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Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) at American Airlines: Key Findings from the Operational Trial
November 1, 2012

Photo of the operational floor of the American Airlines System Operations Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The station where the Dynamic Weather Routes tool is in operation (middle of the facility) is circled.
Dynamic Weather Routes tool in operation at the American Airlines System Operations Center in Fort Worth, TX

The Dynamic Weather Routes tool has been running nearly continuously (23 hours/day, 7 days/week) at the American Airlines (AA) Operations Center in Fort Worth, Texas since the operational trial began on July 17, 2012. AA users – air traffic control coordinators and flight dispatchers – evaluate time and fuel saving routes proposed by DWR, and may also use DWR to evaluate reroutes for any of their flights, e.g., ones where a route is not proposed. Analysis of 60 days of trial data (7/31-9/30/12) comprising about 800 AA flights in Fort Worth Center airspace clearly shows that the DWR search engine, which automatically finds more efficient weather avoidance routes, results in five times as many routes rated acceptable by AA users compared with the manually initiated search. Users are busy, especially during weather events, so it is more effective to let automation find the high value reroutes. The data show that 38% of DWR routes evaluated by AA users were rated as acceptable for a total potential savings of 311 flying minutes, with significant potential for additional savings. Reroutes totaling over 3,000 minutes of potential savings were left unevaluated mainly due to limited staffing during the trial. Assuming that the acceptance rates are consistent for unevaluated routes, 1,000 more minutes of potential savings could be achieved. User feedback has been very favorable and some DWR route clearances have been issued to AA flights; analysis of actual savings is under way. (POC: Dave McNally)

Charlotte Airport Operations Subject Matter Expert Workshop
November 1, 2012

Aerial photo of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport

A two-day workshop was held at Ames Research Center (October 22-23, 2012) to discuss surface traffic operations at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT). NASA researchers learned about CLT operations in great detail from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), including a retired ATC tower controller, a retired Traffic Management Coordinator/Supervisor, a US Airways ramp controller, and a pilot. The information gathered from the workshop will be used for modeling airport operations and designing a ramp controller decision support tool based on NASA's Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) technology. The SMEs provided comprehensive overviews of their different roles, responsibilities, and interactions with others and also conducted a role-play to illustrate the flow of aircraft control from descent to takeoff. NASA researchers demonstrated the SARDA tool, and the group discussed NASA's future development of surface tools. (POC: Yoon Jung)

Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emission Reduction Meeting
November 1, 2012

Senior Scientist for Air Transportation Systems, Dr. Banavar Sridhar, attended the 19th Advisory Board Meeting of the Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emission Reduction (PARTNER) during October 16-18, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. The PARTNER program is funded by NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency and Transport Canada. The purpose of the meeting was to review research conducted by the program with invited presentations on complimentary research external to the program. Dr. Sridhar presented a well-received talk on the “Integration of Linear Dynamic Emission and Climate Models with Air Traffic Simulations.” The paper presents examples of good aviation operational policies even in the presence of several modeling uncertainties. Other NASA representatives attending the meeting included Mr. Akbar Sultan and Mr. Jay Dryer from the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). (POC: Banavar Sridhar)

SFO Stratus Ground Delay Program Project Completes 2012 Field Trial
November 1, 2012

Photo of the Golden Gate Bridge on a foggy day with the San Francisco cityscape in the background.

The operational field evaluation of a model designed to calculate key parameters that are used when planning Ground Delay Programs (GDPs) at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which began on May 15th, was completed on October 15, 2012. The field trials were conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Vint Hill, Virginia. The dates of the field trial were selected to coincide with the period of the year during which the marine stratus layer typically impacts arrivals into San Francisco International Airport. Preliminary findings from the field trials indicate that the model was able to reduce the avoidable delay by an average of 900 minutes, or nearly $90,000, per GDP event. In November, the FAA is expected to decide if the model should be included in their Collaborative Air Traffic Management Technology (CATMT) Work Package 4, which is scheduled for operational deployment in 2016. (POC: Shon Grabbe)

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