Wind prediction errors are known to affect the performance of automated air traffic management tools that rely on aircraft trajectory predictions. In particular, automated separation assistance tools, planned as part of the NextGen concept of operations, must be designed to account and compensate for the impact of wind prediction errors and other system uncertainties. In this paper we describe a high fidelity batch simulation study designed to estimate the separation distance required to compensate for the effects of wind-prediction errors throughout increasing traffic density on an airborne separation assistance system. The goal of the study was to measure the impact of wind-prediction errors in order to estimate the additional separation buffers necessary to preserve separation and to provide a baseline for future analyses. Buffer estimations from this study will be used and verified in upcoming safety evaluation experiments under similar simulation conditions. Results suggest that the strategic airborne separation functions exercised in this experiment can sustain wind prediction errors up to 40 kts at current day air traffic density with no additional separation distance buffer and at eight times the current day with no more than a 60% increase in separation distance buffer.
Keywords: Air Traffic Management, Airborne Separation, Conflict Detection and Resolution
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