As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) increasingly implements Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures during the transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), facilities expect to improve the predictability of arrival operations. Sponsored by the FAA, The MITRE Corporation’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD) explored methods for retaining this predictability for merging traffic. This paper focuses on near-term solutions which leverage RNAV and RNP procedures to improve predictability of merging arrival operations in the terminal area. CAASD, in coordination with air traffic control (ATC) specialists from FAA operational facilities, has developed the concept for a near-term automation capability which calculates the distance of aircraft to a merge point along an RNAV or RNP procedure and conveys this information via an indicator on the terminal controller workstation. The relative position information facilitates early decision making by controllers, which reduces reliance on vectors, thereby maintaining the predictability of the operation. To further develop the concept and define its functional and interface requirements, CAASD developed a research prototype. Using this prototype, CAASD has conducted human-in-the-loop simulations with ATC specialists. These simulations led to a version of the prototype for which the FAA has requested and CAASD has developed a plan for a field evaluation.
Theme: Innovative ATM Concepts
Keywords: CRDA, RPI, Relative Position, Situation Awareness, Spacing, Terminal Area Merging, Traffic Management Coordinator, controller workload