for almost 30 years.

CCI Logo

Crown Consulting Inc. – an aeronautics systems and software engineering firm – brings over twenty years of experience on programs to craft and test ATM concepts. Its contributions to new ATM technologies and their operations in human-in-the-loop simulations and the real world started with developing collaborative decision-making concepts and tools and grew to embrace a leadership role in creating airspace automation and autonomy Concepts of Operations and NASA’s Aeronautics technology roadmaps.

Today, Crown supports a host of NAS modernization efforts, assisting the FAA and on UAS integration issues and NASA in crafting ATM strategic plans and technology concepts.  Its role in defining integrated capability concepts for ARMD helped to set the basis for Airspace Technology Demonstrations (ATDs) - initiatives critical to successful technology transfer.

Crown’s ARC R&D portfolio includes support for building the SMART-NAS test bed, the Sherlock Data Warehouse and exploring advanced ATM and UAS technology concepts and decision-support tools.  As the NAMS Program’s largest subcontractor, it directs development of technology concepts and performs research on the application of big data and machine-learning techniques to ATM planning and decision-making.


MFRA SIMLABS Preferred Vendors


ATAC Corporation is a solutions company providing the aviation community with state-of-the-art simulation, modeling, analysis tools and expert services in air traffic systems. We provide comprehensive analytical and subject matter expert capabilities including research and development, operations design and analysis, safety reporting and analysis, environmental analysis, and training solutions.  We are committed to the aviation industry providing high quality products and services, while maintaining a creative, innovative and responsive small business company environment.

As an industry leader in the development and application of aviation system computer simulations and data processing/analysis tools, ATAC has been a primary developer of analysis tools including the Performance Data Analysis and Reporting System (PDARS), the Integrated Noise Model (INM), the Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT), the Airport and Airspace Simulation Model (SIMMOD™) and SkyView™. ATAC is also a provider of end-to-end human-in-the-loop air traffic control simulation services using a mobile air traffic control simulation and training system leveraging ATAC’s SkyView™ software and Kongsberg Geospatial’s Integrated Simulation (I-SIM).

Cavan Logo

Cavan Solutions is a Woman-Owned aviation consulting company that combines systems engineering and operational expertise to advance ideas, concepts, and technologies from the lab to the field to achieve benefits in the National Airspace System (NAS).  The company was founded to support the transition and integration of new capabilities into NAS operations by bringing together experts in systems engineering, aviation and air traffic management, and operations research.  Cavan principals have led concept exploration, R&D, field trials, and operational transition of FAA NextGen initiatives over the past 20 years, specializing in Time-Based Operations, route and separation optimization, capacity improvements, and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  This support includes many NASA-developed technologies including Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM) and its predecessor Center TRACON Automation System (CTAS), Terminal Sequencing and Spacing (TSAS), Interval Management, UAS Traffic Management (UTM), Dynamic Routes for Arrival in Weather (DRAW), and SmartNAS.  Cavan’s breadth of experience and staff expertise bridge the gap between research and operational results.  Cavan holds prime and subcontracts with FAA, NASA, and the US Air Force.


optima lsynthesis logo

Optimal Synthesis Inc. (OSI) is a systems technology company focusing on innovative research, algorithms development, and software design for a variety of engineering and science applications. Based in downtown Los Altos, California, OSI has been in business since 1992. Researchers in various disciplines such as aerospace/mechanical/electrical engineering, physics, and computer science are currently affiliated with the company. Most of our research staff hold post-graduate degrees from leading institutions in the US, and about half of them hold doctoral degrees. Our customers include the US Government, major US corporations and research laboratories. OSI has core competency in the following technology areas and applications: Aerospace and Defense Applications; Air Transportation Systems; Aerospace Guidance, Control, and Navigation; Robotics and Automation; Communications and Signal Processing; Machine Vision and Image Processing; Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; Soft-Computing; and Low-Cost High-Performance Computing. OSI currently holds a number of Infinite Delivery / Infinite Quantity (ID/IQ) federal government contracts, including a Master Ordering Agreement from the Electronic FAA Accelerated and Simplified Tasks (eFAST), and a Multiple Award Contract from the Navy’s SeaPort-Enhanced (SeaPort-e).

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