Metis is the Managing Member of Metis Flight Research Associates (MFRA), a Joint Venture between Metis, Flight Research Associates, Inc. and SYMVIONICS Inc. MFRA was awarded the NASAs SimLabs III contract in April 2018 with a maximum potential value of approximately $62.8 million.

MFRA is charged with providing engineering support to SimLabs facilities: the Vertical Motion Simulator, Future Flight Central and the Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility. Additionally, the MFRA operates and perform sustaining engineering for all simulation facilities, while partnering with researchers to customize distributed real-time simulations, generate and validate research data.

The NASA Langley Research Center Airspace and Traffic Operations Simulation

Metis software engineers design, maintain and modify aircraft mathematical models and simulation software components for multiple NASA programs. Our capabilities are reflected in our experience solving challenges on numerous fronts which gives us a wealth of experience to stand on. A significant contribution by the Metis team was the development of a real-time scenario generation capability for the ATOS.

Among the more meaningful and impactful contributions:

  • Metis recently designed and integrated simulated cockpit displays used in the Technologies for Airplane State Awareness experiment run on the Navy's Kraken simulator. This software brings in live aircraft data into the simulation environment, and greatly enhances the capability of both the ATOS and SMART-NAS systems.
  • Metis developed comprehensive visualization techniques using Google Earth KML to enhance researcher analysis, scenario generation, and data validation. Maintaining 4dview software used by ATOS developers to visualize the 4-D paths of dozens of simulated aircraft into large airports while assisting with defect identification and proving when some defects were addressed.

UAS in the NAS

At NASA Ames Research Center, Metis is an active and critical contributor to NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System project (known as UAS-NAS) to maintain and upgrade its LCV-DE simulation environment, to conduct investigative simulations and to perform flight tests. As SimLabs prime contractor, Metis has supported the development and validation of Detect and Avoid (DAA) and Command and Control (C2) technologies for the UAS-NAS project. 

Metis staff utilized their thorough understanding of the airspace and NAS systems, as well as new emerging technologies to develop requirements for and test C-SWaP surveillance systems that can detect and track non-cooperative aircraft (those without transponder or ADS-B).  Simlabs support has resulted in enabling the RTCA committee 228 to publish MOPS for UAS operating in non-terminal areas. SimLabs DSRL lab provides the “HUB” function to integrate live, virtual and constructive elements from various NASA centers and industry partners to perform UAS-NAS research. The “HUB” functionality from the DSRL was recently provided to and utilized by the 6 FAA-designated UAS Test Sites for simulation and flight testing. The Metis team received a NASA Group Achievement award for UAS-NAS contributions in FY2019.


Metis supported the NASA Langley Research Center’s Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR) program with software engineering expertise. TASAR features a cockpit automation system that monitors for potential flight trajectory improvements and displays them to the pilot. These wind-optimized flight trajectory changes are pre-cleared of potential conflicts with other known air traffic, weather hazards and airspace restrictions.

Specifically, Metis made modifications to the Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) display and engine components in preparation for the Alaska Airlines flight trials based on requirements given to us by the TAP research team. We performed final integration and testing of all TAP components prior to delivery and prepared TAP delivery packages. Metis also developed the Ground Data Processor, which ingests convective weather and turbulence data from a 3rd party vendor and converts the data to simplified 4D polygons used by the TAP display and engine.


Metis provided SMART-NAS with Software Engineering support for the development of advanced prognostics, data mining, and data analytics for enhanced decision-making and system assessments. We are currently leading the development of the complex “run-manager” software that will pull together all simulation components. Metis is also leading scenario development and is responsible for flight test set-up.

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