Senior Research & Development Engineer
Sally joined AAG as a Senior Research and Development Engineer in March 2014 after retiring from NASA. As an AAG employee, she served as Principal Investigator for the Safe Autonomy Flexible Innovation Testbed (SAFITTM), which is designed to ensure safe flight evaluation NASA’s autonomy research applications by providing integrated flight envelope protection; traffic and obstacle avoidance, and geospatial containment. She has also participated in analysis and documentation for series of simulation trade studies on the effects of vehicle aero-propulsive limitations on UAS Detect and Avoid systems. Ms. Johnson currently supports NASA as a subject-matter expert in developing a research plan for far-term NextGen Trajectory-Based Operations.
During her 33-year NASA career, she conducted research to improve the efficiency, capacity, and safety of the National Airspace System in various positions as researcher, branch head, and program technical manager. Sally received her BS in Computer Science from North Carolina State University in 1982 and her MS in Computer Science from Old Dominion University in 1989. As a researcher in ultra-reliable systems for 13 years, she conducted research in development and validation of ultra-reliable software and hardware for civil aviation applications, conducted formal verification of algorithms using the Prototype Verification System (PVS) theorem prover; and wrote the Abstract Semi-Markov Specification Interface to the SURE Tool (ASSIST) computer program and managed beta testing with over 20 user sites. She then conducted systems analysis of aviation operational concepts for two years, before joining the crew systems and aviation operations research area as a technical lead and then branch head.
Sally was an active member of the NextGen Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) since its inception, playing a lead role in defining NextGen Operational Concepts, Operational Improvements, and Enabling Technologies. As Technical Lead for the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) project, she led inhouse and Alliance industry partner research and development efforts in Higher Volume Operations, Lower Landing Minima, Single-Pilot Operations, and NAS Integration, culminating in a set of flight experiments and a public demonstration. As Technical Lead for Separation Assurance in the Airspace Concepts and Technology Development, she led a multi-disciplinary research team in design, implementation, and assessment of distributed air/ground separation assurance concepts. She has authored more than 40 technical publications. Sally is married with seven children and enjoys gardening, boating, and walking with her dog Nikki.